Let’s go smurfing now
IN THE wrong hands, this live-action-cartoon hybrid could have been another Alvin and the Chipmunks. Or worse, its Squeakuel.
So it is something of a relief that this energetic kiddie flick is better than expected.
The plot has the famous blue gnome-like creatures comically fending for themselves in the real world, with the aid of an angst-ridden ad exec named Patrick ( Neil Patrick Harris) and his perky pregnant wife Grace ( Jayma Mays). Away from their native, magic-fairyland habitat, the Smurfs are a generic bunch. Like Snow White’s seven dwarves, each character is christened according to a defining trait ( Gutsy, Brainy, Grouchy, Jokey and, in an efficient left-of-centre touch, Narrator), and do little more than likeably live up to their names. The exception is the only female of the gang, Smurfette ( voiced by pop diva Katy Perry).
The best thing about the production is its very amusing villain Gargamel, played with an inspired air of hamminess by Hank Azaria. Together with his purr-fect partner in crime Azrael ( a most fiendish feline), the wizardly Gargamel’s spells are no match for the overpowering Smurfness all around him.
Very young viewers will be happy with the humour in play, though some parents may eventually be left lighter of pocket by the relentless promotion of Sony products threaded throughout the picture.