22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2011
First, let me say that I enjoyed the movie. I have been a fan since the Hanna-Barbera cartoon from the eighties. This is a cute and enjoyable movie, even with the occasional low brow humor and over-indulgent slapstick that channels old Hollywood physical comedy. No the story isn't overly complex, but it does dabble in backstory that pays attention to the canon from Saturday morning cartoons a la Hanna-Barbera without going into too much depth. It's enjoyable for all ages, whether kids or kids-at-heart who want to be nostalgic or just entertained. The cast was a good fit, even if Hank Azaria was subject to brutally obvious Wile E. Coyote moments in the story.
Now the downside: Even though I won't rant with a verbal tantrum that some of the others have already posted, I will say that I share their disappointment about my purchase of a more-expensive 3D Blu-ray version of this film, to find out that doesn't include all the extra features like "The Smurfs - A Christmas Carol". This one item in particular is a substantial omission from the 3D combo pack, and apparently it's not available through iTunes as of this date. It's also disappointing that the digital copy included is not an iTunes compatible format.
I do not like the new Ultraviolet streaming format for various reasons that others here have already (rather irately) mentioned, as well as one particular reason of my own. When we, the consumers, purchase something that includes a digital copy, we do expect to be able to use it with our portable devices without the over-complications of creating multiple new accounts to access it, and to receive low quality streaming that the new Ultraviolet Digital Version seems to impose. My main issue with the service is that when I download Ultraviolet Digital Copy instead of streaming it, I haven't been able to find a selection in the software that allows me to choose where to store the file. This is a major inconvenience when you are using a computer that only has a 256GB hard drive like the Macbook Air, and when you use a network storage device such as Time Capsule or WD Sharespace on your home network to store audio/video digital media. It also means that (so far) it will not play on an Apple TV. I understand the right of the manufacturer to produce their own digital copy format, but that doesn't mean it is the format that consumers want, or want to pay for in lieu of important special features that are included with less expensive editions. I definitely don't want to purchase two copies of the Blu-Ray combo packs to get everything that is typically included in all of them, including the 3D version. My suggestion is that the industry pick a standard for digital copies just like they did when they all caved and went with Blu-Ray, and also select a standard on content inclusion/exclusion so that consumers aren't disgruntled or disappointed.
30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2011
This movie resembles two recent 3D videos: it uses the same combination of real-life footage with cartoons as "Yogi bear" and its cartoon heroes resemble gnomes from "Gnomeo and Juliet". Like with "Yogi Bear", there is an entertaining plot which keeps you occupied, and there is good humor which makes you laugh. Smurfs is a little better than Yogi Bear, though, because plot is more sophisticated and acting is more complex and involved. There is nothing in this movie to scare little kids but they may get bored as one probably has to be 10+ years old to understand all the humor and adult's problems with balancing professional life with family and Smurfs, but adults will certainly have fun. I honestly think it is one of the better movies that came out in 3D to-date.
Talking about 3D - 3D effects are OK but not outstanding. There are several scenes made with extensive use of computer graphics done with 3D in mind which stand out, but the rest of the footage is regular 3D footage of live action with fine, but not stunning depth.
I noticed that this movie got several bad reviews on Amazon, with one and two stars ratings. As I looked through those reviews, I noticed that they were all written by people who remember Smurfs from TV shows from decades ago and who are frustrated that Smurfs in this movie are so different from what they remember. I can't blame them - this is human nature and the way how we attach to memories from the past. I never saw the original story, and if I saw it today, I probably would find it boring and outdated as the majority of old films and shows. Without the set of mind pre-determined by expectations about smurfs, I enjoyed the movie and found that it was fun to watch!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Back in the late '50s, Belgian cartoonist Peyo created the comic strips featuring small blue fictional characters known as the Smurfs. A big success in France, the Smurfs would receive various adaptations.
The first were in Belgium via TV animated shorts that were created in 1961-1967, a few of the shorts would be featured in the 1965 in the black-and-white animation "Les Adventures des Schtroumpfs" and then followed by a 1976 animation titled "La Flûte à six schtroumpfs" (The Smurfs and the Magic Flute) which would receive an English version that would inspire more full-length Smurf animated films.
But in America, where the Smurfs gained its popularity is through the 1981 animated TV series which was nominated many times for a Daytime Emmy Award and won the "Outstanding Children's Entertainment Series" for 1982-1983. The animated series would broadcast on television through 1989.
In 1997, producer Jordan Kerner has been trying to get a "Smurfs" film created but it wasn't until 2002 when Peyo's heirs accepted Kerner's offer and people were able to get their first look at the film via leaked footage on the Internet in 2008.
