The Smurfs are little and blue, with names like Snow’ White’s dwarfs, who live in a make-believe village where everything is “very Smurfy” and they like to sing a happy song that goes “la la la la la.”
Don’t despair. It’s not as bad as it sounds. In fact, the story is inventive, the baddie genuinely wicked and the sentiment held in check until the end.
The mix of animation and real people works well. Also, for once, 3D does not feel like a wasted expense.
Gargamel (Hank Azaria) is a famous illusionist/magician who gives grand performances to packed audiences.
He dresses like a poor monk and behaves like a demented dictator. His purpose, it seems, is to steal the essence of the Smurfs in order to recreate them in his lab and destroy the existing tribe.
Haplessly helping is a human family – wimpy dad (Neil Patrick Harris from How I Met Your Mother), smiley mom (Jayma Mays from Glee), robust Irish step dad (Brendan Gleeson from The Guard) and 10-year-old Blue who doesn’t do much.
They go to Paris, which gives the director an excuse to include the Eiffel Tower in as many shots as possible, especially when four Smurfs take a ride on the backs of two elegant storks.
Small children might find Gargamel more scary than Capt Hook and want to hide under the seats.
Otherwise they will be engrossed, excited and charmed.
CGI animation is so good these days all that’s required is a script that doesn’t stick together. Treacle has been added to this package as an antidote to Gargamel’s poison, but the proportions are safe.
As Papa says, “Let’s get Smurfy!”