Monday, 19 September 2011

Film Review: "The Smurfs" (2011).

The film's tagline reads "Our World is About to Get Smurf'd" and that's exactly what happens in The SmurfsThis 3D live-action/computer-animated comedy film directed by Raja Gosnell; adapted by J. David Stem, David N. Weiss, Jay Schtick and David Ronn; loosely based on The Smurfs comic book series created by the Belgian comics artist Peyo and the 1980s animated TV series it spawned. It is the first CGI/live-action hybrid film produced by Sony Pictures Animationand in The Smurfs trilogy. The film tells the story of the Smurfs as they get lost in New York, and try to find a way to get back home before Gargamel catches them.

In 1997, producer Jordan Kerner sent the first "of a series of letters" to The Smurfs '​ licensing agent Lafig Belgium expressing interest in making a feature film. It was not until 2002 after a draft of Kerner's film adaptation of Charlotte's Web was read by Peyo's heirs, that they accepted Kerner's offer. Peyo's daughter Véronique Culliford and family had wanted to make a Smurfs film for years and said that Kerner was the first person to pitch a film that shared their "vision and enthusiasm". Kerner soon began developing the 3-D CGI feature film with Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. In 2006, Kerner said the film was planned to be a trilogy and would explain more of Gargamel's backstory. In June 2008, it was announced that Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation obtained the film rights from Lafig Belgium. Kerner said the current project started with Sony during a conversation with the chairman-CEO Michael Lynton, who grew up watching The Smurfs in the Netherlands. On a budget of $110 million, principal photography began in New York City in March 2010. In order to help the Smurfs' animators during post-production, cinematographer Phil Meheux and his team would light up a scene where the Smurfs would be digitally added using 7 and one half-inch tall models to stand in during set-up and rehearsals. ees who spent around 358,000 hours animating. Character designer Allen Battino, a long time Kerner collaborator, was brought in to redesign the characters for CGI.

The film stars Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays and Sofía Vergara, with Jonathan Winters and Katy Perry as the voices of Papa Smurf and Smubrfette. The cast gave less than stellar performances and have disappointed my Smurf spirit with their ridiculous antics and flat comical jokes.

Though Azaria is uncannily spot-on as Gargamel, The Smurfs is a tired live-action update, filled with lame jokes. It exists in a closed universe, and the rest of us are aliens. So if you're going to watch this movie, make sure to bring your Smurf pooper-scoopers with you. The film is entertainment more disposable than the animated series' half-hour cartoons ever were. Adults who remember the cartoon version may get caught up in what the Smurfs would call the 'Smurfstalgia'. As for adults who do not fondly recall the Smurfs cartoons are strongly advised to steer clear.

Simon says The Smurfs receives: 

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