The Smurfs started out in Belgium and was the brain child of Pierre Culliford (Peyo) who first created the concept and idea of these lovable blue animated characters in 1958. They became a staple of children's programming in Belgium ever since. They became popular in the United States starting in 1981 upon the recommendation of NBC TV producer, Fred Silverman who was captivated by a smurf doll he bought for his daughter on a family vacation. He pitched the idea of a tv series centered around the smurf characters to Hanna Barbera who launched their first show on September 12, 1981.
I remember watching the tv series when it was first created in 1981 and I am not embarrassed to admit that I was 20 years old and that I enjoyed watching the colorful characters. I was always a fan of the Saturday morning kids lineup even as a young man and I had become a fan of many cartoon series and The Smurfs was one of those cartoons that had a positive impact on me and one I watched regularly and enjoyed.
I always enjoy talking to my son about the shows and cartoons I watched as a kid and I have introduced him to some of them on Boomerang, the channel that plays those very same cartoons to new generations of kids. He really enjoys watching the channel and finds it interesting seeing the shows that I used to watch when I was young.
When we saw trailers for the movie The Smurfs in theatres my son expressed interest in wanting to see it and I too wanted to see it because of my love of the tv series. I really had enjoyed watching the show and felt it would be a fun family movie to see. The movie was a very enjoyable depiction of those lovable blue characters and the director, Raja Gosnell really did a fine job in bringing them to life on the big screen. It was imaginative how he brought them from their homeland to New York City and how he portrayed them as they experience life in the big city.
I really enjoyed the storyline of the movie and the choice of the leading actor and actress and the voices for the main smurf characters. Neil Patrick Harris plays the lead role of Patrick Winslow who is married to Grace Winslow, his pregnant wife who is played by Jayma Mays. After a surprising and unexpected encounter the couple warm up to the smurfs and develop a bond and friendship centered around understanding their situation, making them feel welcome and trying to get them back home through a magical portal. Hank Azaria plays the evil wizard Gargamel who also transports himself through the portal in search of the smurfs and he and his feline friend join together to make life for them very difficult. He plays the role well and is great as the bad guy. The movie has a lot of funny moments, a lot of action and some very touching moments. The scenes with Patrick, Grace and the smurfs are enjoyable and it is amazing how real and life like their interactions are together.
Patrick is an advertising executive working for a demanding owner of a cosmetics firm played by Sofia Vergara who is expecting a winning campaign and expects nothing less than perfection and he is trying to deliver so he can keep his job and balance his home life and accommodate his new smurf friends while maintaining his sanity. There is a scene where the smurfs manage to follow him to his office and cause chaos as he is trying to work under pressure in meeting his bosses demands while they are seeking his assistance in finding a star gazer. It is comical when they sing their trademark song and it starts playing in his mind. You can't help but develop an appreciation for the smurfs and fall in love with smurfette, the girl smurf. There is a touching scene when she realizes she can wear more than one dress and add to her wardrobe as she tries on one in a toy store. Grace understands her as only a girl can and she has some special bonding moments with her.
The one thing I always liked about the smurfs was their allegiance to one another and their close family ties. The movie reflects this and you really develop feelings for each of these little characters who all have very different personalities and are all likable in their own ways.
I certainly recommend the movie and feel if you are looking for a fun family movie with action, comedy and some real touching scenes then the Smurfs should be the movie on your list to see with your children. My favorite scene in the movie was when Papa smurf voiced by the legendary Jonathan Winters talks with Patrick and has glowing words for him in anticipation of becoming a dad and speaks about how important family is and he finishes by calling him Papa. Another touching scene was when Patrick defends the Blue moon ad with his wife looking on and smiling. This was his original choice and was launched by a smurf's carelessness. It is the very essence of the movie and it captures the emotion and the importance of it with a message that comes shining through and is very meaningful. When the smurfs go back through the portal it is a happy moment with Patrick and Grace there helping them knowing they certainly will miss them but realizing they need to get back home.
I always know a movie is good when it keeps my son interested from the beginning and keeps him watching without saying a word until the very end. He was laughing and was into it from beginning to end completely absorbed in the comedy and the action. We both enjoyed the movie and it was nice to relive the wonderful antics and music that symbolizes the smurfs, It was a treat and very nostalgic with a modern twist. This is a movie you will like to see with your children. Let them experience the smurfs.
Edward D. Iannielli III