Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Smurfs

Colecovision's Smurfs game. Since gameplay was much more simple at the time, they increased the difficulty by giving the Colecovision the most fucking awful joystick in history.


Alright, this is massively late. It's been sitting on my desktop waiting for me to format it and I've finally got around to it. But anyway, a few weeks ago, Molly and I saw the Smurfs movie. This is our review:

I felt a little guilty taking Molly out to see the Smurfs without my wife. Not that my wife is really a big Smurfs fan, but she is a huge fan of Neil Patrick Harris. She is absolutely in love with him and is a bit disappointed in the fact that he is gay. So, I know that my role in our relationship is that if I ever have a chance to have sex with Neil Patrick Harris, I will take one for the team and do it so that I can describe it to my wife afterward so that she can experience sleeping with him vicariously through me. I just hope that my wife doesn't mind that my description of the experience will probably include the phrases "kind of awkward" and "really hurty" a lot.

Now, I grew up watching the Smurfs and I was really worried about watching this movie that it was going to be some horrible destruction of my childhood. However... it wasn't that bad.

Trust me, this isn't a flowering or glowing endorsement of the movie, but I was surprisingly not disgusted by the movie. The plot involves Gargamel finding the Smurf village because of Clumsy Smurf's blunder. As the smurfs try to escape, Clumsy gets separated and accidentally goes down the wrong path. Several other smurfs follow him and Gargamel follows that group instead of the 90 other smurfs. Anyhow, this splinter group gets sucked into a portal that leads them into Manhattan, as does Gargamel. Once in Manhattan, the smurfs need to find their way home while escaping Gargamel who is tracking them down. They meet Neil Patrick Harris who is married to the doe-eyed guidance counselor from Glee, who is pregnant (this, by the way, makes for an interesting post-movie discussion with my daughter who loves Dr. Horrible and Glee and has trouble disassociating actors from characters). Well, blah blah blah, predictable things happen and ultimately it is Clumsy who saves the day and rescues everyone and stops Gargamel and he is celebrated as a hero. But again, this leads me to the problem that I have with this standard kid movie plot: If Clumsy hadn't fucked up in the beginning, none of these threats would have come to bear and no one would have had to have risked their lives. So Clumsy's actions at the end weren't exactly grand at the end, but rather all he did was just karmically return to status quo.

Anyhow, the movie really only focused on a handful of the smurfs and introduced a new smurf, Gutsy Smurf. I have a bit of a problem with Gutsy Smurf for several reasons, however.

First of all, Gutsy Smurf and Hefty Smurf's personality overlap quite a bit. If you were to make a Venn Diagram of the pair, you would be very close to having a single circle.

Second, Gutsy Smurf has a heavy Scottish brogue. I am a little curious as to where he picked this up. Though perhaps there is some kind of Smurf Village Exchange Program that he is a part of.  Ultimately I suppose the accent doesn't bother me that much other than to make me really wonder about Smurf regional dialects.

But the biggest problem I have with Gutsy Smurf is this:

He wears a kilt. Now, I don't have a problem with kilts at all. I wear them and I love them. However, I have a problem with him being called "Gutsy" and he is wearing pants under his kilt. If he really wants to be "Gutsy Smurf" then he'd go full commando under his kilt while jumping around and fighting like he did in this movie.

The thing that I did like about the movie, though, was that it actually kept to canon fairly well. There were references to the fact that Gargamel created Smurfette. There were other subtle references to some of the smurf history as well (including the strange, out of chronological time explanation of how Azreal got that notch in his ear).

However, this strange nod to the adherence of Smurf lore made a few things in the movie odd. Such as, in the cartoon, Gargamel had always wanted to catch the smurfs because he had an alchemical formula that could turn smurfs to gold. Occasionally, his motive was just to eat them because they were delicious. However, in the movie, Gargamel wants the smurfs because their essence grants wizards their power for spells.

I also never really understood how smurfs were supposed to be "three apples high". I mean, an apple is on average 3 1/4" in height. Even if we shave that down to just 3", then we're looking at a smurf being 9" tall. There's no way that smurfs are 9 inches tall.

But anyhow, the movie was kind of clever and had some subtle humor in it that didn't make it too terrible for adults. It wasn't some horrible memory destroying piece, but it was just safe, dumb movie-making. I've had to endure much worse with Molly.

Molly: (As usual, Molly is next to me as I type this. Her portion of the review will be in Q&A form because of her inability to read. I'll transcribe what she is saying and format it all later.)

Chuckie: So, what did you think of the move, "The Smurfs"?
Molly: I liked it.

Chuckie: What did you like about it?
Molly: Um, that it was long.
Chuckie: What else did you like about it?
Molly: That it was nice.

