can preach their very adult political messages to a captive audience, indoctrinating those children with a twisted message. And I mean twisted; it turns out that when we peer closer at the cartoons and cereals, a dark secret has been lurking in the Smurfs
brand since the very beginning.
An excellent example of this is in the classic description of the Smurfs. Smurfs are little blue creatures, each about "three apples" tall. As Brainy Smurf explains during the film, "apples" are part of the naturalistic system of measurement used by the Smurfs, because of their wholesale rejection of international standards. This touches on the first hidden message about the Smurfs: They're unabashed communists.
Don't believe me? How's this: All the Smurfs have names which reflect their personalities and/or professions. Papa Smurf is the red-panted leader of the Smurfs, his pants signifying his seniority within the ruling Smurf party. Likewise, Carpenter Smurf is the carpenter, Grumpy Smurf is the grumpy Smurf and Bullshit Smurf is the psychologist. Everyone's place in society can be simply determined via their names, presumably assigned by a committee upon the day a Smurf reaches two apples in height.
(This also brings up the uncomfortable question of Smurfette, the girl Smurf, and whether her handle is a reflection of her personality or her profession. Again, these are questions which really shouldn't be brought up during a kid's movie.)
She couldn't be named Project Manager Smurf or CFO Smurf could she?
Damning a soul to a stark and pre-determined career and future is one thing, and can be hilarious in the right hands. But the humor in this movie is terrible, much of it deriving from the use and misuse of the Smurf language. Imagine the word "Smurf" used in place of all other words, typically profanities. "Where the smurf are we?" or "Cram that smurf up my ass sideways," are examples used in the first five minutes of the film alone. You'll get the idea real quick, and you'll get tired of it shortly before that. Also brace yourself for lots of puns centering around the world blue, which have of course been done better elsewhere.
We've got a Smurfs movie and a Yogi the Goddamned Bear movie, but still no Arrested Development movie? Shit Hollywood. Just ... shit.
The plot of the movie serves as a sort of morality tale, a highly artificial framework established to promote the central tenets of Smurfism. The plot centers around a group of Smurfs trying to "rescue" another set of Smurfs from the wizard Gargamel. I question the word "rescue" because these Smurfs are more accurately described as employees of Gargamel, who is less a wizard and more of a factory owner. Gargamel's sole crime is apparently his scheme to "turn Smurfs into gold" by stealing their labor and feeding it into the mechanism of industry.
The Smurfs are aided in this by Doogie Taggert, an advertising agency executive played by Neil Patrick Harris. Taggert becomes disillusioned with the ad campaign he's contracted to create for Gargamel and flees into the hills where he comes across Smurf Village, a utopic Smurfist village hidden in a high mountain pass. Once there, Taggert learns the truth behind Smurfism during a series of scenes (and one wacky grain-harvesting montage) depicting life in their rigid and collectivist society.
The second half of the film (it's 170 minutes in length) is dominated by a 40 minute speech by Papa Smurf, in which he rails against the many evils he sees present in society. Everyone who's ridden public transit knows that 40 minutes is a long time to listen to a crazy person talk about politics, and I can report that it feels much, much longer when that person is speaking in a Smurf voice. It's like being fucked in the ear by a juice box -- the sticky dirty feeling will never come out.
The climax of the film is ...