For those of us in our 20s and 30s, we can reminisce about our childhoods and the Saturday morning cartoon we use to watch, but that wasn’t the beginning of the “Smurfs.” No, they got their start in Belgium by a cartoonist named Peyo in 1958. It has gone through many different mediums and alterations over the years, but it came to America in 1981 in the form of a cartoon show made by “Hanna-Barbara” (which also made “The Flintstones,” “The Jetsons” and “Scooby-Doo”).
Sony Pictures Animation and Columbia Pictures are making a live action/computer-generated feature film that is bringing our favorite little blue buddies back .. and to the big screen this time. This project has been in development since 2002, and has hit a few snags along the way. The release date has been pushed back at least two times, with the current release date set as August 2011.
The basic story is that Sophie and her brother Sam discover that the “doll” their father brought home from Belgium is an actual living Smurf, Clumsy Smurf to be exact. After trying to make him part of the family, they realize the only way to make him truly happy is to find a way to reunite him with his fellow Smurfs. Also, we can’t forget everybody’s favorite wacky villain, Gargamel, who is the main antagonist in what is supposed to be a trilogy of movies exploring his background and his interaction with the Smurfs. Now this is just a basic plotline, since not many details have been released so far about the movie. It’s currently being filmed in New York and from what I gather, a lot of it is going to take place in and around Central Park.
Now, you can’t help to compare it to “Alvin and the Chipmunks” or even “Scooby-Doo” (let’s hope its closer to the former rather than the latter) and you have to ask yourself: Does this group of characters have what it takes to support a big wide-released movie? Well, from what I’ve seen, there are still tons of fan sites and blogs dedicated to spreading the “blue love.” There is also lots of merchandise out there as well, such as vintage T-shirts, action figures, DVDs and even seen Smurfs bobbleheads. So, will the people who grew up on “The Smurfs” bring their children to see this film, or even just go for their own amusement? I think so. “Alvin in the Chipmunks” proved characters don’t have to be currently relevant to make the movie a hit.
At first, the thought of this movie didn’t intrigue me very much, but then I started looking at the list of actors who are either going to be in the movie or voice one of the Smurfs and couldn’t help getting a little bit more excited. Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays will play some of the humans, while the list of who will voice the Smurfs is impressive: George Lopez, Katy Perry, Kevin James, Hank Azaria, Jonathan Winters, Alan Cumming and Anton Yelchin. More and more names are being added to this list, so I hope that the script is up to the task to let these funny actors do what they do best: make us laugh.
So, will you want to see this film, and if you had the choice what cartoon/show from your youth would you want to see make it to the big screen?
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