AWFJ Women On Film – “Smurfs 3D” – Review by Susan Granger

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Toddlers may be delighted with this cartoon-live action adaptation of the 1980s cult cartoon but their parents, who may remember the TV series, will probably be bored stiff. Nevertheless, on its opening weekend the magical blue creatures tied with “Cowboys and Aliens” as #1 at the box-office.

The plot centers on Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris) and his pregnant wife Grace (Jayma Mays) whose home is invaded by a small band of Smurfs who dive through a wormhole to escape the evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) and his nasty cat Azrael (voiced by Frank Welker), winding up in New York City. Apprehensive about becoming a father, Patrick is an exasperated ad-exec trying to come up with a clever cosmetics campaign. Eventually, of course, the Winslows help the Smurfs get back to their village.

Under the director of Raja Gosnell, animated 3-D is put to good use. In the opening scene, Smurfs fly on storks and the camera follows their careening trajectory as they swoop out of the sky and dive deep into the dense forest, landing in enchanted Smurf Village with its mushroom-like houses. Later in the story, there’s an effective vortex into which swirling leaves disappear. Finally, Gargamel blasts energy from his wand into the audience, making tots squeal in delight!

Originally conceived by a Belgian comic-book artist named Peyo (Pierre Culliford’s pseudonym) in 1958, the Smurfs became a Saturday morning cartoon program during the 1980s. The Smurfs are archetypal characters, named for their personality – Gutsy (Alan Cumming), Grouchy (George Lopez), Clumsy (Anton Yelchin), Greedy (Kenan Thompson), Handy (Jeff Foxworthy(, Vanity (John Oliver), Jokey (Paul Reubens) etc. – except for Papa (Jonathan Winters) and Smurfette (Katy Perry), the only girl among 100 boys. Their language utilizes the word ‘smurf’ in myriad meanings decipherable within their context, occasionally including sexual innuendos that sail right over the kids’ heads.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Smurfs in 3-D” is a nostalgic, kid-friendly 5, despite an outrageous abundance of Sony product placements to catch the attention of accompanying adults.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.