Blue Gnome-Like Creatures, Neil Patrick Harris, and the Limits Of The Ironic Reboot
by Perry Michael Simon on May 25, 2011
I hesitate to post this.
But it has the key elements.
It has an old cartoon of which many of you have fond memories.
It has Neil Patrick Harris.
It has CGI animation with a wide range of celebrity voices you’ll know, from Katy Perry (!) to John Oliver, Jonathan Winters, Fred Armisen, Alan Cumming, and Paul Reubens.
So… here. The latest trailer for… oh, I can’t even say it.
Here’s the thing: I didn’t like the Smurfs, both because they were lame and because I was a little old for that kind of thing. (A lot old.) So you’d think I’d be fine with the idea that this movie makes fun of them, somewhat, with NPH telling them not to keep saying “Smurf” and sticking them in New York and doing the whole fish-out-of-water thing.
You’d be wrong, because I’m kind of tired of the whole take-a-pop-culture-icon-and-make-fun-of-it thing. I don’t know when this started — maybe it was “The Brady Bunch Movie,” which was, itself, fun — but, now, you can’t take an old cartoon or sitcom and make it new without coating it in hipsterish ironic humor. Oh, well, we don’t REALLY like the Smurfs. We think they’re as lame as YOU think they are. See, we’re just having fun with the very IDEA of a Smurfs movie. It’s, um, meta. Look, you either like it or you don’t. You’re either trying to make a good movie or there for the paycheck. I’d rather they took the characters and plunged them into a dark psychological thriller than do the wink-at-the-camera we’re-not-really-serious schtick. It’s played out.
Yet they don’t need me to show up. They need those of you who grew up with those blue mutants to buy tickets (at 3D prices, please), and bring your kids, too, because there’s merchandise to sell. And many people will surely see it on July 29th (although I assume most of you will be more likely to go see Cowboys and Aliens instead), and, who knows, it might be good. I’m doubtful, but miracles can happen. Plus, well, NPH can save practically anything.