Chuckie: Did you like the smurfs in the movie?
Molly: Yes.

Chuckie: What did you like about the smurfs?
Molly: That they were saved by the giant moon that was blue.

Chuckie: What were the different smurfs in the movie?
Molly: Um, one was  girl and the others were boys. And one was crazy. And one was a grandpa and one was clumsy and here's something really different about them: two people were humans.

Chuckie: Well, yes, but they weren't smurfs.
Molly: Yes. But one smurf was a chef.

Chuckie: Okay. That's true. So, tell me what happened in the movie.
Molly: Um, they got... Uh, Clumsy went the wrong way and they through the portal thing and then they went to a different land. I think it was New York City. And then they stayed with somebody else. One was from Glee Club and one was Doctor Horrible.

Chuckie: Then what happened?
Molly: Then they stayed with them and they stayed in a little mushroom. And then they went in a taxi and then they went to a shop and Smurfette was getting baby doll clothes and the other two was looking for the looking glass and the other two were playing around and then they went back home and then Papa Smurf looked out for the other smurfs. And then Dr. Horrible and the girl from Glee Club had a baby. Daddy, why was Dr. Horrible married to her?

Chuckie: Ah, well, Penny died at the end of Dr. Horrible. So I guess he moved on.
Molly: Mr. Shue is going to be mad that she married Dr. Horrible.

Chuckie: Yes, I suppose so. So, who was your favorite character in the movie?
Molly: The girl smurf. Wait! I mean the cat, sorry.

Chuckie: What did you like about the cat?
Molly: Um, I liked the cat because I like kitties. I think kitties are adorable.

Chuckie: Even when they're trying to eat smurfs?
Molly: No. Only when they do things that aren't eating smurfs. Like purring.

Chuckie: Well, isn't eating smurfs what he was trying to do in this movie?
Molly: Yes. Those parts he was less cute.

Chuckie: What was your favorite part of the movie?
Molly: That they goed back home. Wait! I mean when the kitty laughed instead.

Chuckie: Were there any parts of the movie that you didn't like?
Molly: Um, yes. That they were being mean and evil to those nice smurfs.

Chuckie: Gutsy Smurf was a completely new character and wasn't one of the original smurfs. What did you think of him?
Molly: He dressed like he was at the Renaissance Faire.

Chuckie: Yes, that he did. What can you tell me about the evil wizard, Gargamel?
Molly: He was mean. Mean, mean, mean!

Chuckie: Why was he after the smurfs?
Molly: I think because he wants more power and he wants to kills smurfs.

Chuckie: So, how would you rate this movie, Pixie?
Molly: With stars.

Chuckie: Okay. How many stars would you give this movie?
Molly: Eight.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Um, zero.
Chuckie: We've been over this before. If it is out of zero, it becomes an imaginary number.
Molly: That's fine, Daddy. Lots of things are imaginary anyway. Now I want to give it suns.

Chuckie: Okay, how many suns do you want to give it?
Molly: Um, nine.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Um... I don't know. I don't want to pick something that will make it turn into imagination. So... six?
Chuckie: Yeah, nine out of six a real number.
Molly: Yay! Now moons.

Chuckie: How many moons do you want to give it?
Molly: Three.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Reindeer.
Chuckie: Reindeer?
Molly: Yes.
Chuckie: Why reindeer?
Molly: I was just looking at my lip gloss reindeer and I thought, "Huh. Why not?"

Chuckie: Okay, fair enough. So who do you think would like to see this movie?
Molly: Um, Abby, Ellen, Ava and Elise, my best buddy who used to be at my school. And I think Mason, and Grandmom and Pop Pop and Grammy and Pappy and Daddy and Molly and Mommy. But no one else. I don't think we should take Dr. Opoly or Utini or baby kitten to the movie though, because they might learn bad habits from the cat in the movie.

Chuckie: So, is there anything else that you want to say about the movie?
Molly: Yes. Captain Hammer should have beat up Gargamel and saved the day.

So that's our review. I thought that it was mindless, but inoffensive to both the adults seeing the movie as well as those who may have watched the Smurfs a little too long through their childhood. Molly really enjoyed it and has been singing the la-la-la-la-la-la smurf song a little too much since seeing it.

I give it two out of five stars. I would have given it more, but Gutsy Smurf couldn't live up to his name and go commando under his kilt.

Molly gives it eight out of zero stars, nine out of six suns and three moons out of reindeer. She also doesn't think that this is a good movie to take our cats to, because they may pick up some bad habits. She's also apparently very concerned about Mr. Schuester and Emma's relationship in Glee and Dr. Horrible's intrusion in it.

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