The Smurfs is a live-action/3D CGI animated movie developed by Sony Pictures Animation and The Kerner Entertainment Company, which was released in theaters on July 29, 2011. It is the first feature to take place in the Smurfs Live-Action Film Universe. Sony Pictures originally had plans two more Smurfs films following this one. One of these has been released on July 31, 2013, but due to its performance, Sony canceled plans for the third movie and has instead decided to reboot the series as an all-CGI animated movie series, starting with Smurfs: The Lost Village.
In the beginning of the film, as Farmer Smurf races Greedy Smurf to the Smurf Village carrying sacks of smurfberries, Narrator Smurf tells the audience about the Blue Moon Festival, where every Smurf prepares to sing the Smurf song in a dance choreographed by Vanity Smurf. However, of all the Smurfs who are permitted to join in the dance, Brainy, Grouchy, and Gutsy prevent Clumsy from joining in because he's too accident-prone. This, however, doesn't stop the Smurfs already in the dance from being toppled over when Gutsy and Grouchy give Brainy a flying boot.
Meanwhile, Papa Smurf is in his laboratory seeing a vision, showing Clumsy with a dragon wand, the Smurfs in cages, and Gargamel having ultimate power. Clumsy, who just happens to enter Papa Smurf's laboratory during the vision, sees that the village leader is out of Smurfroot and offers to go get some. Papa Smurf warns Clumsy not to go into the forest, fearing what he had seen in the vision. However, as Clumsy traipses off into the forest to collect the Smurfroot, he accidentally lures Gargamel and Azrael through a barrier that renders the village cloaked from outside. As the Smurfs flee from Gargamel, some of them go off in a direction that warns them not to go that way. It leads to the Forbidden Falls where a magic portal opens up during the blue moon and sucks them up, transporting them years into the future, where they emerge to discover that they are now in modern-day New York City. Gargamel and Azrael end up following the Smurfs through the same portal and also arrive at the same destination, only to lose the Smurfs.
The time-lost Smurfs take shelter with a young married couple (Patrick and Grace Winslow), who are expecting a baby. Patrick works as an advertiser for Anjelou, a cosmetics company, and must come up with a suitable advertising campaign for his client in two days. While the Smurfs offer more of a nuisance than a help with Patrick's advertising project, Patrick does help them come up with a way that they can predict the rise of another blue moon so they can return back to their original time period. The blue moon inspires Patrick to come up with an advertising campaign that he thought would be suitable for his client's product, and even though he second-guesses himself and creates a different advertisement to send in its place, the original idea accidentally gets emailed and promoted all over the city, causing his employer to warn him to fix the problem or he will be fired.
Meanwhile, Gargamel hides out in the abandoned Belvedere Castle in Central Park, using its equipment to make a magic formula from a lock of Smurfette's hair so he could track down the Smurfs and capture them. This leads to an encounter with them inside FAO Schwarz and later inside Mr. Wong's Mystical Emporium where he gets his hands on the dragon wand seen in Papa Smurf's vision. In the emporium and also through the Internet, the Smurfs discover that their legend has been passed on into the modern age through a cartoon artist named Peyo. However, Papa Smurf does get captured by Gargamel and is held prisoner inside the wizard's hideout, where he uses the dragon wand to refashion the Smurf essence extractor machine in the hopes of using it to extract the essence of every Smurf.
With the help of Patrick and Grace, the Smurfs succeed in opening the portal back to their own time, through which Brainy gets the rest of the Smurfs in the village. Every single Smurf is lined up on the edge of the balcony, as Gargamel was temporarily distracted by two (or three) helpless Smurfs that were standing on the roof. Gargamel believes that he can capture them all and get more power than he could ever dream of. Luckily, his Smurf essence extractor machine is doing nothing, as Smurfette confronted Azrael while freeing Papa Smurf from the container that imprisoned him. Gargamel's wand is then stolen by Gutsy, who foolishly drops it toward the ground. Luckily, Clumsy catches it just in time, and Papa destroys it. Gargamel is hit by a MCI J4500 bus, later shown on the streets, blasting magic at the viewer while he cries about his defeat.
