Babyboomers headed out with their families to the Orlando Premier of “The Smurfs 3D” movie this week. Many had high expectations, being former fans of the widely popular cartoon series which ran in the 1980’s. Are “The Smurfs 3D” able to deliver? The answer is a resounding YES! This film brought the all the lovable characters, and their original charm to the big screen. Actor Hank Azaria may not consider this a compliment, but he was born to play the evil bumbling wizard Gargamel. He is Gargamel come to life! Just as in the cartoons he and his sidekick feline Azrael are determined to find the enchanted village of the Smurfs.
In case you aren’t that familiar with the Smurfs they are little blue creatures (created in 1958 by PEYO), all of them are male except for Smurfette (Katy Perry). Each one is named after a specific trait such as Brainy Smurf (Fred Armisen), Clumsy Smurf (Anton Yelchin), Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters), Grouchy Smurf (George Lopez) and so on.
All is well in the land of the Smurfs until Papa Smurf ( legendary comic Jonathon Winters) has a frightful vision where Clumsy has tripped up, and allowed Gargamel to trap them at last. Papa Smurf is determined to protect the Smurfs from destruction, and tells Clumsy Smurf (Anton Yelchin) stick close to home. He is hoping this will be enough to keep the prophecy from coming true. Meanwhile in the human world of New York City, ad exec Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and his wife Grace (Jayma Mays) are expecting their first child. Patrick’s job, and specifically his beautiful demanding boss Odile (Sofia Vergara) are further complicating his stressful life. And to make matters worse he must come up with a new ad campaign, or else risk being fired.
Through a series of events the Smurfs land in the exciting Big Apple, and later the young couples apartment. It is a cute, somewhat predictable, yet entertaining film. One down side was the overuse of product placement. I swear I felt barraged by them! For a moment I wondered, “Am I watching a movie or a commercial?” Thankfully the moment passed quickly. Neil Patrick Harris is quickly becoming a master of physical comedy. He is hilarious in this film, and for a moment I thought I caught a glimpse of a younger Dick Van Dyke in the actor.
SPOILER ALERT! Smurfette has a memorable Marilyn Monroe moment, complete with a tiny white “Seven year itch” dress. Grouchy Smurf finally lets his”nice side” show as he falls in love with a shy green M&M candy doll. Six cats including a CG-animated cat were used to create the deliciously wicked Azrael, who steals many of the films scenes. There are cameos by Project Runway‘s “make it work” Tim Gunn, and other NYC celeb’s such as Joan Rivers, Liz Smith, Tom Colicchio, Olivia Palermo and Michael Musto.
There were lots of laughs, and the scary moments were pretty mild in todays standards. In one scene the film pays homage to Smurfs creator Peyo which I considered to be a very nice touch. I highly recommend this film for families, and all those who are young at heart.
“The Smurfs 3D” opens in theaters nationwide July 29, 2011
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