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Film / The Smurfs

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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 the first movie Smurfs: The Lost Village released in 2017.


The movie was released with The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol as part of the 3-disc DVD/Blu-Ray bundle.

This film contains examples of:

  • 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.
  • Adaptational Badass: While Papa Smurf has always been badass in the original comics and cartoons. He actually goes so far that he throws a spear behind Gargamel after he's freed from Smurfette. He also acts more aggressive when it comes to protecting the other Smurfs including having to get himself caught by Gargamel in the library and telling them to just go.
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  • Adaptational Heroism: Smurfette comes off as far more capable than in the comics and animated series. To a lesser extent, Brainy is less of a self absorbed Jerkass and at times actually helpful to the plot.
  • Aesop: Whole scads of them, delivered deadpan and with extra application of anvils.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version uses Hey! Say! JUMP's "Magic Power" as its theme song.
  • And This Is for...: As the Smurfs escape the Anjelou box upon discovery, knocking Patrick to the ground, Grouchy says "This is for Clumsy!" right before kicking him in the face.
  • Animal Sweet on Object: Grouchy Smurf flirts with a stuffed toy of the green M&M.
  • Ascended Meme: There was a well-known commercial image of the Smurf village being devastated by war. What's the first thing Gargamel does when he follows Clumsy and finds it for himself?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Brave Scot: Gutsy's character is basically this.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Besides Narrator?
    • Well, when Grouchy sees the stuffed green M&M plushie, he wiggles his eyebrows at the audience.
    • Gargamel does this at the end of the movie.
  • Broken Aesop: Apparently Smurfette's independence as a person means no longer settling for a single outfit and wholeheartedly embracing consumerism.
  • Buffy Speak:
    • Clumsy calls the toilet brush Grace is holding "giant, spikey thing."
    • After Azrael gets sucked into the leaf blower, Gargamel exclaims ". . . get out of my suck-a-ma-jig!"
  • Busby Berkeley Number: The Smurfs are rehearsing one at the beginning, and Brainy colliding into the first row even leads to the infamous domino-pool-dive effect.
  • Butt-Monkey: Gargamel and Azrael both get a lot of comedic, basically-harmless injuries.
    • Brainy as well.
  • The Cameo:
    • Joan Rivers and gossip columnist Liz Smith at Odile's promotional party. Also Tim Gunn from Project Runway, playing the character of Henri.
    • Lazy makes a silent cameo laying on the bench behind Narrator when Clumsy passes him.
  • Canon Foreigner: If one counts either the comic books or the cartoon show as canon, Gutsy, Crazy, and Narrator are prime examples.
  • Cardboard Prison: It's hard to blame the folks at Riker's for this one, as they didn't anticipate that Gargamel could just... fly out.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Azrael snarks in meows.
  • 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 People: Brainy, Papa, Gutsy, Grouchy and Smurfette do this in order to save Clumsy from falling off the cliff at the Forbidden Falls.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Parodied.
    Patrick: Smurf! Smurfity smurf smurf smurf!
    (the Smurfs gasp)
    Gutsy: There's no call for that kind of language, laddie!
  • A Father to His Men: Mostly seen in this movie and the sequel where Papa Smurf in the English movie dialogue track is referred to as having "99 sons and one daughter" by his adversary, and himself saying that his little Smurfs are like family to him.
  • Fictional Holiday: The Blue Moon Festival, which takes place on the night of a blue moon.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: The pastoral, communal Smurfs are dumped in 2010 New York City, and Hilarity Ensues, especially after Gargamel joins the fray.
  • Flat Scare: Gargamel does this to Clumsy by just appearing behind him and saying "boo" when he turns around and sees the evil wizard.
  • Fountain of Youth: What Smurf essence is when it was used on Odile's mother, which makes Odile want to get her hands on it.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: As usual, the Smurfs, which results in Grace giving a high-five and Smurfette returning with a high-four.
  • Fun with Flushing: Clumsy Smurf almost gets flushed down the toilet, but is saved by being stuck inside a wad of wet toilet paper.
