MOVIE: SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE
STARRING: DEMI LOVATO; JOE MANGANIELLO; JACK MCBRAYER; RAINN WILSON
DIRECTED BY: KELLY ASBURY
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 2 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
The Smurfs are a weird collection of caricatures in the history of pop-culture. I am not exactly sure (outside of children) who would still be fascinated with the blue creatures, with descriptive names such as, Jokey, Vanity, Nosey, etc., but a simple Wikipedia search gives you a bit of their obscure history. They began all the way back in 1958, as a comic series from Belgian artist Peyo, had a 1980's animated TV series, made money off Smurf merchandise, and have surprisingly lasted this long. Now, they have ditched the mixture of live-action and CGI from the 2011 Neil Patrick Harris version and it's follow up The Smurfs 2, and taken a cue from the Trolls movie, going full animated feature. In Smurfs: The Lost Village, director Kelly Asbury's aim is strictly at parents to take their children on a Saturday morning, and as I felt, they wouldn't be completely wasting their time.
This time around, we are introduced to all of the Smurfs, with their unique names, that really seems like a copyright infringement on the story of Snow White, in their colorful Smurf community. The only girl of the village is Smurfette (Demi Lovato), who wonders to herself, “What's an ette?” and since she was originally created from a lump of clay with a bit of magic by the evil doofus wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson), she wants to find her purpose in the group. When she discovers a mysterious hat in the forest that came from a secret smurf village, against the wishes of Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin), she sets out on a journey with Clumsy (Jack McBrayer), Brainy (Danny Pudi), and Hefty (Joe Manganiello) to find this mystery land, before Gargamel does.
As far as animated films go, Smurfs: The Lost Village is serviceable for most children to be distracted for an hour and thirty minutes. As for myself, I found this film to be a mixed bag of a cinematic experience. The animation itself, is vibrant with colors in the Smurf world that catches our attention, but unlike Trolls, it is not exploding in our face like a neon paint gun. The script from Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon gels nicely when the blue quartet bonds together on their journey. The evil Gargamel can be a bit much, but his stupidity helps earn laughs, along with his smart sidekick cat Azrael and dimwitted vulture Monty. I guess, I just expected to laugh a bit more and ones mind begins to wander if you really start to think about things in the Smurf universe. I mean, how come some Smurfs have facial hair when others don't? Or how come none of the Smurfs are overweight?
Eventually, the group will discover the Lost Village, which is an entire land of Smurf girls, including hyper active- Smurflilly (Ariel Winter), Smurfblossom (Elle Kemper), tough smurf- Smurfstorm (Michelle Rodriguez), and their very own wise elder Smurf- voiced by Julia Roberts- Smurfwillow. It sets up one big final battle, bringing the two Smurf groups together to stop Gargamel's pursuit of power. The journey may be a bit predictable, but even this time around the Smurfs deliver a message for girls to find their true selves and might even earn some tears from the kids in the theater, in a good way.
So yeah, this is a Smurfs movie, and if one has a cynical attitude walking into the theater, they may find themselves wishing they kept the kids at home. However, Smurfs: The Lost Village is more than suitable, good clean fun for the family to enjoy on a Saturday matinee. That may not sound like a ringing endorsement, but at least you won't leave the theater feeling sad and blue.
2 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady