When I first heard that there was going to be a live-action movie version of The Smurfs, my first reaction was, “Why?” I mean, I understood why any movie gets green-lighted – money. I also knew that every other franchise from the 70’s and 80’s have been remade into a movie during the past decade. So I knew the logic behind the movie, but there are two huge factors that make me ponder the specific question, “Why now?” Those factors are the economic climate, and the political climate.
It’s the latter that concerns me the most. As much as I want to avoid politics in my blog, I do feel the need to educate and illuminate the masses. First of, for the apolitical, the Tea Party is a political movement in the US that not only has an unhealthy hatred of President Obama, but an irrational loathing of socialism. (Except for things that they don’t realize is socialism, but I don’t want to go there.) I’m fairly positive that almost all Tea Party members remember the 1980’s in general, and the Smurfs in particular. But for those that are too young and/or too indifferent, the Smurfs were created by a Belgian comic artist named Peyo back in 1958. The Smurfs live in a small, isolated village which works as a cooperative. Since they are set in Medieval Europe, it’s no surprise that their society resembles a feudalistic one. Except that the Smurfs do not use paper or gold based currency. The closest things they have to money is perhaps smurfberries. This means that even if it is unintentional (because after all,it is a comic geared toward children), their economy is a lot closer to communism or socialism.
As a GenXer who grew up in the 80’s, I watched the cartoon religiously every Saturday morning on NBC. But even as a kid, I had an inkling that something was askew. Like for example, the 99:1 male-to-female ratio. That being said, even I do not believe all the criticism that has been leveled against Peyo and his creation. Critics that have accused the Smurfs as being too Marxist, Stalinist, or racist are not different from critics that have over-analyzed other children’s’ programs such as Sesame Street, The Teletubbies, or Dora the Explorer. I am not so jaded and cynical (yet) to believe that there are sinister, subliminal messages in these children’s shows that promote a certain social or political agenda. I find that notion too far-fetched. Yet, certain outspoken self-proclaimed members of the Tea Party have expressed more far-fetched notions in print and on television. So the big surprise to me, given the frenzied, conspiracy theory fueled climate in which we live, is that the Tea Party or a similar conservative and/or libertarian based group has not protested the latest 3D movie. Although, looking at all of the critical reviews of the film, it may not be necessary after all.