  • Getting the Boot: Brainy, after he laughs at Gutsy and Grouchy being the victim of Clumsy's Offhand Backhand. He also gets booted off the stage while playing with his band, the Brainiacs, but he doesn't mind it at that point.
  • Glass Smack and Slide: This happens to Clumsy when Grace Winslow finds him inside a wad of wet toilet paper that she lifts out of the toilet and she inadvertently throws him against a window in fright.
  • Goodbye, Cruel World!: Said by Brainy when Gutsy kicks him off the window sill of the Winslows' apartment.
  • G-Rated Drug: Grouchy has a scene in which he overindulges in M&M's (blue, of course), leading to in vino veritas.
  • Green Thumb: Or in their case, a blue thumb, as Clumsy and the others are able to turn a simple window planter into a blooming flower garden literally overnight.
  • Hairball Humor: After swallowing some of Smurfette's hair, he later coughs it up in a hairball, which Gargamel uses for making Smurf essence.
  • Hot-Blooded Sideburns: Gutsy of all the young Smurfs his age wears these.
  • 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.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Earlier on, Clumsy mistakes liquid soap for something edible and tries it out, only to not like the taste of it before he burps out a bubble.
  • If You Can Read This: During the scene when Grouchy and Gutsy prevent Clumsy from entering the Full Moon Festival rehearsal, Gutsy hold the clipboard that shows "Do NOT let in Clumsy" in red.
    • The two texts Patrick receives from Odile after he sees the wrong ad taking over every billboard.
    • One page with the musical notes of the book the Smurfs are looking at reads "La marche des Schtroumpfs."
  • Improbable Weapon User: The Smurfs make use of golf balls, bowling balls, needle-laden fruit and lipstick when forced to fight.
  • Improvised Parachute: The Smurfs use their own hats as parachutes.
  • Incessant Music Madness: Patrick Winslow's driven crazy by the Smurfs constantly singing their theme tune.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Jokey before trying to give Clumsy a "present."
    "What do you get when you cross a Smurf with a cow? Blue cheese!"
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Gargamel, mostly. Until he gets his hands on Smurf Essence, that is.
  • Insistent Terminology: It's not a hole, it's a vortex. Or possibly a portal.
  • Interactive Narrator: Narrator Smurf is a character, and this is his job. Mixes with Left the Background Music On when the opening narration turns out to be done by him in the scene, as part of him rehearsing for the Blue Moon Festival.
  • In Vino Veritas: Grouchy's "candid" conversation with a green M&M plushie in a toy store.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Smurf Village has a magic barrier that renders the entire place invisible to anyone outside it.
  • Man in a Kilt: Gutsy. For laughs, he is clearly wearing Smurf pants underneath, but the other Smurfs react as if he is "nae trews." He concludes the film with some "I ♥ NY" underpants.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: Executed by Smurfette, to the apparent admiration of the other Smurfs — except Gutsy, who proceeds to do the same with his kilt, to considerably less admiration.
  • Meaningful Echo: Living in a larger home means you can be further apart...
  • Meaningful Name: All the Smurfs' names are this by definition. Lampshaded when the humans ask about it.
    Patrick: And you're all named after your personalities? Do you get your names when you're born or after you've exhibited certain traits?
    The Smurfs: Yes.
  • Meaningful Rename: Papa Smurf refers to Patrick as 'Papa' at the end, to show that he believes Patrick will be just as good a dad as he is.
  • Missed Him by That Much: While frantically looking for the Smurfs loose in the toy store, a stuffed bear being pushed by Papa and Brainy passes behind Grace, though she does look behind her, she still misses them.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: "Oooooh . . . Google . . ."
  • Mythology Gag: Quite a number of them.
    • 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.
    • Late in the movie, Azrael's ear is damaged, making him look a little more like his comic/cartoon counterpart.
    • 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  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 Job Breaking 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.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: "No digital cat was harmed in the making of this picture."
