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Feature Film

The Smurfs and Hong Kong Phooey go live action

It’s been a big week for Hollywood’s goal to turn every crap cartoon of the 1970s into live action blockbuster movies.

Take the Smurfs… Please! Raja Gosnell (Scooby Doo 1 and 2, Beverly Hills Chihuahua) was just announced as the director of the live action-animation Smurfs movie from Sony Pictures Animation. It will be released in 3-D in December 2010.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Warner Bros. has just hired the man who brought you Carrot Top in Chairman Of The Board and the direct-to-video sequel to Inspector Gadget, Alex Zamm, to direct a live action feature length version of Hong Kong Phooey.

If any of these films were half the fun as the Hanna Barbera action figures (above) from McFarlane Toys (designed by Scott Shaw!), it might actually be worth the effort. Instead, you can throw these two in the one dollar DVD bin.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Again, our childhoods are raped as usual!

  • LOVE Scott’s action figures ! They remind me of the Viewmaster characters from the 1960’s !

  • In the name all that good,why ??????

  • I feel confident that both projects will be screw ups. Especially Hong Kong Phooey, seeing they just might make him a realistic like dog doing kung fu. What a joke.

  • Kev

    Now, to be fair, the direct to video Inspector Gadget sequel was far superior to the original Matthew Broderick vehicle… which horribly I am now just looking up on imdb. THAT film’s director’s only other credits are a Vanilla Ice film and a score of Playboy films.. no joke. How did he end up at DISNEY of all places!?

  • Hong Kong Phooey might make a pretty funny live-action movie. All the characters in the cartoon were human characters anyway, aside from the title character. Imagine the fun they could have with the absurdity of an anthropomorphic dog who talks like Scatman Crothers fighting crime as a martial arts superhero in a human world? And all he has to do is put on a janitor costume and nobody recognizes him, even though he’s the only anthropomorphic dog who talks like Scatman Crothers in the whole world.

    A Hong Kong Phooey movie could be far funnier than the cartoon ever was, and stand on its own as a witty, cult-classic superhero parody movie. COULD being the key word there. I’m guessing in reality it will suck bigtime.

  • Jinmen

    HAHAHAHA! I KNEW IT! Sooner or later, it HAD to happen!

  • startend

    The Smurfs sounds like the creatures themselves will at least be cartoonish… the animation is going to be produced by Sony Animation, which has NO experience in naturalistic animation. Now, Hong Phooey IS news to me! :O

  • tgentry

    I’m actually quietly excited about the Smurfs as long as they don’t update it like the Smurfs in modern day suburbia or rapping Smurfs in Los Angeles. Hopefully they do it right.

  • Jacob O

    That is unbelievable. Just a few hours ago I was speculating about what other cartoons might be translated into live action. I thought to myself, “Maybe Hong Kong Phooey. Nah…they wouldn’t. That’s just too ridiculous.” And yet, there it is! Gah!!!
    Those are really nice figures, though.

  • Tom Heres

    Nit pickery: I wouldn’t call them “Scott’s action figures”, as he didn’t sculpt them or design the characters, but I get what your meaning.

    That out of the way, I thought these figures seemed to be very lifeless. This shot is cropped, so that the acres of dead land around the characters can’t be seen. The whole of the HB McFarlane series is like that- too much area around the characters, and the figures cannot be reposed or easily removed from the bases for display. That’s why I didn’t pick them up. It would have meant devoting an entire shelf to them to display about a dozen small toys.

    I like McFarlane’s older toys, but now the posed statue direction they’ve taken has made me rethink them as a maker of cartoon collectibles. They seem to be focusing on sports collectible lately anyway.

    And I love Scott Shaw!’s work too, but without having seen his original drawings/turns for these toys it’s impossible to tell if the odd figure placement originated with him or with the McFarlane team.

    RE: the live action HKF and Smurfs- do I have to say it?

  • OM

    …A live action Smurfs flick? What’s next? My Little Pony?

  • Shmorky

    why do they keep making this shit? For a smaller budget they could make animated versions and lose a lot less money. How many live action adaptations make even mediocre sales? It’s not the property it’s the way it is presented.

  • Walty

    Well thank god Freddy Duchoo is not set to direct any longer!!

  • vzk

    The only good thing that can be done with American 70s and 80s cartoons are Sealab-2021/[email protected] deconstructions.

    As for Hong Kong Phooey, didn’t Bob Clark already do that with the made-for-TV flick “The Karate Dog”?

  • Gobo

    On one hand “Hong Kong Phooey” is so wacky and bonkers that a live action version might be really fun… a dog in karate gear jumping out of a file cabinet sounds good to me. But without Scatman Crothers, that’s pretty much your one-joke character right there.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I’d personally like to see a live action version of H-B’s Catanooga Cats.(with Kitty Jo,a real sex kitten!)

  • The good news is you’ll have plenty of material for a future “Cartoon-To-Live-Action Dump!” series.

  • Tinker_Ramone

    I cringe every time I read about the Smurfs. I was unaware of the Hong Kong Phooey movie. How can they keep butchering the classics? I am dreading the rest of the Tom and Jerry movie news.

