Wednesday, September 21, 2011

THE SMURFS

J: As promised, a 'light' plant.
M: The smurfs??? Do I look like a child?
J: This is not just for kids, the humors for adult and there are moral lessons too.

THE FACTS:

The Smurfs is a 2011 American 3D family film based on The Smurfs comic book series created by Peyo and the 1980s animated TV series it spawned. It was directed by Raja Gosnell and stars Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays, and Sofía Vergara. It is the first CGI/live-action hybrid film to be produced by Sony Pictures Animation and in The Smurfs trilogy. During early production the film was known as The Smurfs Movie.
After five years of negotiations, Jordan Kerner bought the rights in 2002 and was in development with Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies until Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation obtained the film rights in 2008. Filming began in March 2010 in New York. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/) 
THE CAST
   (taken directly from http://en.wikipedia.org./)   
       Live action actors:
  • Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick Winslow
  • Jayma Mays as Grace Winslow
  • Hank Azaria as Gargamel, the arch-nemesis and antagonist of the Smurfs who plots to use the Smurfs as part of a spell which would turn lead into gold. As opposed to the television show where Gargamel's goal is use the Smurfs as the key ingredient in an alchemical formula to create gold or eat them or destroy them, in the film he wants to capture them to serve as charms, "whose mystical essence will make his inept magic more powerful — and dangerous". To look the part of Gargamel, Azaria wore a prosthetic nose, ears, buck teeth, eyebrows and a wig (to make the process easier, he shaved his head). The initial make-up test took three hours, but by mid-production the process took 90 minutes to complete. Azaria was transformed over 50 times and spent approximately 130 hours in the make-up chair.
  • Sofía Vergara as Odile Anjelou, a Mexican American executive at Anjelou Cosmetics who is the boss of Patrick.
  • Tim Gunn as Henri, Odiel's Executive Assistant at Anjelou Cosmetics.

      Voice actors:

  • Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf. Winters provided the voice of Grandpa Smurf in the 1981 cartoon series. Jonathan Winters and Frank Welker are the only original cast members from the TV Series who returned for the movie.
  • Katy Perry as Smurfette. About gaining the voice role, Perry said: "They had done a blind test where they took certain voices from previous interviews and matched them with the character. They liked my voice without even knowing who it was, and when they found out it was me, they thought that would work out. My personality was just a plus!"
  • Fred Armisen as Brainy Smurf
  • Alan Cumming as Gutsy Smurf, one of three Smurfs created specifically for the film and who is Scottish, wears a kilt, and has sideburns. The character is also described as the "action hero" of the film.
  • Anton Yelchin as Clumsy Smurf. Yelchin commented on his character's personality change from the cartoons series saying, "I was familiar with Clumsy from the TV series, where he had that Southern twang. I went back and watched that, and then Raja, Jordan and I talked about it. We decided to make Clumsy a little simpler, a little sweeter. His voice is pitched higher than my normal speaking voice – it's full of joy, optimism, and enthusiasm for life. Clumsy isn't trying to mess anything up for anybody — he's just clumsy, and actually, he‘s tired of being clumsy".
  • George Lopez as Grouchy Smurf. To prepare for his role of being "grouchy", Lopez did not drink coffee, made sure he had bad breath and picked the busiest time to get to the studio.
  • Jeff Foxworthy as Handy Smurf
  • Paul Reubens as Jokey Smurf
  • Gary Basaraba as Hefty Smurf
  • John Oliver as Vanity Smurf
  • Kenan Thompson as Greedy Smurf
  • B. J. Novak as Baker Smurf
  • Joel McCrary as Farmer Smurf
  • Wolfgang Puck as Chef Smurf
  • John Kassir as Crazy Smurf, the second Smurf created specifically for the film
  • Tom Kane as Narrator Smurf, the third Smurf created specifically for the film
  • Frank Welker as Azrael, Gargamel's cat.Welker provided the voice of Hefty Smurf in the 1981 cartoon series. Four Orange tabby cats played the role of Azreal with some scenes being created with CGI by Tippett Studio. Animal trainer Larry Madrid had a "rare Burma cat" that was used to educe snarls from the other cats since they did not like him.

THE PLOT

We begin with an introduction of the smurfs and their smurf village.
The smurfs are tiny blue beings, about 3-apples tall, living in a mythical mushroom village-a happy place where no one knows sadness and where even being blue is a happy thing.
 
They use smurfs for almost everything and their name is associated with their character traits.
 The Smurfs get ready for the Blue Moon Festival singing the La la la la Happy song. Then comes the over-energetic yet clumsy, Clumsy, ruining the mood.
Clumsy

In his home, Papa Smurf sees a vision of the Smurfs in cages, Clumsy Smurf holding a dragon wand, and Gargamel being powerful.
Papa Smurf
Gargamel

He refuses to allow Clumsy to pick Smurf Roots, but Clumsy disobeys Papa Smurf and does it anyway. However, Gargamel and Azrael see him and follow him into the village. The Smurfs all flee, and Clumsy runs into a forbidden falls. Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Grouchy, Brainy and Gutsy notice this and hurry after him. They find him at the edge of a cliff, and while trying to help him up, they are sucked into a gigantic vortex, leading to New York City, where Anjelou, a beauty company is having a party. Gargamel and Azrael follow them.
They are amaze of what they call a gigantic village, gaping over the giant princesses in the billboards.
Patrick (who works at Anjelou) and Grace, a married and expectant couple and their Basset hound Elway, befriend them and allow them to stay in their apartment while they find way to go back home.
Grace

Patrick

Elway and Clumsy
In order to find their way home, Papa Smurf needs a Stargazer (telescope). Brainy Smurf upon knowing that Patrick do is to 'predict' market trends thinks he is a Fortune Teller, ergo their are lot of stargazers in his office. As humans who understand the human world better, we know Brainy is so wrong, thus, they ended up pissing up Patrick in his work with their noise. He called Grace to pick them up but on their way home, they pass along a toy store seeing a poster of STARGAZER! (I like the tone of excitement when they say the word, it's as if their whole life depend on it.) Grace is in panic and immediately calls Patrick. Gargamel bumped unto him as he was racing to the toy store and his acolyte cat, Azrael recognizes him. An hilarious chase ensued.


