THE STORY – Best friends Smurfette (Demi Lovato), Brainy (Danny Pudi), Clumsy (Jack McBrayer) and Hefty (Joe Manganiello) use a special map that guides them through the Forbidden Forest, an enchanted wonderland that’s filled with magical creatures. Their adventure leads them on a course to discover the biggest secret in Smurf history as they race against time and the evil wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) to find a mysterious village.
THE CAST – Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer, Joe Manganiello, Danny Pudi, Mandy Patinkin & Julia Roberts
THE TEAM – Kelly Asbury (Director), Stacey Harman & Pamela Ribon (Writers)
THE RUNNING TIME – 90 Minutes
By Ben Scanga
Making “Smurfs: The Lost Village” entirely animated instead of co-starring live-action Neil Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria was probably the best decision Sony could have made. It doesn’t even acknowledge that the other two films happened. It’s a fresh reboot with an all new cast and crew, which is again, one of the best decisions they could have possibly made. This time around, they actually got people with some talent. Most notably, director Kelly Asbury (“Shrek 2”) and co-writer Pamela Ribon (“Moana”) who decide to do something totally different than anything we’ve seen within this franchise, revealing a new village and smurfs.
After learning that Gargamel has a plan to ambush a lost village that no one was aware of until now. Smurfette, Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty set on a mission to find that lost village. Traveling through thick and thin and making new friends along the way, the four smurfs make it their business to make sure they find this new village before Gargamel does something terrible to the people that inhabited it.
“Smurfs: The Lost Village” makes it no secret that it is pandering towards young children. There is quite a lot of lowbrow and lowest common denominator humor. Although it is mostly slapstick, it does offer its fair amount of fart jokes. The one that stuck out to myself and the whole theater the most was when Gargamel pulled out a “week-old” block of cheese from his underwear. That, combined with the fact that the pacing is so cutthroat that you can hardly fit in a deep breath, it knows how to appeal to its target audience.
The main cast is what really makes this movie stick out. Demi Lovato’s acting and the fact that a lot of the movie was an advertisement for her music was incredibly obnoxious but for the most part, everyone does a very good job. Rainn Wilson plays an over-the-top and charismatic Gargamel and Michelle Rodriguez plays a really great “tough girl” character. The voice actors are trying to be big in every possible way and it works. This is yet another one of the very obvious pros of making a cartoon instead of a live action kids movie because you can direct your actors to be as cartoony as possible. Sadly, if there was one thing that will most likely pull every single audience member out of the movie, it is the fact that it is played too safe. It’s original in its message and overall tone but the overall narrative is almost exactly the same as the first two films. The conflict during the third act is almost exactly the same. Spoiling the movie is something I’ll avoid doing but it was just so disappointing to see it conclude in such a similar manner.
There really is not much to talk about when it comes to “Smurfs: The Lost Village.” It is a kids movie that your children will inevitably drag you to go see but the best part is that it’s not that awful. You will be rolling your eyes because of how obvious, straight-forward and unfunny this movie is but it has such a fast pace that the 90 minutes will go by in a flash. The animated voiceover performances are good from top to bottom and the film’s overall narrative and tone is refreshing enough if you were totally sour on the first two films. At the end of the day, you go in, you sit through it, you leave and then you’ll probably forget about it.
THE FINAL SCORE
THE GOOD – Animated voiceover performances and a refreshing tone and narrative compared to the first two films.
THE BAD – Childish humor will please your kids and do little for you