The Smurfs in 3D [Blu-Ray] Raja Gosnell

The Smurfs in 3D [Blu-Ray] Raja Gosnell
Thinking back on the filmography of director Raja Gosnell, whose work on Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Big Momma's House and Scooby Doo has inspired millions, I'm sure, I'd have to describe his particular vision as competent, lifeless, commercial and colourful. He isn't afraid to go for the broad sight gag with absolutely no perspective, nor does he have an aversion to building an entire scene around the flatulence of an animated character. He, like Michael Bay and Brett Ratner, embraces the product placement process without any self-consciousness, inserting static shots of products irrelevant to the story to ensure that warm-hearted corporations get their money's worth. And knowing that his target audience is soccer moms and their PB&J-eating spawn, he has no qualms about patronizing them with the most outdated and uncomfortable references, creating a veritable potpourri of exacerbated cultural vulgarity. Understanding this, the absolute monstrosity that is the feature-length adaptation of Belgian cartoon The Smurfs comes as no surprise, boasting sequences of animated characters fighting with toilets, getting trapped in outhouses and rapping to a Guitar Hero rendition of Aerosmith and Run DMC's "Walk this Way." Of course, this comes after the opening sequence, wherein Gargamel (Hank Azaria) discovers Smurf village, leaving Smurfette (Katy Perry), Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters), Clumsy (Anton Yelchin), Grouchy (George Lopez), Brainy (Fred Armisen) and Gutsy (Alan Cumming) – a Smurf that I don't believe existed in the original cartoon – to jump through a wormhole into the real world, where obvious fish-out-of-water gags ensue. Taking a cue from the similarly dreadful Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Smurfs encounter an artistically inclined corporate schmuck (Neil Patrick Harris), who learns a little bit about himself, while the Smurfs also learn a valuable lesson about discovering and utilizing your strengths. Weirdly, this message is extremely incongruent with the original cartoon, which was a masterpiece of communist thinking, positing the Smurfs as an ersatz community of impossible harmony and equality. Instead of assessing this notion, the feature-length film makes gags about Smurfette being the only female and the fact that Smurfs are named after their dominant personality traits. They also make statements like, "What the Smurf?" and "Who Smurfed?," substituting profanity and toilet humour for the accessible political didactic of the far superior original cartoon. In short, the entire thing is a misguided, thoughtless disaster, but at least it's in 3-D, so you can stare at the awkwardly animated Smurfs in an additional dimension. Also included with the Blu-Ray multipack are supplements on the voice actors and art design, along with some games that have an abundance of bugs. (Sony)