They've been around for over 50 years, but for the first time they're coming to our world. The Smurfs, the little blue people from comics and TV, are getting three-dimensional in a live-action/computer-animated feature film. Watch the exclusive teaser trailer, introduced by star Neil Patrick Harris, for a first look at the new digital Smurfs, then keep reading to find out how they end up in modern-day New York City.
In the original comic strips by Peyo, and later on the animated TV show, the Smurfs lived in a European setting during the Middle Ages. The movie begins in the same era, but the Smurfs' arch-enemy Gargamel (played by Hank Azaria) invades their village and sends them running. According to director Raja Gosnell ("Scooby-Doo"), some of the Smurfs stumble into a secret part of the forest where "there's a magical portal that transports them to Central Park."
Lost in Manhattan, the Smurfs -- Papa, Clumsy, Grouchy, Brainy, Gutsy, and Smurfette -- find a couple of human friends (Harris and "Glee" star Jayma Mays) who take them in. They look for a way home, but Gargamel also crosses into our world to track them down.
From the teaser trailer, it's apparent that the look of the computer-generated Smurfs is very faithful to the originals. They're blue-skinned, though with a textured, fuzzy-looking skin tone the cartoons couldn't capture. And of course they have their signature floppy hats (with Papa Smurf in red). He's not shown in the trailer, but photos of Azaria in costume as Gargamel have surfaced, and he also looks the part. He's bald, with prosthetic ears and a nose, and he's wearing a black robe and red shoes exactly like the animated version.
In addition to the human actors -- Sofia Vergara from "Modern Family" also plays a role -- the Smurfs are voiced by a wide range of comedic talents. Legendary standup Jonathan Winters plays Papa Smurf, George Lopez is Grouchy, "SNL's" Fred Armisen is Brainy, and Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman) voices Jokey Smurf. Plus, pop superstar Katy Perry makes her movie debut as the voice of Smurfette.
"The Smurfs" will be smurfing their way onto the big screen on August 3, 2011.
An interesting approach. It definitely is interesting, and it probably has the most potential. I think they could have done a lot in the medieval times, but bringing the characters to present times and big cities has worked well for Alvin and the Chipmunks and Scooby Doo (and slightly for Garfield).
Plus giving the film the Scooby Doo director is almost guaranteed a hit.