Christina Ricci Joins Smurfs 2

Brendan Gleeson also aboard

While it may not have earned much in the way of critical love, last year’s live-action / CG blend that brought the Smurfs roaring (or smurfing?) into the 21st Century set cinema tills ringing to the sound of $564 million worldwide. Which means, of course, that the sequel is now shooting. With most of the first film’s cast returning, some new faces (or voices) are also being added, with Christina Ricci, Brendan Gleeson and JB Smoove all reporting for duty.

The sequel finds evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) still trying to capture the Smurfs’ powers. Part of his new attempt involves creating Smurf-like creatures known as Naughties, including Vexy (Ricci) and Hackus (Smoove). But when they don’t give him what he desires, and when he learns that only a spell from Smurfette (Katy Perry) can make that happen, he kidnaps her and retreats to Paris, where he’s become a sensation.

So the rest of the Smurfs recruit human pals Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays) to help rescue her. But can they also convince her that she really does belong in the Smurf village? We’d offer our guess, but you’d only call us cynical.

Gleeson is set to play Harris’ stepfather, Victor Doyle, while returning Smurf voices include Jonathan Winters, Alan Cumming, Fred Armisen, Anton Yelchin, George Lopez and John Oliver.

With Raja Gosnell back behind the camera, the film is scheduled to hit our screens on July 31, 2013.