Smurfs: The Lost Village review
I was over at a family gathering last Easter when I saw my little cousin carrying a bunch of Smurf stuffed toys. When I asked her mother if they were from the 1980’s cartoon, she replied that they were from those movies from a few years back. Both The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2 are not good movies that attempted to cater to the adult fans of the animated series and children that have never heard of the Belgian creations from Peyo. I myself was never a fan to begin with and had only seen the cartoon once or twice as a child. I was born too late to get in to them.
The Smurfs 2 was a flop in theaters and I’d thought that that would the last time in a while before we’d see these characters again. In this day and age, a reboot can happen whenever they want (which only does harm in the long run and makes the brand valueless), though this time, the Smurfs are fully animated rather then live action. It’s a big indicator that Sony wants to try to go back to what made the cartoon memorable in the first place. Let’s see if Smurfs: The Lost Village can fix that.
Just like the cartoon, the Smurfs live in a mushroom village during the medieval era, though the only human in this movie is the evil wizard Gargamel (played by Rainn Wilson) who created Smurfette (played by Demi Lovato) as a way to find the rest of her kind so that he can extract their magical powers. Papa Smurf (played by Mandy Patinkin) however was able to convince Smurfette to join the village and contribute to their living. It seems however that while other Smurfs like Hefty Smurf (played by Joe Manganiello), Brainy Smurf (played by Danny Pudi) and Clumsy Smurf (played by Jack McBrayer) know their place, Smurfette is having trouble figuring out her purpose.
While out having fun, Smurfette sees another little person like herself going through a small hole in the wall that leads to the forbidden forest. She tries to get Papa Smurf to take her into that forest to see if more Smurfs exist. When he says no, She along with Hefty, Brainy, and Clumsy, head out in the dark of night to see if they can find the legendary lost village. Following them is Gargamel and his cat Azrael.
I have to give Smurfs: The Lost Village a lot of credit for actually trying much harder then the live action movies did. While the previous films were made to sell toys, I can tell that the creators attempted to tell a story. Unfortunately, we still have an uninspired journey that’s full of unfunny jokes and a story that seems to end without giving much indication what our characters have learned. Along with that, the film may have some of the worst song placement for a soundtrack. I don’t just mean the addition of Demi Lovato songs, but also Eiffel 65’s “Blue” song.
I feel bad as there are some good elements. The nice animation is bouncy and seems the suit the Smurfs well. It could have benefited from some more design, but it was nice to look at. Surprisingly, actors like Mandy Patinkin and Rainn Wilson so seem to be trying their hardest to make the material work. The movie’s fault come onto the script. For a world that comes from sorcerers, dragons, and magic, you’d think the Smurfs could come up with something better that doesn’t seem like its trying to emulate every other animation studio.
I’ll give this three Papa Smurfs out of five. Smurfs: The Lost Village is clearly geared towards elementary school-aged children. I doubt anyone above that bracket will find much out of the Smurfs. Depending if you have kids, you can decide if they want to get smurfed.