Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Smurfs - Movie Review

I read the comic 'King Smurf' when I was twelve and have been in a long lasting love affair with the Smurfs since then. It was a comic belonging to a friend who left it with me for two or three weeks and I read and reread the comic many times before he took it away. After that, how many times ever I tried to trace the Smurfs, I could never find them. No one had heard of them, no book stores knew of them. It was as if I had a dream about Smurfs. And now three decades later I suddenly found the Smurfs returning in a movie. I made elaborate plans to watch the movie with Anjali but by the time we actually got going the movie had left the theatres. I waited for the DVDs.

Watching the Smurfs (thankfully not in 3D) was as much fun as it was reading King Smurf. The little blue Smurfs who are as tall as three apples and live in their own Smurf land, named after their personality traits - Brainy, Gutsy, Clumsy - like Snow White's dwarfs, only a lot cuter were a delight to watch. Even Anjali got drawn into the drama and was all animated.

The story starts with Papa Smurf seeing a horrifying vision on the Blue Moon Festival day - Clumsy Smurf has led their arch enemy Gargamel the wizard into Smurf land and he has captured them. Determined to ensure that the vision does not come true Papa Smurf tells Clumsy to stay inside the village while picking Smurf roots but Clumsy goes away (but naturally) and is followed by Gargamel and his villainous cat. Gargamel enters and destroys Smurfland and chases them all to the Forbidden Falls from where the Smurfs choose an exit to the real world to being caught by G. Gargamel follows them - to New York. In New York the Smurfs find that Clumsy Smurf has fallen into a carton and chase him all the way to a young couple's house and befriend them. The Smurfs now take the help of the young couple and try to escape Gargamel and also return to their land. With Gargamel hounding them everywhere, the Smurfs somehow find it in them to find their escape route and make off but not before winning a few friends and learning some lessons thanks to Clumsy who is the unlikely hero in the end.

There are plenty of holes in the story but its interesting enough thanks to the characters. One gets the feeling that it could have been tighter and more Smurfish rather than a regular film. Reminded me of Madagascar a bit with all that New York business. The ease with which Gargamel is done away with, of for that matter how Winslow's boss lets go of a man who has made her mother forty years younger and so many bits don't add up. I loved watching the Smurfs but I did feel a bit let down. Was this the best you could do with such super characters? But still a huge thanks for getting me back in touch with my favorite characters again. Why not make 'King Smurf' into a movie next?

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