Culture - August 2011
Director Raja Gosnell Voices Katy Perry, Alan Cumming, Jonathan Winters
Everyone’s favourite small blue creatures made their first appearance in 1958, created by Belgian cartoonist Pierre Culliford (pen name Peyo) after a raucous weekend with a friend took its toll and they ended up talking to each other in ‘Smurf’ language.
Since then, Peyo’s Smurfs have become ubiquitous in modern culture. As well as a popular animated series in the 1980s, two types of cereal and a brand of pasta have been made by the Smurfs. In 2008 a Belgian €5 coin commemorated their 50th anniversary, and in 2009 it was no time at all before the blogosphere had nicknamed James Cameron’s Avatar ‘Dances with Smurfs’ and ‘Smurfahontas’.
Now, the Smurfs are starring in their first 3D adventure. A blend of CGI and live action, with a script by the writers of the Shrek sequels, the film sees the poor Smurfs chased out of their magical village by the evil Gargamel (played by Hank Azaria) and into real-life New York. It seems a ‘blue movie’ could be a box-office winner this summer…
Facing Up: A Remarkable Journey to the Summit of Mount Everest
By Bear Grylls
At the age of 23, Bear Grylls became the youngest Briton to reach the summit of Everest – two years after breaking his back in a parachuting accident. Now the TV adventurer has written about his journey, overcoming severe weather, fatigue, dehydration and illness to scale the world’s highest mountain.
Given the fact that Grylls’ TV shows have modest names like Born Survivor, it’s fair to approach this account of his journey with a hint of trepidation – but he recounts his experiences in a brisk, honest and often humorous style that doesn’t pause for ego-stroking. Grylls isn’t interested in writing about the power of man, but rather the power and presence of the mountain. In that sense, this book can only be regarded as a success.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
I’m With You
The first band to master fusing the sex and machismo of punk-rock with the soul and sway of funk, The Red Hot Chili Peppers were one of the alt-rock bands of the 1980s and 90s, before their populist Californication (1999) period made them global superstars.
Their 10th album comes after a five-year break, and offers our first chance to assess the sonic impact that a new lead guitarist will have on the group – after Josh Klinghoffer was drafted in to replace the beloved bohemian John Frusciante early last year.
Following the 28-track prog blowout that was Stadium Arcadium, the Chilis have swung in the other direction with I’m With You, going for a style that sounds heavily influenced by The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St and Tattoo You. Klinghoffer’s involvement has brought a more collaborative approach, with Anthony Kiedis playing a more central role in composition. It may be another departure in a side-winding career, but Chilis fans are right to be excited.
Cary Fukunaga’s modern reworking of Jane Eyre, with Mia Wasikowska in the lead role and the in-demand Michael Fassbender as Mr Rochester, looks set to get pulses racing in early September An eagerly awaited study of entrepreneurialism in the internet age, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is out mid September No one has consistently remade modern pop like Björk; new album Biophilia is out at the end of September