  • Nobody Poops:
    • Grouchy mistakes a candy dish of blue M&Ms in a toy store for "Smurf droppings." Then eats them.
    • Gargamel mistakes a champagne bottle cooler for a chamber pot and proceeds to urinate in it at a restaurant in the middle of the movie.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: After Papa Smurf gets captured, the rest of the party goes back to rescue him, against his orders.
  • Offhand Backhand: Watch out for Clumsy's hands when he gets excited. Better yet, don't be either Gutsy or Grouchy.
  • 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!"
  • Onion Tears: Gargamel subjects Papa Smurf to this with his Smurf essence extractor.
  • 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.
  • Parental Bonus:
  • Parenthetical Swearing: "Smurf" is often used in place of... other words.
  • Partially-Concealed-Label Gag: Clumsy Smurf sees a sign that appears to read "Go This Way" while running from Gargamel. As he runs in the sign's direction, he bumps a bush covering it, revealing that it says "Do Not Go This Way." The sign actually leads to the dangerous Blue Portal, which takes him to the real world.
  • Portal Pool: How the Smurfs get from the medieval forest to modern-day New York City.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Gargamel's magic is empowered by "Smurf essence", which he extracts from them in the form of hair clippings, sweat, tears, and the like.
  • Product Placement:
    • So blatant and constant that it approaches a sublime art form all by itself.
    • Inverted when competing products are involved.
      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.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Papa Smurf — five hundred and forty-six, to be precise.
  • 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.
  • Rich Bitch: Patrick's boss.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Azrael.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: The little log that leads to the bigger one knocking Gargamel into a Smurf's house that has Azrael trapped inside.
  • Secret-Keeper: Patrick and Grace Winslow have to hide the presence of the Smurfs in New York because, well, who would believe them?
  • The Smurfette Principle: Subverted without apparent irony — yes, Smurfette is the only female Smurf, but the human cast has both a down-to-earth female and a domineering lady boss. Justified as well whereas Gargamel created Smurfette in order to entrap the all-male Smurfs, but she did a Heel–Face Turn and joined them.
  • Smurfing: Variously played straight, parodied and lampshaded.
    Patrick: ...and you like to use the extremely imprecise term 'smurf' for just about everything.
  • So Proud of You: Papa Smurf shows this to Clumsy near the end of the movie.
  • Speech-Impaired Animal: Azrael is a nearly normal animal, but he borders on Speech-Impaired Animal in the scene when he tries to say "Are you dead?"
  • Summon Magic: Parodied. Gargamel tries for eagles and instead gets a swarm of flies. But hey, as long as he got something...
  • Tastes Better Than It Looks: Grouchy lands in a pile of M&Ms which look normal but they look to him like the droppings of some creature in Smurf Village. However, when he eats one, he enjoys them.
  • Tempting Fate: After they discover their in a new place, Brainy mentions that both Gargamel and Azrael aren't following them. Cue Azrael.
  • Terminator Twosome: The Smurfs get transported to modern day New York alongside their nemesis, Gargamel.
  • Toilet-Drinking Dog Gag: When Elroy the Beagle sticks his head in the toilet to look at the Smurfs who have fallen in there, his owner Grace, thinking he's trying to drink from it, says, "No, no!".
  • 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.
      • Gutsy is voiced by Scottish actor Alan Cumming, while English actor John Oliver has a cameo as Vanity.
    • Clumsy 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.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: In the novelization of the film, Papa Smurf sees in one of his visions that Gargamel is currently in Las Vegas at the end of the book.
  • 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.
  • Welcome to the Real World: Well, the modern world thinks they're fictional, thanks to recursive canon at work where Peyo portrays them more as a historical legend than his own cartoon creation.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: At one point Odile makes a deal with Gargamel to help him in exchange for his Fountain of Youth potion, but nothing comes of this... because when he tells her he needs Smurfs, she thinks he's nuts.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Brainy gets this sort of lecture from Papa when it falls to him to decipher the portal spell.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Papa Smurf, to save the other Smurfs from Gargamel, leading to no one gets left behind.