Movie Review: Hollywood Defiles Another Childhood Memory with The Smurfs

I’ve had enough. For years, I’ve kept my mouth shut as Hollywood insiders, void of any quality original ideas, have dusted off classics of my childhood and recycled them into box office (fool’s) gold. For example, how many parents do you think will drag their tykes to The Smurfs on opening weekend to share a bit of their own childhood with their kid? Sure, the idea of sharing a generational bridging moment with one’s offspring is a nice thought, but is it honestly worth what is being risked?

No. It honestly isn’t. While the film does have some shining moments and cute instances, the bottom line is that this film makes a mockery of the childhood cartoon I grew up adoring. 90 percent of the action takes place with a handful of smurfs, (Papa, Clumsy, Grumpy, Brainy, Across the Pond Smurf and Katy Perry Smurf) get sucked into a wormhole headed towards New York City. These tiny blue men end up in the apartment of Doogie Howser and the quirky neat-freak from Glee. The group battle the evil Gargamel and Azrael and play Guitar Hero before jetting back to Smurf village and all things smurfy. Great right? Well, I guess. Fictional characters have proved New York City is very welcoming towards their kind (yep, Muppets Take Manhattan, I’m looking at you), but the fact that The Smurfs doesn’t even take place in Smurf Village is a shame.

But that’s Hollywood right?

Now let’s be honest for just a second and admit that we all realize that Hollywood is dead. The fact is that it is has been flat lining since the writer’s strike. However, is the death of the original idea a justified reason to tarnish the quality of the original pieces that we were once presented? I mean, the fact is that its honestly all we are being presented with. If you don’t believe me, check out these facts:

First, let’s start with a list of the top ten box office hits in a random year. I’ll choose 1981, due it it being the year I was born. Here are the top ten movies that year:

  1. Raiders of the Lost Ark*
  2. On Golden Pond^ (has been remade)
  3. Superman II ^ (has been remade)
  4. Arthur * (has been remade)
  5. Stripes*
  6. The Cannonball Run *
  7. Chariots of Fire*
  8. For Your Eyes Only^
  9. The Four Seasons* (has been remade)
  10. Time Bandits*

Now to be clear, the *’s represent movies in 1981 which were the result of original characters, thoughts and scripts. The remaining movies, which are marked with ^’s represent movies that came from comic books, plays, sequels, novels or remakes of a previous film. Notice that 7 of the top ten films released that year were from original scripts. That’s 70 percent. In any classroom, that is a passing grade.

Now, take a look at 2011 (as of today):

  1. Transformers: The Dark Moon^
  2. Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows: Part Two^
  3. The Hangover II^
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides^
  5. Fast Five^
  6. Thor^
  7. Cars 2^
  8. Bridesmaids*
  9. Kung Fu Panda 2^
  10. X-men: First Class^

Check that out. That ladies and gentlemen would be a 10 percent originality rating. Eight of those movies are sequels. Comic books and novels are mixed throughout. 1 of those 10 movies are not cookie cutter remixes, stapled together in much the same manner that Kanye West steals loops from Daft Punk. Sure, the original outline still remains, but that certainly doesn’t make it the same product.

It is time that we stand up and bitch about it. With remakes of The Evil Dead, Robocop, Child’s Play, Dune, Short Circuit and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the works, we are about to slam through a train wreck, slamming at full speed into our (my) childhood.

And when that train wreck hits 88 miles per hour…someone is going to remake Back to the Future. That can not happen. So, it is time for us as consumers to stick together and stop attending films like this. I mean, if I were Hollywood, I certainly wouldn’t yield from my current path of 350 million dollar movies without reason. So, give them reason. Make them change by breaking the bank books.

Stop rewarding their laziness. Start by skipping this film.

by Joshua Hammond

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