July 22, 2010 by Chris Reynolds
You read correctly. If you haven’t already heard, the Smurfs are hitting the big screen in August of next year. Take a moment, if you will, to watch this.
So, as you can see from the teaser, the Sony film will be live action, minus the smurfs and their village. According to IMDB the little blue tree-dwellers are brought to our world by their classic nemesis, Gargamel, played by Hank Azaria (Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian).
According to a USA Today article Gargamel is not interested in eating the smurfs, as he was in the cartoon. The filmmakers decided that idiom wouldn’t be very family friendly. This already shows bad signs of tampering-with-a-classic, which is a class-A felony in my book. Not to mention it will certainly turn away fans of the original.
Another change, which is evident in the trailer, is the location swap, from the mid-evil type world of the cartoon to the modern world of NYC. It seems to me this is the city many animation-based live-action movies go to die. Not to mention it is not terribly original.
There are some good points however. The casting is one aspect of this movie that makes me smile. Aside from the appearance of Azaria, there are some familiar voices behind blue faces. Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) plays Clumsy Smurf, who leads a group of them into a portal to NYC. In this group is the bearded Papa Smurf, played by voice actor for the original TV show, Jonathan Winters, and Grouchy Smurf, played by George Lopez (Valentines Day).
This line up is only trumped by the lucky girl who gets to play the only female Smurf in the clan. Singer Katy Perry will lend her voice to the lovely and squeaky Smurfette… Interesting.
Oh and did I mention Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met your Mother) will be in it? Legen… wait for it… DARY! Harris and his on-screen wife Jayma Mays (Mall Cop) provide the Smurfs with a place to lay low while they try to find their way home, according to USA Today.
I have mixed feelings about this production. It seems to be twisting and changing a beloved cartoon to become a modernized seller. But at the same time the casting interests me. Not to mention director Raja Gosnell (Scooby Doo) has experience in adding CGI animation to real world sets. Lets just hope this one does a bit better.
What do you think? Is this movie a good idea? Would you have done it differently? And how about this cast?