Editor’s note: We all love movies, but rather than ask a syndicated columnist who has never visited our beautiful High Desert, we commissioned our own local movie critic: Nolan P. Smith to review films and give us a local perspective. Enjoy!
High Desert Daily
(Victorville) As many children growing up were attached to the Saturday morning cartoons, I am no exception. From Transformers to G.I Joe, from Thundercats to He-Man, I loved them all. The one of the most innocent ones told the tale of these small blue creatures that lived in mushrooms and wore funny hats: they were the Smurfs. Now, well over 50 years since the Smurfs debuted in a Belgian comic strip by cartoonist Peyo, it seems the blue curious villagers have made their way back to the spotlight, but can they still catch the eyes they once caught?
The Smurfs is another film in the live action/CGI hybrid category, combining special effects with real life actors. Directed by Raja Gosnell, no stranger to talking creatures having directed the first two Scooby Doo films as well as Beverly Hills Chihuahua, the film was still a risk, as the word Smurf hasn’t been in the pop culture dictionary for over 20 years since the animated show was a massive hit. Was Hollywood able to capture the magic? Thankfully, I can say yes.
With live action acting support from all around funny man Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Jayma Mays (Glee) and Hank Azaria, who has voiced most of the supporting characters in the TV series The Simpsons, the film has some experience to it. The voice talent behind the actual Smurfs reflects a quality to it as well, with Jonathan Winters, Alan Cumming, George Lopez and Katy Perry lending their voices to bring the mythical creatures to life. Now, how about the story?
Keep in mind that this is a kid’s film, first and foremost. For that, I can say the movie succeeded in capturing the imagination of the youngest fans. The laughter I heard in the theater from all the tiny voices around cements that statement. For me, I saw it as an enjoyable kids and family movie, just like how the old cartoon would come across. The story is simple enough: in an effort to escape an evil wizard (Azaria), the Smurfs end up in the heart of New York, where they end up with a young couple expecting a child soon (Harris and Mays). Hijinks ensue, with an “out of time” feel for the Smurfs in such a modern city. The essences of the characters from the old cartoon series are captured here nicely, as is the evil Gargamal and his trusty feline helper, Azrael.
All in all, I say this is one for the whole family to see. If you want to enjoy yourself at the theaters, then don’t take this film too seriously, as it is produced to evoke the happiness we all had as children growing up.