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“The Smurfs” talkback

Guess what opens today? They are small and blue and The Los Angeles Times says their film is “…grating and cloying. This misguided attempt at a 3-D family comedy is a project even Neil Patrick Harris can’t save.

The New York Times says “the movie frequently reminds us that the gimmick of little creatures scurrying about in the human world (Toy Story, Gnomeo and Juliet) is pretty worn out. But on a hot summer day, The Smurfs is a decent enough excuse to haul the little ones into an air-conditioned theater.”

Comments below are open only to our readers who have seen the film and wish to offer their reactions and reviews.

  • [Comment removed by editors. This talkback thread is for people who have seen the film and wish to express their opinion about it.]

  • Michael

    I saw it and it is not that bad. The movie is just a simple family film. As for the animation, the characters blend in really well with the live-action parts. Peyo get alot of name dropping in the film along with the comic strips.

  • Matt.

    Completely competent film. The script was a piece of mediocre product churned out by a machine but the design and animation are beautiful.

  • Blake

    It was ALRIGHT.

  • I wouldn’t recommemd it to anyone but the infants… my sister (9) enjoyed it. Hank Azaria was OK, I kind of wish he could appear in other movies (please, just not this kind). When I was younger I loved to imagine that little people (toys, elves, smurfs) were hiding from me and also loved to play with small toys jumping from high desks to mountains-beds. I guess that’s what the REAL little people liked most from the movie.

    THe worst was the eyes from every single smurf. Terrifying. Like Grumpy would say “UNSMOKABLE”

    The good is that I definetely want to know where to buy that blue Peyo smurf book.

  • Dan

    I counted and the word Smurf is used 189 times in 83 minutes (I missed 3 minutes taking a 6 year old to the bathroom). That’s about 2.28 times per minute.

    The 6 year old seemed to like it well enough though. But what the hell does he know.

    • amid

      Somebody had to count. We’re glad it was a Cartoon Brew reader. =)

  • Clint H

    I though it sucked. It was basically all the other Live-Action/CGI crossovers we’ve seen the past few years, except with Smurfs. The only good things about it was the animation and the performances of Hank Azaria, Katy Perry, and the girl from GLEE. Otherwise, it was pretty bad.

  • It was an ok movie but the saddest part is that was the best they could come up with for such a beloved property. It seemed like the Smurfs movie should have been much more than that. The animation and design were all pretty good, but all the live-action stuff was a waste of time. The begining in the Smurf Village was neat and should have been where the whole movie took place.

  • Scarabim

    I agree with Ed. The village scenes were by far the best in the movie, and were really charming. It’s a shame the film-makers didn’t trust the source material enough to let the Smurfs be Smurfs and have their adventures in their own fantasy land, instead of shoving them into the human “real” world. And can I just say this – Neil Patrick Harris was AWFUL. He was in no way convincing, his interaction with the Smurfs looked phony and forced, and he has zip screen presence. How the heck does he keep getting work? He’s the male Whoopie Goldberg.

    • I agree, that guitar scene was terrible.

    • Arabela

      the village scenes were the best, why couldn’t they keep the whole movie there? would have been a lot better :/

    • Jabberwocky

      Neil Patrick Harris is very good in most other things I’ve seen him in. I read one review that said you could literally see NPH’s soul shriveling up as you watched the film; perhaps that explains the phoned-in performance you saw?

    • Mad Dog

      Hey talk about Neil Patrick Harris’s performance as much as you like but LEAVE WHOPPI ALONE! *cries*.

      Harris did ok in the movie, his part wasn’t exciting or anything.

  • After seeing this terrible movie, my only question is “who decided to ‘realistify’ the Smurfs?” Little blue cartoon guys do not need realistic skin texture and humanoid eyes.

    Hank Azaria did the best he could do with the incredibly ridiculous costume and makeup he was wearing, but it seems like it would have made more sense and been less crass to just do a straightforward CGI Smurfs movie, using the old cartoon designs with little alteration.

    The story was standard Hollywood crap for these kinds of movies (Chipmunks – which I liked – Hop, Enchanted, etc). Neil Patrick Harris played himself, basically – actually, if the movie had included Neil Patrick Harris himself encountering the Smurfs, it might have been more enjoyable.

    PS Katy Perry is a waste if you’re just having to listen to her. She was tailor-made for the MUTE button.

    • Jason

      Hey man, I actually liked Enchanted.

      • I did too, actually. I have it on DVD and my wife and I watch it once every couple months.

        But to apply the same formula to the Smurfs…. bad idea. Lazy writing.

      • Pez

        I would not go passing that info around if I were you. 0_0

    • Ryoku75

      What confuses me is aren’t the Smurfs known better in their native land of Europe? Why’d they make a film for the US?

  • Just came back. I had a blast!! As a fan of the tv show, it was so good to see them relived and revived. We laffed the enTIRE film. I adored that the cat was CGI. Very funny, true to form, and the meche is astounding. I had a blast! (Oh, did i mention that!?) My only (tiny) fault-find was them having left the FUNNIEST one (Vanity) HOME!woulda been endless!! A great little film….a great screenplay, too!!

  • Dan Brady

    I saw the movie last weekend and enjoyed it. I thought the best part of the movie was Hank Azaria as Gargamel and the CGI Azrael; Azaria really did a great job. My biggest disappointment was the voicework of the actors playing the Smurfs. It was nice to hear Jonathan Winters, and Katy Perry was pretty good, but why not use the original cartoon voices for the rest of them? I thought George Lopez was ridiculous as Grouchy–did the moviemakers really think he would bring in Hispanics or something? The other ‘celebrity’ Smurf voices (Wolfgang Puck, Keenan Thompson, Jeff Foxworthy, etc. were equally worthless in what was probably one or two-line roles. And they couldn’t bring in June Foray at least as Jokey?????

