A Live-Action Adaptation of the Belgian comicbook The Smurfs, released on July 29, 2011. The story focuses on six of the Smurfs (Papa, Smurfette, Brainy, Gutsy, Clumsy and Grouchy) who get transported via a magical portal to modern day New York City after the evil wizard Gargamel manages to finally locate their village. Once there, they run into a young couple, Patrick and Grace Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays), who act as their Secret Keeper until they can figure out a way to return to their own world. Unfortunately, Gargamel and his cat Azrael have also managed to find their way through the portal, and his scheme of using the Smurfs' essence to make his magic dangerously powerful may come to fruition unless they can Smurf him back.The film is notable not only for being a Human-Focused Adaptation (though to a much lesser extent than you'd think from watching the previews), but also for containing some of the most brazen uses of Product Placement to date. It was intended to be the first in a trilogy of movies, with its first sequel released in 2013 and its second to be released in 2015. However, due to the performance of The Smurfs 2, Sony decided to cancel the third movie and instead reboot the series as an all-CGI animated movie series with its next movie coming out in 2015.The movie was released with The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol as part of the 3-disc DVD/Blu-Ray bundle.
Action Girl: Smurfette is mostly the chick as usual, but gets an impressive solo action scene against Azrael.
Adaptational Attractiveness: While not much of a difference due to prosthetics and makeup, Gargamel as played by Hank Azaria has a full set of teeth compared to his comic book and animated counterparts.
Aesop: Whole scads of them, delivered deadpan and with extra application of anvils.
Bad To The Bone: AC/DC's "Back In Black" plays when Patrick Winslow and the Smurfs pay a visit to Belvedere Castle to free Papa Smurf from Gargamel.
The Bechdel Test: Passes easily with the conversations between Smurfette and Grace.
Behind the Black: When Gargamel's at Riker Island, he noticed the moth he ordered to bring giant eagles to bail him out coming back . . . only for him to finally notice the huge swarm of flies when they appear on screen.
Be Yourself: Parodied, as the Smurfs are named after their salient trait, meaning that telling Clumsy to be himself has a tendency to backfire. That said, he does find his heroism by the end.
Big Applesauce: In all its media-saturated glory. The end credits even show the Smurfs bringing it back with them though to be honest, the fact that Gargamel found their village and leveled it would make rebuilding necessary.
Big Damn Heroes: Invoked when all the Smurfs show up to fight Gargamel and rescue Papa — though he turns out, in the end, to be more than a match for them with his super-powered wand. Luckily, Gutsy and Clumsy manage to get the wand from him.
Blue Thumb: Clumsy and the others turn a simple window planter into a blooming flower garden literally overnight.
The Cavalry: Brought by Brainy after opening the portal back to Smurfland.
Celebrity Paradox: Zig-zagged. Patrick has never heard of the Smurfs when he meets them, but a little research shows that Peyo did exist, although in this universe he claims Smurfs were mythical creatures rather than his own inventions. They even find a book of Peyo comics, which turns out to be important to the plot.
Chain of Smurfs Brainy, Papa, Gutsy, Grouchy and Smurfette do this in order to save Clumsy from falling off the cliff at the Forbidden Falls.
Creative Closing Credits: Yep, the comic Smurfs are shown moving and not to mention an animated Smurf wearing 3D glass appears for a second.
Don't Think. Feel: Played with — Patrick's boss Odile demands that he give her "what I want, not what I ask for." This dilemma drives him to distraction until he gets an inspiration for his ad campaign from the Smurfs... and then gives it up for the safe bet, only to have Clumsy send the "wrong" ad by mistake — which turns out to be a smashing success, but only after Brainy turns the moon blue with the portal opening spell.
Human-Focused Adaptation: The Smurfs take refuge with a husband and wife in New York after being teleported there, and must help them resolve their problems in order to get back home.
Note, however, that the humans (excluding Gargamel) don't turn up until quite some time into the film, and the focus is arguably more on the Character Development of the Smurfs than the humans, making this almost an inversion.
Gargamel finds, to his surprise, that Azrael is a male. This references the fact that in the former comics, Azrael was a female cat until the TV series made Azrael a male and later comics followed suit.
There's also the part when Gargamel refers to the Smurf Village as "The Cursed Land," its original name, as a derogatory.
It should be noted that five of the Smurfs who were present in the Season 9 time-travel episodes (Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy, Clumsy, and Grouchy) are also the ones who get transported to modern-day New York City. And yes, Jonathan Winters also had a role (as Grandpa Smurf) in the same episodes.
