Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nothing Can Be Spared

I heard some time ago that there is a Smurfs movie in pre-production somewhere.
Having long-since exhausted the imaginations of every screenwriter on the planet, an ever art-conscious Hollywood must make every effort to entertain us all in these trying times -- Mostly by slaughtering every childhood cartoon memory people of my generation have.
I used to wake up at 6:30 CST on Saturdays to catch the Godzilla cartoon. I've made special effort to avoid downloading that show since I fear it has not stood up to the test of "Timeless Classic-ness", but Matthew Broderick went ahead and overwrote most of my feelings about the monster in 1998 anyway.
The Dungeons and Dragons cartoon show spent almost a full season making me happy about the great mainstreaming of the game itself which happened around the same time. I knew even as a child that the show was too campy for the gritty and awesome parts of the game itself, but I enjoyed the fact that they made the show at all. Not even Jeremy Irons could save the movie adaptation. I will give them credit for The Dragons of Autumn Twilight, though. It is a cartoon, as it should be, and too harsh for children, which it also should be. I think mine is one of four copies ever actually sold.
I should also admit that the movie adaptation of Josie and the Pussycats is filled with win.
Scooby Doo can also be added to the list of abused cartoon into film conversions, since "updating" involved the addition of bathroom humor and the removal of all the drug references. Wait. Maybe they added drug references. I'm not sure, but I'll admit to being drunk while watching both the movies and the cartoon. Recently.
Casper the Friendly Ghost was also brought into the grim reality of the latter part of the last century by going into the back story of the main character. Somewhere deep in the back of every cartoon viewer's mind, we knew Casper was a dead kid, but we repressed the thought and concentrated on what he was doing "in the now". Any movie which focuses on the "dead kid" aspect is not true to the escapist nature of all cartoons.
But I was talking about Smurfs. Like I am known to do.
While not predisposed to hating on the mere concept of a film adaptation, I will confess a bit of trepidation at the thought. There are a lot of things which should be done and even more which should not.
The filmmakers should finally address the exact nature of Smurf biology, putting to rest (except for the cartoon canon purists) the endless debate about the subject among our more pharmaceutically inclined populace. We all know that Gargamel created Smurfette, but that does not mean that she is the first female of the species. More likely she is the first of an entirely new physiologically similar species. The film is an opportunity to answer these question once and for most.
The film should not update the Smurfs to modern times, either, because part of the charm of the original series was the interaction with the feudal human society which lived nearby. If the human character (and don't doubt there will be at least one) is some career-driven advertising executive who comes to learn the value of friendship and loyalty, you can bet I'm going to freak right out.
The latest news I have is that the Smurf movie is currently not CGI, or at least not entirely. It will be primarily live action.
This is wrong. Let me tell you why:

There is a possibility the film will feature real-live people and CGI Smurfs. This technique has been used in films with great critical acclaim such as Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield and Garfield Two: A Tail of Two Kitties.
This might work, but only if they set the movie in the proper time period and answer all the Smurf reproductive questions. And possibly if they come up with some explanation of how the word "Smurf" came to mean so many things in the Smurf language without some misunderstanding plunging the whole society into a brutal war at some point.
Even if they do that, if some "making of" show comes out where Tom Cruise is complaining about sitting for six hours every morning while the makeup crew paints his torso blue I'm going to Belgium to wire the ground around the grave of Pierre Culliford so that his spinning can create sustainable power and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. At least that way some good can come of this.

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