We've been able to speculate for a while now, but a press release from Sony confirms that the plot of The Smurfs will be very smurfamiliar to moviegoers who've seen Enchanted, Masters of the Universe (and its clone, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time), Fat Albert, Howard the Duck, and probably many other such "clever" films involving characters who transport from their dimension to modern-day Earth.
This time, the little blue guys are chased out of their village by Gargamel (Hank Azaria) and "tumble" into New York City, where they befriend Neil Patrick Harris. Here's the official wording, just because I want you to read the Big Apple line:
Audiences everywhere are in for a Smurfy good time as the Smurfs make their first 3D trip to the big screen. When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world and into ours – in fact, smack dab in the middle of Central Park. Just three apples high and stuck in the Big Apple, the Smurfs must find a way to get back to their village before Gargamel tracks them down.
Hopefully Gutsy Smurf (Alan Cumming) winds up attacking a bus, mistaking it for a dragon as if this is yet another version of the French comedy Les Visiteurs (remade in Hollywood as Just Visiting), while another Smurf falls in love with a human (Harris, Jayma Mays and Sofia Vergara are all known possibilities). The recyclable scenarios are endless, I tell you.
Sony's release also provide us with a casting update, informing us that young actor Anton Yelchin is voicing the part of Clumsy Smurf and Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen will be heard as Brainy Smurf. The former has not done work like this before, but he's clearly great at doing voices, as indicated by his spot-on impressions of Walter Koenig-as-Chekov for the Star Trek reboot and Michael Biehn-as-Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation. Armisen, on the other hand, has voiced characters in Adult Swim cartoons and the video game Grand Theft Auto IV.
Those two join fellow Smurf portrayers Jonathan Winters (Papa Smurf), Katy Perry (Smurfette), George Lopez (Grouchy Smurf) and Cumming. No mention of Kevin James, credited on IMDb as Hefty Smurf in Sony's announcement. Beverly Hills Chihuahua director Raja Gosnell is directing.
The Smurfs, which began shooting in NYC last Friday, will now hit 3D screens on August 3, 2011.