Reviews: the wee blue guys are back – Smurfs and the Lost Village
Smurfs: The Lost Village,
Directed by Kelly Asbury.
Starring Ariel Winter, Joe Manganiello, Michelle Rodriguez, Julia Roberts, Many Patinkin, Demi Lovato
The next big-screen adventure of the little blue guys from the long-lived European comics ditches the live action element of the previous films and goes full-on animation. This time Smurfette is trying to find her place in the village of the Smurfs. She’s not Grouchy, Hefty, Brainy, or Clumsy, and she’s trying to find what is her purpose in life. On a trip outside the village with Brainy, Clumsy, and Grouchy, doing some Smurf boarding they run into their old foe Gargamel, and some strange Smurf like beings. Could these new Smurfs be the answer to Smurfette’s problem? There is only one way to find out, an adventure into the Forbidden Forest, battling the strange creatures and their old foe, also finding something that will make the Smurfs more complete.
I grew up watching these little blue guys, I can’t deny that this fondness has remained with me as I approach middle age. The first two films though were a little disappointing for me. With the second film really just annoying me more than any words can say. I don’t know what it is, but that one film felt like a Chipmunks film rather than anything else.
Here the film is pointed at the younger children in the audience, like it should be, but there are moments, fleeting and sparse, that adults will find charming and funny. The animation is perfectly fine for the story, apart from that spot between the eyes of the characters that just bothered me for the whole length of the film. But what I loved was the creation of the Smurf Village and The Lost Village too. When Smurfette and her pals find The Lost Village there is a severe feeling of Avatar, with the use of Dragonfly’s as their aerial transport (although that seems fair since Avatar invoked a little of the Smurfs to some viewers too). The voices are spot on too; they don’t feel as cutesy as they were in the traditional 2D animation of my youth. I really enjoyed Rainn Wilson as Gargamel, and usually I can’t stand him, but here he fits like a glove to this character. I will also admit that the moments on screen between Gargamel and his pets are some of the funnier parts for the adults in the cinema.
For the children going to see this film it’s all about pointing out that you’ll find your place in the world and when you do, you’ll be happy if you stick to it. Then you have Smurfette, who doesn’t know where she fits in until The Lost Village is found, and then she learns something that it took a long time for me myself to learn. She learns that if you are feeling out of place you just have to find other people who feel the same, then you find where you belong.
The action in the film, with Gargamel on his usual mission to get more magic by capturing the Smurfs and draining them of their goodness, along with the adventure in the Forbidden Forest, adds to the underlying feeling of goodness and cuteness.
As I said at the start this is one for the younger members of the family and will provide a good hour and a half of distraction to them on a rainy afternoon. It doesn’t have the same broad appeal that I felt that the likes of the recent The Boss Baby had (reviewed here), where you could take the whole family to see it and everyone will be entertained, young and old. But this is something for the younger kids with better production, script, and voice talents than the usual films that are aimed at them. Smurfs: The Lost Village will give your children all the entertainment that they could want, but for anyone older than ten there may be little bit of eye-rolling setting in. For me, I have a nephew who is six, and although he like Charles Bronson films, he still would enjoy Smurfs: The Lost Village.