  • the article mentions “Chairman Of The Board” and no one posts the Norm MacDonald-talking-about-it- on- Conan- clip?
    i will:

  • Andre

    The action figure depicted showed a lot more spunk than the actual animated cartoon. Sorry guys, I wasn’t a big Hong Kong Fooey fan (but I am a Scatman Carruthers fan), or was I crazy about the Smurfs. I did find Peyo’s comics to be a helluva lot more entertaining than the HB series though. Is there some kind of brain paralysis in Hollywood in which producers can only think of doing live action versions of 60’s -70’s Saturday morning cartoons that were not very good in the first place? I mean what’s next? Live action versions of Cool McCool, Super Six, Dodo the Kid From Outer Space, Inch High Private Eye And The Funky Phantom?

  • Some Guy

    I bet the “Board” is spelled B-O-R-E-D!

  • Terrible. I always wonder who these films are made for. They’re too crappy to entertain people nostalgic for the original cartoons, and the kids who are in the target audience don’t know these characters at all. (I’m sure they show them on Boomerang but honestly what kid is going to choose Hong Kong Phooey over Spongebob)

    Thus the filmmakers are limiting themselves to one type of audience: bored parents browsing the the dollar DVD bin thinking “Oh yeah, Smurfs. I remember Smurfs… this should keep em quiet for an hour or so”

  • CartoonCrazy

    @ Jacob O., I thought the same thing a couple of days ago.

    Anyways, these movies could be interesting, if done right, of course. I have a feeling they WON’T be, sadly.

    What’s next, “Magilla Gorilla”?

  • Jason

    Hong Kong Phooey was just a latter-day version of Huckleberry Hound. Come on, you know it’s true. And it was so damn LAME! I always wondered…why a dog? (Chico Marx: Why a dog, why a-no chicken? Ha. Ha.) I always figured a Siamese cat would make more sense than a scruffy old pooch with Scatman Cruther’s voice. And the dog had a truly crappy character design. Weak even by H-B standards. I say “Phooey” on this project. First Yogi Bear and now this. I realize Scooby Doo was ridiculously successful as a live-action film, BUT COME ON. Hanna-Barbera made CRAP, everyone knows it. Their junk isn’t worthy of a comeback. It was such junk that raped my childhood (imagine the heartbreak a kid who truly loves animation suffers when faced with Peter Potamus). Let H-B die. Strew the ashes with salt. Let sleeping cartoon dogs lie! Please!

  • They really are a separate species, aren’t they (movie execs I mean).

    And we thought the Neanderthals had gone extinct!

  • Angry Anim

    Fingers crossed for “Jabberjaw” to be the next one to make the leap to live action.

    Fingers doubly crossed for them to mo-cap an actual shark.

    Please let it happen. Please please please…

  • Katella Gate

    We will know that this crap-fest is mined out when they finally reach “Mightyman And Yukk” and “Rubik, the Amazing Cube.”

    Feel free to click and enjoy:

  • I would have gone with Funky Phantom & Three Robotic Stooges, but this is still pretty awesome news.

  • Speaking of crappy cartoons from the 70’s-80’s era there are a LOT that should never be spoken of again. I wouldn’t care if hollywood experimented with these because anything at all would have to be an improvement. Anyone remember

    Fantastic Max?

    Shoe People?

    and what in god’s name were the Poddington Peas?

    I pray we never see any kind of revival of Timmy the Tooth.

  • I want a “Perils of Penelope Pitstop” movie, with Natalie Portman in the lead role.

    I’d want Janet Waldo to overdub her voice though.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > How did he end up at DISNEY of all places!?

    As the old saying goes, those in Hollywood just sorta fail UPWARDS!

    > But without Scatman Crothers, that’s pretty much your one-joke character right there.

    That’s my feeling about this too. I think it would’ve been neat if it was something like Scott Shaw!’s figure shown above in a live-action world if you tried to play it as some sort of cheesy action/martial art film of that period (the 70’s of course), but without Crothers, it would be heard pulling it off just right.

  • Richard

    Some Guy says, “I bet the “Board” is spelled B-O-R-E-D!”

    Nice Norm MacDonald reference!

  • FP

    Does anyone really care about remaining “true” to a crapfest like HONG KONG FOOEY? The SCOOBY DOO movies were awful, but no more awful than the original septic cartoons.

  • Jones

    That’s the GOOD news?

  • Hong Kong Fooey was a nice character but the series were really pretty mediocre- being generous- in their animation and scripts. I don’t really care about this one unless they make it better than the original series, but they won’t. It was already bad but this will probably be worse.

    On the other hand the original Smurfs comics by Peyo are masterpieces. They will surely use the HB cartoons as an inspiration instead, and those were pretty crappy too , I liked them as a child but that’s all. I even think the live action/cartoon combination could work with the Smurfs if done well. For some reason the combination of smurfs as cartoons and Gargamel as a real actor doesn’t sound as ill-conceived as making Garfield in 3D and Jon and Oddie in live action. With an interesting script and a good and funny actor as Gargamel it could even work. But I think they are going to waste the opportunity anyway. It could be a good fantasy/humor picture if they could capture the spirit of the original comic books, but I’m sure they won’t.

  • Niki

    and someone in the world is orchestrating a mass suicide to be carried out on the night of the release.