I have the utmost respect for anyone who gets a movie onto the screens here in the US. I really do. I’ve come close a couple of times, so I know the seemingly insurmountable challenge of getting one over the line. So whenever I see a billboard for a new film opening, I quietly salute the effort. Brother and sister film makers, I feel you.
However one billboard has gone up recently that my sense of filial filmdom just can’t wrap its arms around.
Really? The fucking Smurfs?
It’s not that I don’t like the Smurfs. Or didn’t I should say. They were the hottest thing in the world when I was in primary school. If you didn’t have your plastic Smurfs to bring to the sandbox, then don’t even bother rocking up to school. To be Smurfless in 5th grade was a fate worse than having your head flushed in the toilet or being made to wear some outfit on Mufti Day dreamed up by your mother than involved tights. Actually, maybe a no Smurf situation might rank 2nd.
But that was in 1980. 19, 80. 31 years ago.
So what the Smurf are these little blue rats doing in a new film in 2011? In 3-D?
This is the state of American film culture. Studios have dug so far down to the bottom of the barrel that the last stop before daylight was the land of Smurfs.
I’m not opposed to a remake, re-imagining, reboot, sequel etc per se. I’ve loved the new Star Trek, the first Pirates of the Caribbean and Chris Nolan’s Batmans. But for every one of those there’s a hundred Dukes of Hazards, Hawaii 5-0s and Taking of Pelham 123s.
However for every new microwaved idea that I hear is being developed, there is the writer in me that goes, you know, this could be OK. I see where they might go with this.
But the Smurfs? Who is supposed to go and see it? Was the rest of the world waiting for this film and I didn’t get the memo.
It can’t be aimed at teenagers, they’ve never heard of them. For anyone seeing them for the first time, Smurfs look a little 70s and French. But not in any kind of good ironic way.
Is it supposed to be my generation who are now grown up and want to introduce their children to the joys and wonders of the characters I grew up with? Are you kidding? Do you really think that any parent is going to convince their kids to come and see this when there’s Transformers posters taking over every building in town?
But let’s cut to it. What was so great about them the first time round that anyone thought they were worth bringing back? They were a trite 2-D cartoon; 2-D morals, 2-D storylines, 2-D originality. We only watched them on Saturday mornings because G-Force was over and the video shows hadn’t started yet.
I haven’t read a single review of the film yet, but you know that the only thing 3-D in it is going to be the projector. I can pretty much predict that it’s not going to be the next Toy Story.
So try as I might, I can’t put my hands together for whatever this little blue horror show is going to be.
Instead, I’d like to offer a few other ideas for reboots that all would have been a lot more fun to watch starring the blue bastards:
Shrek VS the Smurfs – When the big green guy finds the little blue people in his backyard, he decides that they are pests and they have to be got rid of. Problem is that they didn’t reckon on Weng Chu Smurf, the one in the cool leather jacket. He rallies the Smurfs together, teaches them all martial arts, raises an army that leaves every fairy tale creature in a pile of broken bones. They blow up the donkey, send the cat and the Princess packing and we finish up with them doing formation blue kung fu moves on the castle citadels.
The Smurf and the Furious – The Smurfs are the baddest car thieves on the planet. They rip off cars like it’s going out of style. With ten manning the steering wheel, ten on the accelerator and none on the brake, we speed through randomly chosen far-flung locations where they run over talking models, machine gun gang bangers and get to wear the entire Diesel wardrobe. But just the jeans. With holes for tales. But lots of chains and chunky jewelry. Lady Smurf is the bomb expert, Papa Smurf has seen it all and Sexually Ambiguous Smurf plays the monotone lead.
Requiem for a Smurf – The Smurfs discover the big city and decide that they’re going to stay and be stars. After an initial rush of interest and product endorsements, and a few iTunes hits with the Chipmunks the little blue things fall victim to drugs. They end up dealing and making some cash till they all start using again. A few lose some limbs, Papa Smurf’s in a mental home and we end on a tragic note with Lady Smurf turning tricks to afford junk.
Seriously, under every billboard for this film, there’s a hundred better screenplays in the trash cans. Please, please, please let this be the last shitty remake.
Oh wait, Battleship is coming in 2012. Based on the board game. What the smurf?