The Smurfs is a 2011 American 3D live-action/computer-animated comedy film loosely based on The Smurfs comic book series of the same name created by the Belgian comics artist Peyo and the 1980s animated TV series it spawned.
It was directed by Raja Gosnell and stars Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays and Sofía Vergara, with Jonathan Winters and Katy Perry as the voices of Papa Smurf and Smurfette. It is the first CGI/live-action hybrid film produced by Sony Pictures Animation and in The Smurfs duology. During early production, the film was known as The Smurfs Movie. The film had its worldwide premiere on June 16, 2011, in Júzcar, a small village in Spain, and released on July 29, 2011 by Columbia Pictures.
A sequel, titled The Smurfs 2, was released on July 31, 2013, then a third movie which was a fully animated reboot entitled Smurfs: The Lost Village released in April 2017 and in March 25 of 2017 in Georgia.
Evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) has plagued the happy, peaceful Smurfs for a very long time. Finally, he succeeds in chasing the little blue people from their village and through a magic portal -- which transports them to Manhattan and into the life of ad executive Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris). Only three apples high and lost in the Big Apple, the Smurfs (Jonathan Winters, Alan Cumming, Katy Perry) must find a way back to their world before Gargamel tracks them down.
- Many poor attempts at humor throughout the entire film.
- Very poor grasp of the source material. For instance, in the source material, the stories take place in a forest somewhere in Europe during Medieval times. But while the beginning does still take place in the forest where the Smurfs live, most of the scenes in this movie afterwards take place in New York City during the present day instead.
- False advertising: Instead of being focused on the Smurfs who are the main characters and getting a fair amount of screen time, the film mainly focuses on Patrick Winslow (played by Neil Patrick Harris), who is an advertising executive coming to grips with being a father.
- Shameless product placement, such as a quick cameo of Guitar Hero, PlayStation 3 and spending a good portion of the movie in FAO Schwarz.
- Many lines of dialogue overuse the "Smurf" word, which can get tedious after a while.
- The film's premise rips off of various films, most notably Enchanted, Fat Albert and Masters of the Universe.
- Numerous plot holes.
- Papa Smurf being afraid of onions for some unexplained reason.
- The Smurfs being more surprised at the fact that Grace Winslow (played by Jayma Mays) is wearing different clothes other than her being pregnant.
- When the Smurfs find a book of themselves in the library and finding Peyo (the creator of The Smurfs), so Peyo wrote a book of fictional creatures, yet not only do they exist in this film, nobody else seems to be aware of what they are.
- Papa Smurf destroys Gargamel's dragon wand and threw it in a lake, but in the mid-credits scene, Gargamel still has the wand unbroken.
- When the Smurfs were escaping Gargamel at one part, Papa Smurf stayed behind purposely to get captured, when he could’ve just escaped with the other Smurfs.
- Pop culture references, such as Smurfette making a rather unneeded to her voice actress, Katy Perry, by saying "I kissed a Smurf, and I liked it!", and the corner rap scene involving the Smurfs while Patrick is playing Guitar Hero.
- The infamous scene where Gargamel urinates in a bucket.
- Ugly, creepy, semi-realistic, bizarre, uncanny, and out of place character designs for the Smurfs due to the fact that the Smurfs are barely meant to look realistic.
- The "la, la, la-la-la-la" song is super annoying and it can easily get on your nerves. The smurfs never stop singing it. They even hum it, which is also annoying, and Patrick Winslow is right. It can get a tiny bit annoying. He tries to tell them, but they ignore him except for Grouchy, which is mean-spirited.
- Speaking of which, there is also some mean-spirited moments, such as a lot of Smurfs not inviting Clumsy to the Blue Moon dance and take him with them to find a book to send them home.
- The characters are quite predictable and cliche. Sometimes you know that Patrick Winslow is gonna start out hating and by the end of the film liking them, and sometimes you know Clumsy is going to have an arc about proving himself.
- Despite the movie focusing more on Patrick Winslow, the title characters do get a great amount of focus.
- Some good humor:
- Hank Azaria is hilarious as Gargamel.
- The only other funny line was when The Smurfs are going to bed and say "I miss all the other Smurfs", One says "I miss Vanity Smurf", another says "I miss Lazy Smurf", they are all agreeing, then one says "I don't miss Passive-Aggressive Smurf", and they all agree "he's really friendly but then you walk away feeling bad for some reason".
- Another possible funny one would be whenever Gargamel would throw his cat Azrael somewhere and say "Azrael, are you dead?" and when Gargamel got hit by the bus and makes Azrael say "Are you dead?" with subtitles and laughing.
- Some parts of the film are faithful to the source material:
- The beginning of the film still takes place in the same forest where the Smurfs live.
- Although the "la, la, la-la-la-la" song is super annoying, it's a throwback to the original Smurfs theme song.
- The way they used the creator of The Smurfs, Peyo, as a researcher for them was very clever, yet still hard to follow.
- The part when the Smurfs found the original Belgium comic of them is very neat.
- It does something new with a cliché because usually in stories like this, only one person sees the creature(s) and everyone else thinks he/she is crazy and it's really refreshing that it was a couple.
- Clumsy Smurf is a likeable character. In fact, nearly many of the Smurfs are still quite likeable.
- The voice acting for the Smurfs and the acting for the live-action cast are at least decent.
- Like any other Sony Pictures Animation movie, the CGI is great.
- Decent musical score by Heitor Pereira.
- Ready to Go is a great song.
- The movie Smurfs is the first known average movie franchise others being: Alvin And The Chipmunks and Scooby-Doo.
The Smurfs received generally negative reviews from critics and audiences. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 21% of 117 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 4.01/10. The site's critical consensus states, "The Smurfs assembles an undeniably talented cast of voice actors and live-action stars—then crushes them beneath a blue mound of lowest-common-denominator kiddie fare.". On Metacritic, the film has weighted a score of 30 out of 100, indicating, "generally unfavorable reviews," while IMDb has an average score of 5.4/10.
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