Cinema Review: The Smurfs Simon Fitzjohn August 11, 2011 Movie Reviews 2319 Reviewed by LUMIN I may not be 5 years old but to say I eagerly anticipated the big-screen version of the diminutive blue creatures is an understatement. And I was a lone adult among the gaggle of blue-faced kids chomping on blue popcorn and wielding large balloon Smurfs at my preview screening. I could only look enviously on as I was deemed too adult to have my face painted or to participate in the balloon-twisting escapades. The Smurfs remind me of idyllic childish times when my only worry was rested in my hopes that dad would buy me a new mushroom house for my Smurfette. But how would a new generation feel about them, a generation more adult, more savvy, more used to gadgets and the latest technology? Surely The Smurfs would be too twee for these knowing kidults? And would the film reflect this, losing the essence of its simplicity, the values of the 50s when the idea was dreamt up. Thankfully, the only concession seemed to be the use of 3D. The story remained, in tone, pretty much as sweet as the original, with the same theme tune, sang by a chorus of Smurfs in the opening scenes. True to its roots, Gargamel and his verbose cat Azriel chase the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village. Hank Azaria’s evil wizard totally steals the show with his comic reactions – but then the a veteran of animated classic The Simpsons should do. Azaria’s Gargamel fits seamlessly alongside the CGI Smurfs, although Azriel’s computer-manipulated facial expressions leave a lot to be desired. The Smurfs tumble from their magical world and into ours – in fact, smack dab in the middle ofCentral Park. Just three apples high and stuck in the Big Apple, the Smurfs must find a way to get back to their village before Gargamel tracks them down. Eventually they join forces with an exasperated Neil Patrick Harris (a fashion advertiser), who helps the Smurfs save the day, as well as learning a few life lessons himself. This movie has gone down a storm in theUS(seeing off Cowboys & Aliens) and in the main is good, clean family fun. Yes there is a cloying amount of cheese and syrupy sentimentality, but with everything that has happened here over recent days, is that so much of a bad thing? And, as far as I am concerned, anything that means we could see another batch of Smurf figures and merchandise swamping stores can only be good news.