“Smurfs: The Lost Village” stars Demi Lovato, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi, Mandy Patinkin, Rainn Wilson, and Julia Roberts. Releasing on April 7, 2017, the film has the Smurfs going on a quest to search for the Lost Village while Smurfette attempts to find her true purpose.
The film is directed by Kelly Asbury, who also directed Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Shrek 2, and Gnomeo & Juliet. It is based on the comic book series “The Smurfs” created by Peyo, as well as a reboot of the Smurfs film series. You’re probably wondering how I got the chance to see this film two weeks before its official release. Well, clearly, the cinema that I usually go to was one of the few movie theaters that got the OK from the studio to showcase a special one-time advance screening of the film for everyone to see. This is something that’s just too good for me to resist, especially since I attended another advance screening last year. This animated feature was originally going to be the third installment in the Smurfs live-action/animated film series, but due to the disappointing box office returns of The Smurfs 2, Sony decided to ditch the live-action/CGI treatment and start all over with a fully animated Smurfs movie, complete with an entirely new voice cast. So far, the trailers do seem to indicate that it might come off as some sort of improvement over the last two Smurfs movies that may have rub some people the wrong way. Since the film won’t be out until April, I’ll try my best not to provide any spoilers during my early review. With that said, let’s continue.
Like I said before, this latest Smurfs adventure is a complete reboot, meaning that their live-action adventures in the human world are nonexistent. People who aren’t exactly fans of the live-action/CGI Smurfs movies may be pleased with this fresh take of the lovable blue creatures. Those who do will likely enjoy this one as well. While the story does center on the Smurfs searching for the mysterious Lost Village, it’s actually about Smurfette (voiced by former Disney Channel star Demi Lovato) who is questioning about her true purpose in life. If you’re familiar with the source material, then you’re familiar with Smurfette’s origin story. If not, then don’t worry, this film showcases that plot point. As far as storytelling goes, the film is very simple and well-paced for the little kids, but for the strong-minded, it can come off as either cheesy, predictable, or just plain silly. It also has a certain theme that’s very thought-provoking for the little ones to learn. The voice cast did a decent job bringing the characters to life, including Lovato as Smurfette, Pudi as Brainy Smurf, and Patinkin as Papa Smurf. Jack McBrayer as Clumsy, on the other hand, was a bit off-putting based on his performance. He’s more of a Paranoid Smurf rather than a Clumsy Smurf, in my opinion. Besides, I think the late Anton Yelchin played a better Clumsy in the other Smurfs films. Rainn Wilson provided the voice of the evil wizard, Gargamel, and while he didn’t quite match Hank Azaria’s near perfect portrayal of the antagonist in the live-action films, he did a suitable job, nonetheless. The animation in the film was very colorful and cartoony. Even though it’s not grand or majestic, the animation team did a really good job at recreating Peyo’s designs for a new generation of Smurfs fans, as well as recapturing the sense of imagination and fun that was in the animated show. As for the flaws in this film, I already mentioned that the story is not for the strong-minded who wanted an Oscar-worthy screenplay. Heck, even the cartoonish humor that it provided may not be for everybody. It’s just…well, cartoony. If that weren’t enough, there were plenty of side characters that either served a part in the story or were just there to provide some humor for the kids.
Overall, “Smurfs: The Lost Village” is a harmless family adventure that fully showcases the small blue creatures in their former glory. While it’s not for everybody due to its silly and predictable plot and its cartoonish humor, the film offers plenty of Smurf magic that will certainly please the little ones and long-time fans of the source material. If someone were to ask me if this is better than the live-action films, I will kindly answer them with a “yes” and nothing else. I had a very nice time watching it despite its flaws and I would gladly watch it again if I get the chance. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” will be released in theaters on April 7, 2017.