School holidays are fast approaching and most parents are thinking about school holiday activities to keep their little cherubs happy. Well, you could do a lot worse than a trip to see The Smurfs which has a few little stars of its own - only they're blue.
I took a posse of four kids: a nine year old girl, two seven year old boys and a four year old princess to see how my old favourite characters from the Seventies held up to today's far more sophisticated kids. The good news is: suprisingly well. The storyline was a bit stretched for my liking (I prefer my Smurfs to stay in their own world rather than downtown New York but I did warn you I'm old school). My gang weren't concerned about the crossover of reality to fantasy in the least.
I found the subplot of the advertising campaign a bit contrived, too, but bearable due to Sofia Vergara's (of TV's Modern Family fame) performance. I also enjoyed seeing Jayma Mays from Glee on the big screen and thought she and Neil Patrick Harris played a cute couple on the brink on parenthood. I must be getting soft in my old age as I did like the life lesson of Papa Smurf's parenting style being taken up and it didn't make the kids cringe so the film must have hit just the right pitch there.
Hank Azaria is almost unrecognisable as the evil wizard and transitioned well into the real world with just enough slap stick to have the children screaming with laughter one moment but gasping in horror at other moments. However, I think he was upstaged by the cat but I'll let you be the judge of that.
This is one of the few kids' movies that I would recommend you watch in 3D. I usually steer clear of 3D as my four year old can't keep the glasses on and ends up squinting throughout a two hour movie. Cinemas have risen to the cause and now provide child sized glasses which makes this much more practicable - or maybe she's just growing up? The film puts the 3D to good use and it is the first time I have been impressed by the extra dimension since Avatar's effects blew me away.
The movie ticks the boxes. I felt my old friends were well represented and the children all came away with their own favourite Smurfs. The little princess' favourite? Smurfette, natch. She's her mother's daughter.