I was not expecting a good movie. Still.
I noted that Papa Smurf sounded very bland. Then I saw it in the credits: it was the great -- nay, a national treasure -- Jonathan Winters who voiced him. Jonathan passed away after that. I'll skip the obvious joke. But it is sad that this is what he went out on.
The step-father in the movie sees Gargamel doing lots of POWERFUL SCARY magic, and he decides to just stomp up to Gargamel and demand that he hand over Smurfette right now. Um, because he is a big guy he can demand anything? Even after he sees all the POWERFUL MAGIC RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM, which he knows is real because the Smurfs FRIGGIN' TOLD HIM?!?!?! Does he do that to the cops when he gets pulled over? I am reminded of the hero in Plan 9 From Outer Space, who decides to take out the aliens by entering the spacecraft and punching out the aliens. Except that worked in Plan 9.
At the movie start, Smurfette runs away because she thinks everyone forgot her birthday. Somehow she missed all the preparation for that event, as in every Smurf is doing things to get ready for a party, and she does not figure out that gee, maybe it is for me, it is my birthday after all? She's supposed to be smart? The misunderstanding plot device needs decent writing.
The Smurf village is made of plants and houses that look like they are made of play-doh and white sugar. I do not remember seeing teeth in the Smurf mouths.
One of Ben's kids was sucking on a slurpy, or Ice-ee, or some other sugar and coloring and ice concoction that would go over well in the Smurf village. He was down to the last stubborn stuff on the bottom of the cup, and working hard to suck it up. Slurp, slurp, suck, suck, sssssuck, SSSSSSSSSSUUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKK, suck, suck, SSSSSSSSSUUUUUUUCCCCCKK, and so on and on and on. I asked him to please not make that noise. He turned his big boy eyes at me and said with irrefutable little boy logic, "But I want the rest of it." I thought about asking again, but then got into a mental debate: which sucks more, the straw-sucking or the lousy movie? By the way, he's a smart kid, but he did not figure out that maybe he could take the lid off and get to the last bits that way. No boy in the world ever figures that out.
I wanted to write some type of review of the plot, but it all boils down to step daddy is okay, and friendship is nice. Smurfs go into our world, find former friend, get Smurfette back after she realizes Smurfs are her real friends, and a couple more Smurfs are added to the mix, and yawn.
At the beginning of the flick, I missed the part with Narrator Smurf since I went to buy a hot dog. Saw him at the end, and I say that if you just toss in a narrator, you should do that break-the-4th-wall act for a reason. I know, cuz I am using that sort of gag in my novel and short story, and something HAS to be done other then having the camera pan to the narrator -- or in my case, to the dashingly handsome author -- and having him narrate. At least hit him with a pie or something.
In the first several minutes, Gargamel said at least FOUR TIMES that his magic is powered by Smurf essence. Four times. In case we forgot the first three times. Alfred Hitchcock said that exposition is a pill that must be sugar coated. I add that just because the movie is for kids, you do not TELL kids FOUR TIMES, listen to Hitchcock and SHOW it in an entertaining way. I admit they did show some of that, and that is a better way to inform the audience. Sony, stop assuming that kid audiences are dumb. (I think Sony is guilty of this more than most, considering what happened with Spider-Man 3 and throwing Venom in just cuz he looks cool, cool SFX do not carry a flick.)
After the flick, I asked the kids what they thought of the movie. "Good," they monotoned with all the enthusiasm of a kid being given a pop quiz. That was all I got out of them. I decided not to pry. I also avoided sugar for a while. And Play-doh. Just in case.