Smurfs: The Lost Village is wonderfully animated, the first good transposition of Peyo's 20th-century cartooning to 21st-century moviemaking. Moreover, it directly tackles the worst things about Smurfs—their creator's banal misogyny—in an effort to make of them a vehicle for progressive values rather than product placement. It has everything going for it.
Sadly, it's not much good. Read the rest
The one good review, from Variety's Scott Foundas, could not rescue Smurfs 2 from a weak domestic opening. But it's doing OK abroad, and its $150m production budget was reportedly covered in full by product placement. The advertising is incessant, say reviewers: from Gargamel's everpresent tablet PC to a duck that "urges a strolling couple to buy a Prius."
"This is basically stone-cold Sony product," writes Mike McCahill in The Guardian, a sentiment echoed by Steve Davis in the Austin Chronicle: "We’ve come a long way from Belgian comics artist Peyo’s original vision."
Which was, of course, crypto-Marxist utopianism. Read the rest
A smurf in the Andalusian village of Juzcar, near Malaga, southern Spain. Photo: REUTERS/Jon Nazca
In 2011, painters coated the picturesque Spanish village of Juzcar in the smurfiest blue they had, all to promote the tiny blue creatures' cinematic debut. This week the town decided to keep the paint job permanently, all thanks to the unexpected tourism boom it triggered. Read the rest
Some of Belgian artist Peyo's early drawings are headed to the auction house, where they are expected to fetch $160,000 or more. [Reuters] Read the rest