The Smurfs (Blu-ray)
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Once in a blue moon, one gets a glimpse of what's truly important in life--and it's not always what one might expect. In the hidden land of the Smurfs, the perpetually happy blue creatures are preparing for the Blue Moon festival. They have no clue that the evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) is about to follow one of them into their secret world in an attempt to capture their happy essence--a substance guaranteed to render his magic all-powerful. In a striking parallel to Enchanted, a vortex suddenly opens up and sucks Papa, Grouchy, Smurfette, Brainy, Gutsy and Clumsy Smurf into the middle of New York City, with Gargamel following close behind. Shocked expectant parents Patrick and Grace Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays) end up with an apartment full of the little blue beings.
They eventually befriend the Smurfs and agree to help them outsmart Gargamel and find their way back home. What ensues is a danger-filled, comical adventure that takes the Smurfs from Central Park to Patrick's place of employment and even FAO Schwarz. Just when it looks like their plan to return home will fail, and that they've destroyed Patrick's career in the process, things really heat up and everyone learns a lesson about what's really important in life and about believing in oneself. The film does a good job melding live action and animation, and there's plenty of humour involved for both kids and adults.
Most kids will laugh their way through the film, but there are some situations of peril that the very youngest or easily frightened might find rather intense. Harris and Mays do a good job interacting with their new blue friends, but it's too bad these talented actors weren't given a bit more depth of character to work with. Azaria is quite an effective villain and Frank Welker's cat Azrael is hysterical. Other notable voice talent includes Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf, Alan Cumming as Gutsy, Katy Perry as Smurfette, Fred Armisen as Brainy, George Lopez as Grouchy and Anton Yelchin as Clumsy. The Smurfs is funny enough family entertainment, but given its star-studded cast, it had the potential to be even better. (Ages 7 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world and into ours -- in fact, smack dab in the middle of Central 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.
Windsor, South Africa. 5 February 2016
Best cartoon ever!
Region B - Includes most European and Middle-Eastern countries, all of Africa, Australia and New Zealand.