Monday, January 2, 2017

The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol: Review by William Mortensen Vaughan

TitleThe Smurfs:  A Christmas Carol

My Rating****

Adaptation:  Featuring the voice of George Lopez as Grouchy Smurf

Date of Release:  Friday, September 9, 2011

Format:  DVD, animated, feature-length comedy

Is this adaptation reverent?  This adaptation is somewhat reverent, at least in regard to family loyalty.

Does it include the phrase "God bless us...?"  No.  Instead, Grouchy Smurf says he hates "Christmas; it only comes once a year!" 

Does it mention "God" or "Christ"?  Christ is only mentioned as part of the word "Christmas."

What does my wife think of it?  She's not a fan of the Smurfs.

How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens?  This adaptation does not follow the original novel very closely, although Grouchy Smurf has a change of heart with regard to Christmas after being visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past (Smurfette), Present (another Smurf), and Future (similar to the Reaper), and seeing that the survival of Smurf Village somehow hangs in the balance of his behavior.  He is not visited by anyone comparable to Jacob Marley.

One thing Grouchy Smurf hates about Christmas is that Papa Smurf always gives him a hat, when what he wants is a hang glider.  He finally discovers that Papa Smurf gives him hang gliders, in the form of Smurf hats.

This adaptation is a little disturbing, because Papa Smurf essentially drugs Grouchy Smurf against his will.  Papa Smurf mixes a potion with nutmeg and holly, to conjure up the Spirit of Christmas, to show Grouchy Smurf "the true meaning of Christmas," without any mention of the birth of Jesus Christ.  The conjured spirit appears in the form of a blue cloud, which flies around like Tinker Bell, and sneaks into Grouchy Smurf's nightcap; upon taking a sip from his mug, after the spirit enters it, Grouchy Smurf immediately falls asleep.

Then he wakes up in a two-dimensional dream world, where the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future appear to him.

When and where does this adaptation take place?  This adaptation takes place in Smurf Village when it is about to be invaded and pillaged by Gargamel.

Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel?  No.

Is this adaptation supernatural?  Yes, it features ghosts.

Is this adaptation "framed"?  Yes.  The story is shown in three-dimensional animation, but Grouchy Smurf dreams and sees visions of ghosts in two-dimensional animation.

How many original musical numbers and/or dance routines are included?  The show starts with a parade of Smurfs singing "Deck the Halls."  Later, Smurfs are shown playing an instrumental version of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" on various instruments.

How attractive is the visual art?  The three-dimensional, animated art is excellent! The two-dimensional art is good, too.  Usually, perhaps because of nostalgia, I prefer two-dimensional cartoons, but the three-dimensional animations in this film are superb!

How creative and instense are the transitions?  The transitions are adequate.

What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptation?
The most remarkable thing about this adaptation is perhaps the excellent use of both three- and two-dimensional animation!

What extras are included on the DVD?  Audio languages and subtitles are available in English, French, and Spanish.

Test your knowledge of this film by taking this quiz! 

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