    At least if you’re a Smurf fan like my wife and me, it was nice to see them on the big screen.

  • Rick R.

    I haven’t seen the film (and I am not commenting on it), but to answer Dan Brady about June Foray, I finally got to meet her in March of this year at the Burbank Autograph Show.

    Sadly, she’s having good days and bad days, I would guess, but she seemed very frail that day. She is 93 years old now, and while I see she did some cameos for the new Looney Tunes Show, I don’t think she is accepting that much voice work now.

  • Tony Montealegre

    I noticed the cynical exploitation of the nostalgie for the “Smurfs” TV show (which I remember enjoying even as a young teen at the time) in all those New York sequences but also saw some nice tributes in having the NPH character acknowledging both the creator Peyo and Belgium as the country of origin. So, overall, I tolerated what I didn’t like (most of the NY stuff) and enjoyed what I did (the final battle with Gargamel). On IMDb, I gave this a 6.

  • Hal

    My cousin’s 5 year old daughter summed the film up thus when I asked her how she liked it: “Boring… It was just a bunch of stupid little blue people.”

  • Matt Shepherd

    I saw the film as well. I honestly didn’t mind it. It is what it is, a film for children. I think they did a great job in making a film for there intended audience.

    It tied Cowboys and Aliens opening weekend so clearly 35 million dollars worth of movie goers felt it was worth seeing despite the critics reviews. Good work all!

    I liked the lighting personally. It was nice.

    Hal, what a charming review, you should consider writing columns for a paper of some kind.

  • Pez

    Smurfs with fingernails Come on people. Magic flute was kind of a cool movie. Even that is a little hard to watch. I read there was a belgium made smurf cartoon in the late fifties or something . I think it’s in black n white? I would love to see that. Anyone got a link?

  • Alfons Moliné

    Here is a link to one of the early b/w Smurf animated shorts (actually they were made during the mid-60’s). It’s in French with Dutch subtitles (though quality of picture is not very good):

  • It has some good moments but also terrible ones. As a children movie it’s not without its charm and the emotional moments, even if a little sappy, were kind of cute.

    Like others have said, it worked much better in the first scenes in the village than it did when they were in New York.

    Guitar Hero scene was awful. Even though it’s not her fault (she offers a decent performance), Sofia Vergara is completely unnecessary. I see Hank Azaria put a lot of effort, but his over the top performance gets a little annoying sometimes.

    And yeah, Neil Patrick Harris was pretty bad. And I love the guy and find him brilliant in HIMYM and Dr. Horrible’s, but here he seemed uncomfortable.

    The Smurfs themselves were cute and funny…except for the eyes. In wide shots they didn’t look half bad, but they looked really scary in the close shots.

    Not the worst CGI+Life Action movie but still pretty bad, and could have been fixed easily. Tolerable for the little ones I guess, but with some more effort and less bad choices they could have done a much better experience for the whole family.

  • Mad Dog

    The movie was okay.

    I thought the beginning village sequence was awesome but when they enter the real world (a la Enchanted) I felt the movie just lost its magic.

    How does a movie with talking creatures interacting with ADULTS interest kids?

    My mom loved the movie and my sister liked smurfette. The movie had a few good parts but it just didn’t feel like a smurfs movie. :/

  • I managed to score a free ticket, so I used to see this movie WITHOUT ANYONE INVOLVED WITH IT GETTING MY MONEY!!! Ha! I beat the system.

    I went in expecting a horrendous train wreck. While it wasn’t quite that, it was not all that close to good either.

    -Frank Welker as Azriel. An inspired choice.
    -Hank Azaria did a much better job of portraying Gargamel than I expected, although his performance did get too hammy here and there. If he had played more scenes straighter it would have gone over better.
    -The acknowledgement of Peyo. We all would have been up in arms if that didn’t happen.
    -You could tell that Katy Perry was having fun as Smurfette (although I’ll bet she didn’t even know who Louise Bliss was).

    -Hey, CGI animators, DO SOMETHING ABOUT THOSE CREEPY DEAD EYES!!! They really brought this movie down for me. Pixar has managed to get around this. Everyone should learn their secret somehow.
    -The schmaltz with the married couple fell flat for me. I certainly can’t say that it was a violation of Hanna’s and Barbera’s vision. This is exactly the type of schmaltz Joe would have approved, not because he liked it but because he knew it would sell.
    -The few times that the humans interacted with the Smurfs, it was not blended too well. You can tell the actors were holding nothing and just playing pretend.

    That’s my assessment. I thank you.

  • Retro00064

    I’m late to the party (4 months late :-o), because I did not watch the movie in a theater, but having just watched the movie last night after renting the DVD from Redbox the day before that, I would like to express my opinion about it.

    I’m a fan of the Smurfs and the 1980s TV series, and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It’s utterly fantastic, in my opinion. I certainly wouldn’t mind owning this movie’s DVD set.

    The CGI Smurfs are excellent, yes, even down to the skin texture with pores. What’s wrong with making them look realistic? Hank Azaria as Gargamel was great also.

    Some people have commented on the CGI Smurfs’ “creepy dead eyes”; what exactly do they mean by this?

    Prior to watching the movie, I thought that I would not be liking the Smurfs’ voices in it as much as those in the 1980s TV series, but when I watched the movie, I actually found them to be great.

    As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover.

    Hopefully the future Smurfs movies with be equally as good as this one, if not better.