I personally have been smurfing The Smurfs feature-film adaptation, officially titled The Smurfs 3-D, since the announcement by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation back in January of 2008. The first behind-the-scenes rendered images of the CGI Smurfs came out this past December.
The feature-film Smurfs is being smurfed by Raja Gosnell (Scooby Doo, Slither) and the script was smurfed by David Stern and David Weiss (Shrek 2, Shrek 3). Today we have a smurfy look at the first teaser poster for The Smurfs 3-D, then below that some behind the smurf stills with the unfinished wire animation. Take a smurf for yourself:
Image from pvcblue.com (click to enlarge)
The Smurfs, or Les Schtroumpfs as they were called in the Netherlands, have been around since the fantastical mind of Belgian cartoonist Pierre Culliford (or Peyo as he was known) originally thought them up in 1958. In 1981, Hanna & Barbera started producing The Smurfs animated TV series for NBC and didn't stop until 1992, but not before making over 250 episodes. The Smurfs have a far-reaching appeal across the world and are currently in some form of syndication in 30 countries. Read more on their history over at the official Smurf website.
Now, before you go slamming this film all to pieces, let's consider some of the people involved with this project. Director Raja Gosnell has proven himself to be very solid and dependable behind the camera, and his work with the first Scooby Doo was outstanding - I do not blame him for the acting "talents" of Freddy Prince Jr. The CGI in that film was well-employed, and makes me think he'll demand the same quality from Sony Pictures Animation.
The writers are solid as well, with both Stern and Weiss working on The Rugrats Movie and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, which were both good kids films in their own right. No reason why they would under-deliver with a Smurfs script. There hasn't been any voice actors confirmed for the project yet, but John Lithgow and Julia Sweeney are rumored to be in the cast. I can see Lithgow either doing the voice of PaPa Smurf or putting on the black wizard's robe as Gargamel.
If you are concerned with how the Smurf actually looks on that promo poster, remember it's a three dimensional rendering and not a two dimensional drawing. Look at the model "Peyo" used to draw from in 1958, does it look familiar? I think Gosnell and SPA have hit the nail on the head when it comes to the Smurf look.
I may not be excited to see The Smurf film as an adult, but as a parent with kids, the idea appeals to me very much. Both of my kids really enjoyed the Garfield movie, and if the Smurfs 3-D is done even remotely the same way, then it should do very well when it is released next year. I picked up the complete first season of The Smurfs TV show on DVD last year, and it quickly became a favorite staple in my daughter's cartoon viewing agenda. Right now, however, she's watching Tom & Jerry, and since both properties were produced by Hanna & Barbera, and with Robert Rodriguez set to direct The Jetsons next year, there's no reason why we couldn't see a Tom & Jerry live-action CGI movie in the near future.
So what do you think of The Smurfs 3-D movie? Does it have the chance of becoming a good family/kids film that parents would also enjoy or would you rather see a Smurfs: Hardcore feature-length film?
The Smurfs 3-D smurfs it way into theaters December 17th, 2010.