And in 2011, the first live-action/CG Smurf film of a planned trilogy was released in theaters in 2011. The film which was budgeted for $110 million received lackadaisical reviews from film critics but the film was popular among the younger viewers and earned over $559 million in the box office ensuring the film as a success for Columbia Pictures. It also helps that the film features all-star talent for the live-action scenes and the voice acting scenes including Neil Patrick Harris ("How I Met Your Mother"), Jayma Mays ("Glee), Hank Azaria ("The Simpsons"), Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family") and Tim Gunn ("Project Runaway"). For the voices of the Smurfs, a few of the talent featured are George Lopez, Katy Perry, Alan Cummings, Kenan Thompson, Fred Armisen, Paul Reubens to name a few. And the film is directed by Raja Gosnell ("Big Momma's Hosue", "Scooby-Doo", "Never Been Kissed") and a screenplay by J. David Stern ("Shrek 2', "The Rugrats Movie"), David N. Weiss ("Shrek 2', "All Dogs Go to Heaven") and writing duo Jay Scherick and David Ronn (both wrote "Zookeeper", "Guess Who", "Norbit").
And now, "The Smurfs" will be released on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD on December 2nd.
VIDEO AND AUDIO:
"The Smurfs" is presented in 1:78:1 Anamorphic widescreen and English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital (and English-Audio Description Track). If you want the best presentation of "The Smurfs", you definitely want to go for the Blu-ray release, especially the Blu-ray 3D release if you have a Blu-ray player and television set capable of 3D playback. But for the DVD version, you can still see quite a bit of detail from the threaded caps that the Smurfs wear, the strands of hair on Smurfette's head to the pigmentation on the blue skin of the Smurfs. Possibly not as detailed as the Blu-ray version but still visible on DVD. For the most part, on DVD, the picture quality is very good.
As for audio, the audio features a lot of dialogue, music and also special effects for the action sequences. On Blu-ray, the lossless audio will definitely take advantage of the surround channels but on DVD, the 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is also pretty good as there is good amount of LFE during the bass-driven sequences, the music - may it be the Smurfs singing or even Neil and the Smurfs playing "Guitar Hero Aerosmith". The Dolby Digital soundtrack sounds very good but on Blu-ray, you definitely want to go for that version if you want a more immersive soundtrack and to hear the ambiance much more clearly.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.
"The Smurfs" come with the following special features:
Find the Smurfs Game - Featuring a hide-and-seek remote control game in which you are shown a Smurf and with other Smurfs in the village, you need to find out where a certain smurf is hiding.
Audio Commentary 1 - The first audio commentary features director Raja Gosnell who talks about the challenges of bringing the Smurfs to CG, the shooting process, scouting and shooting on location.
Audio Commentary 2 - The second audio commentary features producer Jordan Kerner, writer J. David Stern, David N. Weiss , Jay Scherek, David Ronn and VFX Supervisor Richard Hoover.
The Smurfs: Comic Book to the Big Screen - (8:16) Featuring the challenges in taking the Smurfs for a CG film, creating different personalities for each Smurf and more.
Going Gargamel - (10:01) Hank Azaria talks about playing Gargamel and we see how much time it took to make the actor into Gargamel and behind-the-scenes footage and also the challenges of playing the role.
Blu-Pers - (:26) Two very short bloopers.
Happy Music Montage - (1:51) Short music montage of clips from the movie.
I was a bit skeptical when I first saw the trailer for "The Smurfs" in the theater. It's been a long time since I have watched the cartoon on television but I was a big fan of the animated series and owned several of the toys when I was younger.
And while the animated series is dear to me because I watched it from grade school and even when I was in high school, here we are decades later and now I have a child in grade school, who has become interested in "The Smurfs" not so much because of the animated series (which he has never seen) but primarily because he enjoys the iPad video game.
So, it's quite interesting how the younger generation have found about the Smurfs, may it be the video game or through the Happy Meal toys but needless to say, despite the big names attached to this live-action/CG film, my main interest is how much they writers strayed from the original storyline or in this case, from the cartoon.
And when it was all done, I can say that as a family film and a film for the children, it was a fun film! My eight-year-old enjoyed it a lot and for me and the wife, I'm a bit more easy on family films especially "The Smurfs" because they are targeted for a younger demographic. With that being said, my wife was turned off by the "Guitar Hero" scene and I admit, that was possibly the cheesiest part of the entire film.
But for me, there was a lot to love about the film. First, I think it worked in the favor of producer Jordan Kerner that this film was made in 2011 versus 1997 or in the early 2000's because CG has developed a lot in the last decade and for the most part, I found the computer graphics to be very well-done. Loved the detail on the skin of the Smurfs, loved the detail on the knit caps to the thorough planning on the color of the Smurfs to creating living beings via CG on the film (the special feature goes into details about how much the crew wanted the characters to come alive).
