Thursday, October 13, 2011

REVIEW: The Smurfs Movie Grab 'Ems Grouchy Smurf

Produced by Jakks Pacific | Released August 2011

Grouchy Smurf never agrees with anyone or anything. He starts almost all of his sentences with ''I hate...'' Originally he was happy as any other Smurf. He only smurfed into a grumbler when he was stung by the Bzzz fly. He only likes flowers and Baby Smurf, but he doesn't like people knowing this.

The Smurfs Movie Grab 'Ems Grouchy Smurf
Following the release of The Smurfs (in 3D) earlier this year, Jakks Pacific produced a number of licensed products to tie-in with the movie, among them these very cute Movie Grab 'Em Smurfs. Retailing at around $3 and featuring limited articulation, they're solidly-made, clearly designed-for-children toys yet, for all that, there's actually a little more here than you'd expect.

Grouchy-Ass Smurf, as my wife insists on calling him, was a gift she purchased for me, knowing my love of toys and that he'd make for a great Review. I just wonder what else she was thinking when she chose Grouchy Smurf over all the other available figures...

The packaging is eye-catching enough and features - as you'd expect - a Smurf-blue graphical theme. Whilst the front is functional, the rear of the pack features some pretty good detail, with an expanded photo of the toy along with a ''Collect Them All'' graphic showing the other figures in the line.

Personally I'd have preferred to see a character biography or a brief description of who Grouchy Smurf is, but given that these toys are aimed at a younger audience (or those who've already seen the movie) it's not that big a deal.

Sculpt and Design
Grouchy Smurf uses what I guess is a standard body-type. I don't have any other Movie Grab 'Em Smurfs at hand to compare it to but I'd say it was a safe bet to assume this to be the case.

What could have been a fairly simplistic sculpt hides a few cool details. His pants have a seam along one side, as does his hat, which features some nicely sculpted creases and folds. The designers have done a great job of making his hat appear to be made from cloth and although the overall design of the figure is relatively simple, it's effective for what it is.

What's particularly great is the facial expression captured in this sculpt. Grouchy Smurf looks seriously,  well,  grouchy, with a wonderful ''don't be stupid'' scowl of contempt upon face. It's a credit to the designer that without knowing who he was, you'd be able to identify him from this expression, especially given how alike most Smurfs look. There's also a nice bit of asymmetry to the scowl, which adds a lot of character.

Articulation is very simple. The head, shoulders and hips feature single-plane rotation joints. Although I always like a lot of articulation with my figures, there's just about the minimum amount here to allow for a few poses and make him fun to play with. He can stand, hold a walking pose and sit (just) and that's pretty much it. But given that these figures are going to be bounced along the desktop when they walk or sat on the table during breakfast, it's not really that big a deal.

Sadly, my Grouchy Smurf's right hip joint seems to be misaligned and - as a result - his right leg sticks out somewhat when compared to the left. I don't know if this is a production issue or a design flaw but it's a shame to see it, although in fairness it doesn't affect the joint's operation in any way.

Grouchy Smurf's paintwork is simple but very cleanly applied. The edging around his pants and hat is flawless and his facial details of eyebrows and eyes are so cleanly applied that I initially thought it was some kind of tampo transfer (it's not.) There's a fair amount of detail to the eyes, which feature whites, irises and pupils and even a tiny ''light spot,'' all of which are applied with an incredible level of accuracy.

It may be simple but it's superbly applied.

Extras and Accessories
The basic, single carded Smurfs do not come with any extra pieces. I may be mistaken however, but I believe some of the larger play sets do include some accessories.

Final Thoughts
If you're the kind of collector who likes highly-articulated, multi-accessory, hard-edged or realistic collectible figures then you'll probably not see the appeal here. But if you like whimsical toys and simplistic designs (and the Smurfs!) or you've a sense of humour when it comes to your toys, you'll dig this. I personally still find myself grinning whenever I look at Grouchy Smurf's expression, despite owning this figure for some weeks now.

If you've a younger relative (or indeed if you're a fan yourself) who likes the Smurfs or you're looking to start a younger collector off with a new line of toys to collect then the Movie Grab 'Em Smurfs are an ideal choice. Very competitively priced, the basic figures retail at around $3, with larger play sets making ideal birthday and Christmas gifts for the young collector.

These toys clearly won't appeal to everybody but if you're a fan of The Smurfs then you really can't go wrong with one of these toys and - from what I've seen - Grouchy Smurf is the absolute stand-out of the line.

Cute and a lot of fun.

Sculpt and DesignB
Extras and Accessories N/A
Final ScoreB+

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  1. There is a Papa Smurf set i keep seeing at Toys R'Us i want to pick up but am waiting for it to go on "red tag" mark down lol.

  2. Hehe! Yeah, I don't think the movie was particularly well-received. Too bad, as these toys are fun.


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