It has been a couple years since the Smurfs were last scene on the on the big screen. Their attempts to transition into live-action films didn’t really go as well as it could have. While both films were financially successful, they were critically panned. I haven’t seen them, but I can kind of see where they are coming from. Now, the Smurfs are back in their first fully animated feature film, Smurfs: The Lost Village.
In this movie, Smurfette (Demi Lovato), feeling out of place as the only girl in Smurf Village, discovers the possibility of other Smurfs beyond their home. With the help of her friends Hefty (Joe Manganiello), Brainy (Danny Pudi), and Clumsy (Jack McBrayer), she sets out on a mission to find a lost village in a distant land. But with the evil wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) hot on their trail, it becomes their mission to warn these new Smurfs of his plan to capture and destroy them all.
In my opinion, Smurfs: The Lost Village was just an OK movie. Let’s start with the good parts of this film. First, I thought the animation was beautiful. The environments and creatures of the world were so colorful and pleasing to look at. I also really loved the designs of the Smurfs. It brought back memories of the old days of traditional animation. They weren’t trying to look realistic. They were trying to look like traditional cartoon characters. It’s always nice when animation studios shy away from realism and bring a goofy look to their movies.
I also really enjoyed the voice actors. I thought Lovato was perfect as Smurfette. She really captured the character’s goofy and loving personality. All the other voice actors did the same. They all captured the personalities of their characters. It always helps an animated movie to have voice actors that match the characters they are playing. This movie certainly has that.
However, there were things about this movie that really brought it down. First off, I thought the humor was very bland. I wasn’t laughing at a lot of the jokes that the characters were dishing out. I knew where they were trying to be funny, but it wasn’t working for me. That being said, the kids in my theater were certainly laughing. The jokes in this movie were good for kids, but not really for us grown ups.
I also thought the story of the film was very predictable. It was your basic take on the Hero’s Journey, and it didn’t try anything new. I was able to predict what was going to happen before it even did. Even when I couldn’t predict some of the twists, I could sense the basic skeleton of the story. I really knew how the story started and ended. I wish they would have tried to add some new elements to this kind of story, but they didn’t.
In the end, Smurfs: The Lost Village wasn’t really anything special. It had great animation and great voice acting, but the humor was strictly for kids and the story didn’t try to do anything original. I believe that the Smurfs can find their modern audience, but they need something new to reinvent their style. This film was beautiful to look at, but I’m not sure if I’ll have any desire to see it in the future.