The Smurfs (2011)

The SmurfsReleased: July 29, 2011. Director: Raja Gosnell. Stars: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Winters. Runtime: 103 min.

This is not my type of movie. I watched it because I wanted to see how bad of an animated movie many people say it is. It’s torture, in all honesty. I feel bad for all the parents who get dragged to this. Some of it’s really amusing to kids and I even got a laugh out of it at one point; but that’s it. The story’s terrible, as is the villain, Gargamel (Hank Azaria). The story is this: When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world into New York City. It’s okay how the writers show that the smurfs are in an odd land, but it isn’t even worth a giggle most of the time.

I don’t think I watched the show much as a kid; but I can tell that all the charm and magic of the original show has been squandered in the money grabbing way Hollywood turns that ’80s classic into a visually great CGI-live action mash-up. However, the movie is more annoying than charming. There’s just nothing going on. Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays do their best. It’s also cool to hear so many celebrities voicing the smurfs (Katy Perry is Smurfette, George Lopez is Grouchy, Anton Yelchin is Clumsy, etc.). But it doesn’t feel like they are the characters so many adults loved as kids, because many are just versions of the actor voicing them. At least those celebrities are more for the adults than the kids, because the kiddies won’t know half of those celebrities from Adam.

The movie just doesn’t do anything for the animation genre and it is torture for adults. It’s up there with “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” as one of the worst animated movies ever. Though, animated movies are usually pretty good, so it’s not the worst statement in the world as the movie is still getting a 38.  “The Smurfs” is just tedious. The little blue things substitute the term ‘smurfing’ for whatever word they want, so this feature becomes smurfing irritating really smurfing quickly.

Score38/100

Advertisements

Hop – A film review by Daniel Prinn

Hop

Release Date: April 1, 2011

Director: Tim Hill

Stars: Russell Brand (voice), James Mardsen, Kaley Cuoco

Runtime: 95 min

Tagline: Candy, Chicks and Rock ‘n’ Roll

The creators of Despicable Me give us Hop, a blend of CGI-animation and live-action. While it is a tastier film than Despicable Me, it doesn’t have a better plot, charm, or characters.

E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand) is the teenage son of the Easter Bunny (voiced by Hugh Laurie) and he will soon have that job passed down to him. Though, he doesn’t want to deliver Easter baskets to the children of the world, he really wants to become a professional drummer. He heads for the city where dreams come true, Hollywood (through a magic bunny hole). Fred O’Hare (James Mardsen) an out-of-work slacker, hits E.B. with his car. The bunny begs if he can stay with Fred for a while, and he reluctantly accepts, in hopes of it being just a dream that he’ll soon wake up from. In the process of them finding each other, they will have to find their own ways to become mature.

Hop is definitely a film that most children can enjoy, and even gave me a few laughs at the age of seventeen. The Playboy Mansion joke was pretty funny. It isn’t all charming, because I really only liked a few characters. I didn’t mind E.B., but his voice is just a little annoying – but he does offer a good message for kids, to follow your dreams and be yourself. Phil is pretty funny, though, he’s a fairly adorable little dancing chick. Fred was okay, too. The extended cameo by Hasselhoff was alright – and there was a nice pop culture reference to Knight Rider for adults, that most kids won’t understand.

The antagonists offered here make some scenes a bit crowded. There’s Fred’s family who doesn’t really believe in him (except his sister, Sam [played by Kaley Cuoco], who believes in him a little); and there’s the three Pink Berets who are the now Easter Bunny’s personal bodyguards, and are chasing after E.B. to bring him home; and then there’s a character who wants to take over as the Easter Bunny, I won’t reveal the character’s name for spoiler alert purposes, but it’s fairly obvious that they’re an antagonist from the get go.

There’s a bunch of silly rabbit play-on-word character names, like E.B. (acronym for Easter Bunny) and Fred’s last name, O’Hare.

The film stars James Mardsen, Kaley Cuoco, Elizabeth Perkins, Gary Cole, Tiffany Espensen, Chelsea Handler, David Hasselhoff; and with the voice talents of Russell Brand (which I couldn’t dub a talent, personally), Hugh Laurie, Hank Azaria and Django Marsh (as Young E.B.).

Hop offers a predictable plot, but a fairly good message for children; and many hit-and-miss characters, with some jokes even adults will enjoy. I would have liked to have enjoyed it more, but it was fairly bearable. It’s a little unfortunate that the biggest laugh for me was even before the film began, with two minions from Despicable Me doing a brief hilarious antic. It’s a film that I wouldn’t recommend to go out of your way to see, but it may be worth the watch if you caught it on TV. And it could make for a good Easter basket stuffer if you have kids.

55/100