It helps to have popular TV talent such as Neil Patrick Harris, Sofia Vergara and Jayma Mays also involved with the film, especially the talent of Hank Azaria who is spectacular as voice talent for "The Simpsons" (and also the '90s "Spider-Man" animated series) but even before then, he was fun to watch on "Mad About You" and "Friends". He did a fantastic job as Gargamel. And of course, you have a lot of voice talent involved in this film from singer Katy Perry to a long list of talent which include Jonathan Winters, Alan Cummings, Fred Armisen, George Lopez, Kenan Thompson, Jeff Foxworthy, Wolfgang Puck to name a few. And heck, you have voice acting legend Frank Welker (who also did the voice dub in the earlier Smurf's animated films and TV series as "Hefty Smurf") doing the voice of Azrael.
So, I appreciate the dedication of the crew honoring the original animated series and comic books but also giving new life to the characters for this live action/CG film.
With that being said, I know a major criticism by reviewers was that this film was "too kiddy" especially since it's a rated PG film, not rated G. But for me, "The Smurfs" was originally conceived for children back in the late '50s, was targeted towards kids in the '80s and I never expected anything dark or low-beat for this film. I was not expecting the writers to stray far off from the original storyline and expected a family film that would feature a lot of laughs and also cheesy moments (I sort of liken it to the live-action/CG animated "Alvin and the Chipmunks" films).
Sure, Neil Patrick Harris and the Smurfs rockin' it to Aerosmith via "Guitar Hero" was possibly the lowest point of this film for me, but aside from those scenes...everything else was pretty fun and hilarious and for the most part, my son and I had fun watching it (although my wife wasn't into the film all that much).
As for the DVD release, the DVD release features a good amount of special features and commentary and the DVD does look good. But if you want the best presentation in sound and audio, you want to go for the Blu-ray release, especially since it contains more special features than the DVD release.
Overall, for those who grew up watching "The Smurfs", the good news is that the writers did fans a service by not straying to far from the original concept. Sure, there are some cheesy scenes but as a family film, I'm not going to be overly critical as this film was created for the kids. And as a fan of the original animated TV series, I had a fun time watching it as well.
With the holidays coming up, if you are looking for a fun family film to keep the kids busy during Winter vacation or even during those long traveling commutes, I recommend give "The Smurfs" a try!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2012
First of all let me say that as a 29 years old woman with no children I am not exactly the target audience for this movie so my opinions of it should be read by that in mind. Now when trailers for The Smurfs first begun to air the movie got allot of criticism for placing smurfs in modern New York City instead of the fantasy world where they belong. I to was a bit skeptical but I must say that I think the movie makers have done a good job and actually made the New York part fit. I used to watch The Smurfs cartoons when I was a little girl and I think that putting a non animated movie in that setting would be disturbing, this way they manage to not disturb the setting allot of people have fond childhood memories of and at the same time use some of these characters in a feature film.
The plot of the Smurfs is simple but it works. I found myself engaged in it and while it is simple enough for children to easily grasp it fits nicely together and have enough humor and structure to entertain adults as well. Basically the movie starts out animated and follow the smurfs preparing for a big party, unfortunately one thing leads to another and a handful of smurfs as well as the evil but pretty failed wizard Gargamel get sucked into a magical portal and end up in New York City. Now the smurfs have to find a way to get home, luckily they meet a young couple, a overworking advertisement man and his wife who helps them on. Gargamel however is still obsessed with smurfs and do his best to track them down with the help of not always working magic and his cat and hilarity ensues.
Now one complaint I have about The Smurfs is that the movie play it very safe, there is very few surprises in the plot, already from the first time we see the New York couple who befriends the smurfs and see that Patrick miss his wife's first ultrasound because of work we know he will learn that family is all that really matters, the first time we see the other smurfs be mean to Clumsy we know he will end up the hero of the story, and I am not spoiling anything here it is just that obious. Five minutes into the movie you know how it will end. That being said getting to that end is quite entertaining.
Both me and my hubby enjoyed The Smurfs, I think it is to predictable, but all in all this is a sweet, safe movie. I would call The Smurfs a true family flick as it is safe for the youngest kids, and older children and adults can also find something to enjoy about it. Technically this movie is solid, the actors do a good job, the animation on the smurfs themselves are good and music and sounds are quite ok. Now for me, even had I been six I think this would have been one of those movies you watch, enjoy and then forget about as it is just so predictable, but all in all I think that the movie makers have done a great job in bringing smurfs to the big screen. If you have children or you enjoy cute fairytale stories with allot of heart and a happy ending then I definitely recommend The Smurfs.