The Smurfs (Blu-ray)
Any child of the ‘80s undoubtedly grew up watching The Smurfs during Saturday morning cartoons. The magical blue creatures had various personalities, a theme song that any eight-year-old could memorize and no one gave it a thought that Smurfette was the only girl living in an entire village of boys.
The modern day version of THE SMURFS finds our little blue friends transported to New York City after running from the evil Gargamel (Hank Azaria) who discovered Smurf Village. Papa (Jonathan Winters), Smurfette (Katy Perry), Grumpy (George Lopez), Brainy (Fred Armisen), Clumsy (Anton Yelchin) and Gutsy (Alan Cumming) maneuver the busy streets and taxi cabs only to find themselves at the home of Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) where an unconventional friendship begins to blossom. Patrick agrees to help the Smurfs conjure up a blue moon in order to open up the vortex to get them back home safely to Smurf Village. Meanwhile, Gargamel and his cat Azrael are determined to find the blue creatures and destroy them before they can make it back to Smurf Village. He will stop at nothing and will be taking prisoners.
I loved The Smurfs growing up. I never really care for animated characters to interact with live actors and I didn’t really love that THE SMURFS movie was going in that direction when I first heard they were making the film. Although I stand by my initial distaste, I do feel like the animated Smurfs were beautifully portrayed. They were actually life like. I felt mesmerized by Clumsy’s innocent eyes and Smurfette’s flowing gold locks. The illustrators did a truly amazing job bringing these beloved characters into the real world. However, a huge part of me wished the entire film was animated.
Hank Azaria plays Gargamel with a certain perfection that it’s almost eerie. He was Gargamel. He had a sort of lispy growl with a sarcastic undertone that I loved. It’s as if he wants the world to know he’s the greatest sorcerer in the world, yet he knows to say it under his breath instead of proclaiming it to anyone other than his pesky cat. He definitely served as the comic relief of the piece.
Gutsy was a new Smurf that was introduced in this movie. The die hard Smurf lover in me was a little annoyed that they chose a new character that none of us were familiar with to be showcased in their first feature film, but the little guy grew on me. He was the Smurf with the most spirit and I felt the movie needed a cheerleader!
I think that THE SMURFS would have been more entertaining had they animated the entire feature film. With that said, there’s just enough nostalgia and heart to win even the most cynical viewers who only love the original cartoons. Kids of all ages will enjoy this film and it will be a great choice for family movie night.
Video: 1080p High Definition (1.78.1): All the Smurfs were drawn with incredible detail. They did an amazing job with each and every subtlety that can really be appreciated in high definition.
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1: The song is just as annoying on Blu-ray as it was in 1980. It’s still stuck in my head.
The Smurfs Fantastic Adventure Game: Gargamel has captured Papa Smurf and it’s up to the viewer to rescue him.
Commentary with Director Raja Gosnell, Producer Jordan Kerner, Writers J. David Stem and David N. Weiss and Jay Scherick and David Ronn and VFX Supervisor Richard Hoover: Naturally, I thought this is way too many people to have commentating on a movie.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (7:41): The moment where Papa Smurf begins to sing to the other Smurfs was so sweet. I think they definitely should have kept that moment in the film.
The Smurfs: Comic Book to Big Screen (8:15): This was an interesting featurette that told the story of The Smurfs and how they began in Belgium in the mid 1950s. The director talked about how it was a daunting task to translate Peyo’s drawings into film. Apparently, the process of getting just the right color of blue took longer than anyone anticipated. They also talked a lot about filming from the Smurf’s point of view which is seven inches above the ground.
I also thought it was interesting that the directors listened to voices without knowing the names of the actors/actresses trying out for the parts of the different Smurfs. They were stunned to find out that Katy Perry was who they chose as the perfect voice of Smurfette.
Going Gargamel (9:57): This feature follows Hank Azaria’s transformation into Gargamel. He talks about how they wanted him to play it British and he said he didn’t like that idea. He also talks about how hard it is to work with cats.
Blue-pers (:25): Grouchy and the toaster, Brainy falling off a table
Happy Music Montage (1:49): This was almost like a mini trailer of the movie during the Guitar Hero scene.
Progression Reels (9:14): This shows the character design for the different Smurfs (many rejected), Smurf Village (most complicated scene ever created for Image Works), how to light a CG Smurf in a live action world, set construction around the Smurfs from their point of view (seven inches off the ground) effects and lighting of the portal.