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Blue Gnome-Like Creatures, Neil Patrick Harris, and the Limits Of The Ironic Reboot

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.

HT: /Film

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24 comments

  • I’m with you 100% on the whole tongue-in-cheek approach most the the remakes(?) have taken. I do believe Brady Bunch started it and since it was the first, I enjoyed it. Few movies have been able to do the same. A-Team I feel was really well done. They used the characters and premise, but made it a fun, hardcore action flick. I don’t know if they could have made this better or not, but I will say the trailer looks better than I thought it was going to. Still won’t see it in the theater.

  • Yikes! All the Smurfs make me think of is this sub in high school who looked just like Gargamel, and that’s what we called him and he hated it.

    I do love NPH, but maybe not enough to see this.

  • Meh. Wait a year and it’ll be on TV.

    If they’re going to do a send up, it should be Jonny Quest! That show had everything – monsters, action, cool flying cars and jetpacks. Yeah, I know the CGI dog they’d do would suck, but so what.

  • Why is EVERY “fish out of water” movie in New York City?

    And the “Land of the Land” movie is a good example of insulting fans with a tongue-in-cheek remake.

  • I think it’s actually quite good. Don’t forget this movie is aimed at kids, not ironic geeks. The animations aren’t as creepy as the Tintin movie and the jokes are really cute (like the part where they’re in front of the Blue Man Group sign and one of them goes “Try to blend in”).

  • I’m going to have to agree with Peter1 here. As much as we’d like to think that the people who made this movie really care about ironic geeks suffering from a severe case of nostalgia, this is a kids movie, and, as kids movies go, it looks pretty good. Some of the jokes are even pretty funny.

    I do have to agree that the “(insert character here)in New York” trope is getting kind of old, but I don’t think this movie is really as “ironic” as you think. It’s just silly because, well, kids are silly, and they like silly things.

  • I’m almost 100% sure that this movie is absolute smurf. I know it’s going to be smurf. But, smurf, I kind of want to see it.

    It’d probably be a much better picture if it had been done earnestly as the next Dreamworks or Pixar story only with Smurfs, the whole mixing of annoying little CG creatures with live action is a cheap cop-out (the CG creatures are for the kids and the real people are for the parents so both audiences end up with half a movie to enjoy) and the cartoons in the real world thing was done to perfection in ‘Enchanted’ not long enough ago to do it again but with Smurfs.

    But I still kind of want to see it. Don’t get me wrong, nothing will get me to see the thing before I can watch it in the comfort of my own home for little or no money and preferably a little bit drunk and stuffed with junk food but I do still kind of want to see it.

    And that makes me want to smurf myself. And by “smurf” I mean “kill”, that was clear right?

  • “As much as we’d like to think that the people who made this movie really care about ironic geeks suffering from a severe case of nostalgia, this is a kids movie,”

    The problem is that movies like this, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield, Shrek, etc are trying to turn kids into ironic geeks so that they’re more primed to buy into ironic geek marketing campaigns when they’re older.

    Putting the Smurfs in NYC is just the cherry on top of the shit sundae.

  • The only thing that really concerns me here is that there was enough Rule-34 Smurfette content out there. Now that they have Katy Perry voicing her? That’s just going to draw in a whole new realm of stuff…I shudder (and not in a good way) to even think about it.