By the way, how many Smurfs does it take in the cartoon show to make gold?answer Six. That's how many became the main stars of this film. And that's how many Gargamel was originally chasing after in New York City, albeit for a different purpose.
The Smurfs have called Papa Smurf "Papa" before in the cartoon albeit very rarely unlike here.
Gutsy tells Gargamel "You've had that coming for about 30 years" when he gets knocked over by the taxi that stops in front of him....a possible reference to the fact that Hanna-Barbera's The Smurfs cartoon show first came on the air in 1981.
Gargamel threatened to shave off Papa Smurf's beard with a razor before in the cartoon show episode "Hefty's Heart". Here he only shaves a small bit of it off so he could have enough Smurf essence for his dragon wand.
Nice Hat: The Phrygian cap style hats of the Smurfs serve as parachutes that slow their descent as they drop from the Winslows' apartment window to a nearby taxicab.
Nice Job Smurfing It, Hero: Clumsy breaks Papa’s promise of staying in the village and instead looks for smurf roots, thus having Gargamel spot him and discover Smurf Village.
Offhand Back Hand: Watch out for Clumsy's hands when he gets excited. Better yet, don’t be either Gutsy or Grouchy.
Once in a Blue Moon: The Blue Moon Festival takes place at every blue moon, which is when Papa Smurf is able to see into the future to tell what it may hold for his little Smurfs. It also causes a portal within a waterfall to open that transports whoever enters it through time and space. The image becomes an inspiration for Patrick Winslow's latest ad campaign.
The Oner: Over a full minute of nonstop camera tracking is used at the beginning to when the scene cuts to the birds dropping off the pouch full of smurfberries and Greedy saying “Hey! The blue ones are mine!”
Ow, My Body Part!: Papa Smurf goes "Oh, my hip!" when he and his little Smurfs land on the roof of the taxicab.
Papa Wolf: Papa Smurf is the most obvious example, but Patrick has his moments as well.
It's unlikely that young children will get the joke of Smurfette mistaking a rack of doll heads for actual heads displayed on spikes as an act of valid punishment in whatever time period Peyo's books are meant to be set in.
Even earlier, when Gargamel’s at dinner, he picks up a knife and says “. . . spikes to mount their heads on.”
Flick Filospher: The cleverness of The Smurfs never ceases to astonish! Gosnell plays with product placement, launching an extended sequence set in the famous toy store FAO Schwarz with a chase set in the plaza outside . . . while at the same time completely avoiding getting even the tiniest sliver of a shot of the dramatic glass-cube Apple store situated in that very plaza. (By spectacular contrast, Sony computers litter the film.)
Prophetic Fallacy: Clumsy interrupts Papa Smurf's attempt to foresee the outcome of the Blue Moon Festival, so he misses a crucial part of the prophecy and spends most of the film trying to keep Clumsy out of trouble, which naturally triggers the plot.
Reactive Continuous Scream: It starts with Grace Winslow screaming at Clumsy emerging from the wad of wet toilet paper, who then screams at Grace, and then Patrick Winslow screams at the Smurfs that he finds inside the Anjelou box who then scream at Patrick.
Recursive Canon: The original Smurfs comic book in our world proves to be Peyo's in-universe document of their existence, and the Smurfs try to find it because it contains the spell that can return them to their world.
Totally Radical: Papa Smurf wearing Wayfarer sunglasses on the poster? Check. Smurfette turned into a shopaholic ditz right out of Sex and the City? Check. Smurfs rapping? Kill us.
Unexplained Accent: Why does Gutsy speak in a Scottish accent? Probably same reason why Vanity speaks in a refined upper-class English accent in this movie.
Clumsy, on the other hand subverts the trope, at least compared to the cartoon; in the cartoon he spoke in a Southern accent, but in this movie he doesn't.
Vague Age: Other than Papa, none of the Smurfs are given explicit ages, and their varied behavior lends itself to a whole range of interpretations.
Wait Here: The rest of the Smurfs to Clumsy, twice. The second time, he actually does stay behind, which allows him to initiate the No One Gets Left Behind, as Papa had made them all promise not to go back for him — but Clumsy, who wasn't there at the time, never promised anything.
Watch Out for That Tree!: Grouchy tries to warn the bird he’s riding back to the Winslow’s apartment to watch out for the basket of fruit before crashing.
Weapons That Suck: Gargamel uses a leaf blower for capturing Smurfs when he chases after them in FAO Schwarz.
We Are as Mayflies: Smurfs can apparently live to almost 600 and still be sprightly and active.