The Integrity of the Smurfs Has Been Smurfed - Macleans.ca
 

The Integrity of the Smurfs Has Been Smurfed


 

Watching the trailer for the Smurfs movie. Okay, so I grew up with the cartoon series, and therefore I know that the show (like all Hanna-Barbera shows, as I mentioned below) has no artistic integrity to betray. I watched as they added new, politically-correct Smurfs like the environmentalist “Natural Smurf,” and then literally turned some of those Smurfs into little baby Smurfs in the hope of attracting a younger demographic. I saw them add Jonathan Winters as Grandpa Smurf, because… I don’t know, Papa Smurf wasn’t old enough? (It was probably the last time in TV history when shows were actually under pressure to add older characters to the cast in mid-run. It was kind of nice, in a way.) So I’m aware that doing a live-action/3D animation hybrid where the Smurfs wind up in the modern-day big city and harass Barney Stinson is something Hanna-Barbera would gladly have done themselves.

And yet a part of me can’t help wishing that there had been some other approach chosen – this particular “zap them from a magical land to the present day” has been done as far back as the Masters of the Universe movie, and I strongly suspect it’s less about making it more contemporary than making it cheaper to do. Hearing Jonathan Winters’ voice come out of Papa Smurf just feels wrong, for reasons stated above. Also, where’s the classical music? That was the big selling point of the original. Well, maybe not, but I was actually introduced to a lot of classical music by that show, and it will feel distinctly un-Smurfy without a lot of Schubert and Grieg.

Finally, I didn’t see Brainy Smurf get violently thrown out by the people who are supposedly his friends. That… well, okay, that’s probably an improvement.

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I just hope the inevitable Snorks movie treats the material with more respect.


 
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The Integrity of the Smurfs Has Been Smurfed

  1. The first season of The Smurfs, when it was still based on Peyo’s original books, had plenty of artistic integrity.

    Personally, considering how zombies have become somewhat more popular these days, I think they could should have simply made a big-screen version of Peyo’s “The Black Smurfs” story.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Smurfs

  2. I should note that Brainy getting beat up DID happen in Peyo’s original Smurf comics.

  3. As Misthiocracy said, the Peyo comics had plenty of artistic integrity. That’s why this is painful, not because the cartoon was any good.

    • I like the Peyo comics and am glad to see comments sticking up for them. And I think it’s fair to say that in adapting Peyo relatively faithfully at first and using the classy soundtrack, Hanna-Barbera was doing a more ambitious project than usual for them. But that went out the window eventually, as it always does.