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The Smurfs (3-disc Holiday Gift Set) [Blu-ray + DVD] (Bilingual)
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When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world and into ours -- in fact, smack dab in the middle of Central Park. Just three apples high and stuck in the Big Apple, the Smurfs must find a way to get back to their village before Gargamel tracks them down.
Once in a blue moon, one gets a glimpse of what's truly important in life--and it's not always what one might expect. In the hidden land of the Smurfs, the perpetually happy blue creatures are preparing for the Blue Moon festival. They have no clue that the evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) is about to follow one of them into their secret world in an attempt to capture their happy essence--a substance guaranteed to render his magic all-powerful. In a striking parallel to Enchanted, a vortex suddenly opens up and sucks Papa, Grouchy, Smurfette, Brainy, Gutsy, and Clumsy Smurf into the middle of New York City, with Gargamel following close behind. Shocked expectant parents Patrick and Grace Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays) end up with an apartment full of the little blue beings. They eventually befriend the Smurfs and agree to help them outsmart Gargamel and find their way back home. What ensues is a danger-filled, comical adventure that takes the Smurfs from Central Park to Patrick's place of employment and even FAO Schwarz. Just when it looks like their plan to return home will fail, and that they've destroyed Patrick's career in the process, things really heat up and everyone learns a lesson about what's really important in life and about believing in oneself. The film does a good job melding live action and animation, and there's plenty of humor involved for both kids and adults. Most kids will laugh their way through the film, but there are some situations of peril that the very youngest or easily frightened might find rather intense. Harris and Mays do a good job interacting with their new blue friends, but it's too bad these talented actors weren't given a bit more depth of character to work with. Azaria is quite an effective villain and Frank Welker's cat Azrael is hysterical. Other notable voice talent includes Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf, Alan Cumming as Gutsy, Katy Perry as Smurfette, Fred Armisen as Brainy, George Lopez as Grouchy, and Anton Yelchin as Clumsy. The Smurfs is funny enough family entertainment, but given its star-studded cast, it had the potential to be even better. (Ages 7 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
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Yes, the one-liners are often very witty. Yes, the actors deliver them well. In fact, as has been widely commented upon, Hank Azaria's performance as Gargamel is far and away the best thing about this film.
But seriously, that's it.
It has often been claimed that at the core, there are really only a very small number of stories. Stories that we tell and retell over and over again across the generations, with only relatively minor cosmetic changes upon each retelling. Endless variations on a few core themes.
If that's true, then the real job of the storyteller is to disguise this fact. The simple truth is, these storytellers did a lousy job of disguising it. The setbacks, the heartwarming moments, the climactic final battle: all come across as unbearably obvious and clichéd. Everything and everyone we encounter is utterly and completely one-dimensional. I really mean that, by the way. I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating for effect, but unfortunately I'm not.
This is a film with quite literally NO surprises.
Neil Patrick Harris takes the challenge of humanizing the Smurfs wonderfully. From asking a million questions about the crazy illogic of the Smurfs existence to jamming with them on Guitar Hero, he makes the whole movie sing. Especially the tune about the Freeze Ray. Okay that last part I'm smurphing about.
Amazing voices zip through this tale. I did not recognize Katy Perry as the lovely Smurfette and she is an absolute firework. Sorry, could not smurf myself! And for the older generation, the unconquerable Jonathan Winters is the remarkable Papa Smurf. Hearing his smurfiness all along, I never guessed that Papa was related to Mork. Bonus points if you get that smurfiness.
The fun and merriment of the movie is all from the idea of several Smurfs and the evil Gargamel (and his annoying cat) being accidentally transported from way back in ye olden times to present day New York. And mayhem ensues. Much of the Smurfs history is intact, with only the later stuff (Baby Smurf, Hill Billy Smurfs, and Grand Pa Smurf) not joining in the smurfiness. But that is what sequels are for!
No serious in-depth discussion of the awesomeness of The Smurfs would be complete without mentioning one very important vital ingredient. The song to end all songs.
La La LaLaLaLa Sing A Happy Song!
La La LaLaLaLa Sing All Day Long!
Sigh, I'm still smiling!
If you like animated movies you'll enjoy this one. I recommend this one and give it a five star.