They got lucky and escaped. Lovable as they are, in just a short while they build friendship with the couple. But one night, as Patrick is about to send his proposal to Odile, his boss. Clumsy trips into the keyboard thus, sending the wrong file.
Papa Smurf learns that he will be able to get them all home in a couple nights. But first, he must figure out the spell to do so. Patrick tells them that there is an old book store in the city. As they are about to head there to get a spell book, the missend advertisement, (the blue moon), is now over the billboards. Clumsy guiltily accepts his mistake,but its to no avail cause Patrick is now angry and shouted; "this is why I hate little people running around!" which hurts Grace. This give as the idea that Patrick is not yet ready for the responsibility of being a father.
The smurfs headed to the old library in Chinatown (Is using this part of town become a trend to Hollywood movies nowadays?) After lots of searching, they find one of their own comic books, containing the spell. Gargamel hears where they are, so he sneaks into the book store and finds a dragon wand, which he then steals. He uses the dragon wand to abduct Papa Smurf. The Smurfs promise Papa Smurf that they won't try to save him.
Meanwhile Patrick is pressured by Odile to fixed what he'd done wrong. His feet lead him to the park where he see a happy family, a father embracing his little daughter. This brings him back to memory lane and contemplate on what Grace said; "Did you stop for a while Patrick and see that this blue moon is about us? That of all people, those blue beings choose us?" Accepting he's wrong, he go back home and apologizes to Grace in an emotional phone speech to Odile, promotion be damned.

The four smurfs come back relating the bad news and the promise to Papa Smurf that they will not try to rescue him. Clumsy who stayed behind with Grace and Elway and Patrick who says that they are not involved in the promise, plans a rescue. The other Smurfs agree to help. (Since promises are made to be broken right? in times like this)
Meanwhile, Gargamel is going to remove the "Smurf essence" from Papa Smurf and charge it into the dragon wand, which would make him more powerful than anything else in the world.
Patrick and the Smurfs battle Gargamel while Smurfette fights Azrael and saves Papa Smurf. They, too, join the fight. Also, Brainy reads the spell and opens up the portal, allowing him to go home and round up his friends.
Gargamel captures Papa Smurf again and throws him into the air, but Patrick catches him. Right before Gargamel can destroy them both, Gutsy knocks the dragon wand out of his hand. Clumsy tries to catch it, and Papa Smurf believes that he will fail, but, much to everyone's surprise, he manages to catch it.
Without his dragon wand, Gargamel is powerless, and Papa Smurf destroys the wand once and for all.
The Smurfs return home safe and sound.
Patrick was not fired from his job instead promoted and praised by Odile for giving her what she want and not merely what she like. (Cause seriously there is much difference on that?)

Patrick and Grace have a baby boy, whom they name Blue to honor the Smurfs, and the Smurfs rebuild their houses to look like what humans have.

MY COMMENTS:
M: Looks like "Alvin and the Chipmunks" minus the Chipmunks Voice to me.
J: But you are laughing all along.
M: That's not my point, my point is it's recycled.
J: I don't agree. Same genre but its way too different from other CG-live movies. First story is different.
M: Correction that's just the difference.
J: Look at this next picture. Isn't Patrick to be credited for pretending there are smurfs singing along?
M: He looks idiot to me.
J: Your rude! Same as those expert reviewers out there.
M: See, the experts have spoken.
J: But, I did enjoy watching it. Can we just base it on that and not on technicalities?
M: Well, experts can't do that. If that happens they'll end up bias and grading their preferred movies a 10.

J: But were not experts.
M: Aren't we?
J: Nope. So it's okey to admit you like this movie.
M: Oh! I love the Smurfs, soooo cute and lovable. In fact,  I want to have them as pets. I can endure hearing them singing  the Happy song the whole day tending our plants in the garden with their blue thumbs. 
Smurfette
J: That's what I'm saying! The script is humurous.
M: That is if you understand humor itself.
J: Gargamel is a hilarious character. He looks dumb passing through the exhaust in New York City saying he looks mysteriously evil passing through its smoke (laughs). 
M: Not just hilarious, Dumb Hilarious.His cat, Azrael is even more intelligent than him. The cat saying; Are you dead (then laughs)?hahaha..makes me laugh too.
J: But what really makes me plant this are the lessons. One is knowing how to decide and being ready to accept responsibility. Papa Smurf said; knowing that your ready does not come from the mind, but from the heart where it matters the most. It lodge into my system really, especially because it is said with such a soothing soft tone of Jonathan Winters.

The voice behind Papa Smurf
M: Winter's voice is just right for a papa. As for me I like what Patrick said. It's not just a moon, but a blue moon, once in a blue moon. It means that there are only few magical and meaningful moments in our life, and if we hesitate and be afraid, those blue smurf moments will leave us behind.
J: YEAH! But nothing beats this message from Grace; We can be whoever we think we are! 
M: Hero Smurf? why not?
J: I'm too hard to be a hero. Can I just be Writer Smurf?
M: Oh I love that!
J: So overall I'll rate The Smurfs a 9/10. How about you?
M: 9 too.
J: At last we smurfily agreed!

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