Wednesday, August 03, 2011

My Week In Movies - Not Too Smurfy

The Smurfs 3-D (2011) The Smurfs movie looks pretty bad from the trailers. It's not actually as bad as it appears...but it's pretty darn close. The main problem with this movie is that the Smurf franchise deserves so much better than this. The movie starts off wonderfully in the Smurf village. Seeing the Smurfs in their town o' mushrooms with all the detail CGI provides over Saturday morning animation is really neat. Unfortunately, the Smurfs get sucked out of their village in the first 10 minutes of the film and by means of some magic portal, end up in the mysterious village of New York. Here the Smurfs meet Doogie Howser and the pretty girl from Glee and then it's all pretty much jokes and situations recycled from Alvin & The Chipmunks and numerous other recent kiddie movies. The "realistic" design of the Smurfs grows on you and works in the film. There are some funny and cute moments but mostly the entire production is bogged down by the sad fact that this was the best Hollywood could come up with for beloved characters that are 30 years old in this country...50 years in other parts of the world. Hank Azaria does a great job as Gargamel, capturing the voice from the cartoon down to a tee and he adds his own bit of silly humor to the role. The great Johnathan Winters provides the voice of Papa Smurf and Katy Perry adds a bubbly personality to Smurfette. While there are a handful of notable actors lending their voices to other Smurfs, the majority of the movie only centers on six Smurfs leaving the rest of the village to appear only briefly in the beginning and the end. It was neat seeing the Smurfs exist in actual three dimensions but the film fails at doing anything at all with the 3-D technology. Again, overall not a bad film but certainly a disappointment as a Smurfs Summer Blockbuster.

How To Eat Fried Worms (2006) This feels like it was made simply to try and make a few bucks off the popularity of kids books as movies....i.e. Harry Potter. Not much happens in this tale of a new kid at school who crosses paths with the school bully. They end up making a bet that the new boy will eat 10 worms and then it's just pretty much the kids coming up with gross ways to cook the worms. Silly, innocent fun - my kids liked it and that's who I rented it for!

Yogi Bear (2010) Third time seeing this flick and I gotta say I enjoy it more and more each time! This is probably the best cartoon-to-live action film that they've been able to make. It's faithful to the source material and they avoided adding in too much cynical & crude humor.

The Puppetoon Movie (1987) George Pal was the innovator of a film stop motion animation process known as Puppetoons, where he made cartoon shorts using materials other pencil and paper. The effect was the forerunner to films like Rudolph and The Nightmare Before Christmas. This movie is supposed to be a tribute to Mr. Pal but after a brief introduction scene featuring Gumby & Pokey the film just settles in for over an hour of old cartoons. Without any historical context or background information the toons start to run together and become rather bland. These sort of things work in brief 7 to 8 minute spots but a feature length presentation of them is hard to sail through.

July Movie Count: 16
Best New Movie: Winnie The Pooh
Best Rewatch: The Jungle Book
Worst Movie: The Puppetoon Movie
2011 Movie Count: 118

1 comment:

Tom said...

isn't there a joke in Yogi about marking your territory? That seems a little inappropriate.

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