Published on July 29th, 2011 | by pluincee1
Movie Review: The Smurfs in 3D
The discussions about the use of 3-D in film, especially live action, has been getting quite a bit of attention recently, with industry heads and punters alike chipping in their two-cent worth. Most recently, Simon Pegg on twitter summed it up for me when he said that 3D works with animation but not necessarily with live action.
Having no idea what to expect from the Smurfs’ most recent outing – a long awaited revival of the little blue men (and one woman) of my childhood – I was happy to don my 3D glasses in anticipation of an animated adventure. What followed was nothing short of beauty. For kids, certainly, this latest outing of the Belgian Blue beings, will delight and entertain, classic slapstick routines being expertly mixed together with action and maybe a hint of romance.
The opening sequence reminds the viewer of the power of 3D technology that you just don’t get from a live action film – a sweeping sequence where the camera follows animated birds in flight through a forest – though the transfer of the smurfs into our world is almost seamless and the 3D is used to great effect when they are on screen, while it is used minimally when they’re not.
The storyline is simple: Clumsy Smurf goes picking smurfberries outside of the smurf village, Gargamel (Hank Azaria) spots him & chases him through the invisibility shroud into smurf village. Clumsy Smurf then runs off down the wrong escape route, followed by Smurfette, Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Grouchy Smurf and Gutsy Smurf and through a portal into our world. Gargamel & Azrael follow suit and the rest of the film charts their quest to get home, while being chased by the inept wizard. The smurfs enlist the help of a reluctant advertising exec Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and his wife Grace (Jayma Mays).
Being a child at heart, all of the above appealed to me greatly. After a while though, I found myself musing on what the film had in store for either adults accompanying children as opposed to grown ups who want to revisit their childhood friends. Turns out, it has a whole lot. There is an entire Really Grown Up storyline (not to give too much away, but it’s about Patrick, Grace, their unborn child, and the trials & tribulations they’re all facing in an uncertain economic climate, with a Cruella de Ville-esque cosmetics mogul as an employer). The film is also peppered with those delightful over-the-heads-of-babes references to a plethora of classic films (including ‘7 Year Itch’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’). Half the time is spent enjoying the innocent storyline, the rest is spent looking around the screen spotting obviously planted material for comedic effect (such as the taxi-roof signs which feature among other things Blue Man Group & Blu-Ray Disc ads).
This is a must-see summer film, for young and old, and if you don’t believe me, check out the trailer here:
The Smurfs goes on general release August 10th. 5 stars.