After the Smurfs make their heartfelt goodbyes to their human friends, Patrick gets a call from his boss, thanking him for the advertising campaign which the Smurfs had incidentally restored her faith in. By the end-credits, Grace gives birth to a healthy baby.
- Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf (voice)
- Anton Yelchin as Clumsy Smurf (voice)
- Katy Perry as Smurfette (voice)
- Fred Armisen as Brainy Smurf (voice)
- Alan Cumming as Gutsy Smurf (voice)
- George Lopez as Grouchy Smurf (voice)
- Paul Reubens as Jokey Smurf (voice)
- B.J. Novak as Baker Smurf (voice)
- Kenan Thompson as Greedy Smurf (voice)
- John Oliver as Vanity Smurf (voice)
- Jeff Foxworthy as Handy Smurf (voice)
- Gary Basaraba as Hefty Smurf (voice)
- Wolfgang Puck as Chef Smurf (voice)
- John Kassir as Crazy Smurf (voice)
- Joel McCrary as Farmer Smurf (voice)
- Tom Kane as Narrator Smurf (voice)
- Hank Azaria as Gargamel
- Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick Winslow
- Jayma Mays as Grace Winslow (Patrick's wife who is pregnant with their first child)
- Sofía Vergara as Odile (executive at a French cosmetics company who is the boss of Patrick Winslow)
- Tim Gunn as Henri
- Madison McKinley as Model
- Joan Rivers as Party Guest
- Liz Smith as Party Guest
- Producer Jordan Kerner had pitched for the idea of a Smurfs movie back in 1997 with the Smurfs' licensing agency Lafig Belgium, but it was not until 2002, after a draft of Kerner's film adaptation of Charlotte's Web was read by Peyo's heirs, that they accepted Kerner's offer.
- The film was initially set up at Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies, where it was planned as a fully animated film, which would have been the first of a trilogy. The project switched to Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation in June 2008.
- Despite the negative reviews from critics, the movie was strangely a box-office success, leading up to a sequel two years later.
- The cartoon show's Season 2 introduction's lyrics to the Smurf song are used in the movie.
- Some visual gags used in relation to the Smurfs in the movie include advertisements for the Blue Man Group and for Blu-Ray Discs.
- Panicky Smurf, who was supposed to appear in the movie as a character voiced by Adam Wylie, was instead only mentioned by Gutsy Smurf. (However, he does appear as a toy figure sold through McDonald's)
- Smurfette's line, "I kissed a Smurf and I liked it", is a reference to her voice actress Katy Perry's song "I Kissed a Girl".
- In the Cartoon Network show, MAD, The Smurfs movie gets spoofed with Transformers: Dark of the Moon in Trans-BORE-Mores 3: Dark of the Blue Moon/The Walking Fred.
- Gargamel refers to the Smurf Village as "the cursed land", which in the Smurf comic books was the name of the village's original location.
- Gargamel amusingly finds out that Azrael is a male cat, which reflects the gender switch between the comic books and the cartoon show versions of the character.
- Gutsy's line to Gargamel, telling him that "he had it coming for over 30 years", may be a metafictional reference to the villains' appearance in other forms of media.
- During the scene when all the Smurfs are being thrown around by Gargamel's magic during a war to rescue Papa Smurf, one of the Smurfs scream the infamous wilhelm scream.
- This is the first film based on a Hanna-Barbera cartoon not released by Warner Bros. since 2000's The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (which was released by Universal Pictures), as it was released by Columbia Pictures.
- Sony Pictures has released the movie on DVD and Blu-Ray, with a three-disc Blu-Ray/DVD bundle featuring a special animated segment called The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol. Other included bonus features:
- Blue-pers (Smurf Bloopers!)
- Deleted & Extended Scenes
- Happy Music Montage
- Commentary Tracks
- The Smurfs Comic Book
- Going Gargamel
- Smurf Speak: Meet the Cast
- Progression Reels
- The Smurfs Fantastic Adventure Game
- Wal-Mart's preorder of the Blu-Ray/DVD bundle also included a plush toy backpack clip.
- It is available as a video download through Amazon, iTunes, Zune, and Sony.