This week, we’ll be looking at the 2017 animated family film Smurfs: The Lost Village, directed by Kelly Asbury, co-director of 2002’s Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, 2004’s Shrek 2, and 2011’s Gnomeo & Juliet. This is the third Smurfs film in six years, but unlike the first two, it’s not a direct sequel. It’s actually a reboot. And sorry to disappoint, but Neil Patrick Harris isn’t in this one. In fact, there are no humans in this film whatsoever. It’s a fully animated Smurfs film, in other words, this is the Smurfs film that should have been made from the beginning, but for some bizarre reason it wasn’t. So let’s get our Smurf on and see if this film is any good.
First, the plot this time around is that Smurfette (voiced by Demi Lovato) is feeling very out of place because she is not an actual Smurf. Gargamel, the evil dark wizard voiced by Rainn Wilson, created her out of clay. She then learns of a “Lost Village” of undiscovered Smurfs and sets out with some of her Smurf buddies to find it. Along the way, she hopes to join the two teams of Smurfs to battle against the evil Gargamel in the most Smurfin’ awesome showdown ever.
On all accounts, this film is fortunately a major improvement on the first two Smurf films. There are no boring legal litigation subplots. And most noticeable of all, there are not any Sony tablets. There’s no Times Square sequence where every billboard is about some Sony product.
Is it a good film though? I wouldn’t really say so. My best analogy to this would probably be the 2016 animated film Trolls. It’s a perfectly acceptable children’s film for very, very young children, and they’ll definitely be entertained by it. Does it push the boundaries or challenge family entertainment in anyway? No. It follows beat for beat the basic formula of every average children’s film. There’s a big dance sequence, a bunch of jokes that aren’t funny unless you’re five, and a host of action sequences that really don’t matter and are just there to entertain children. However, there’s nothing wrong with that. This is the first theatrical Smurfs film I’ve seen that’s not offensive. It’s just very bland. It’s your run of the mill children’s film. Young children are going to be very entertained by it, but I can’t really say the same for adults.
It’s actually kind of unfortunate, because there are plenty of fans of the Smurfs today who are in their 30s or 40s, because of the 1980s cartoon series or the original comic book series. The original fans are now no longer kids, which these modern films are very clearly aimed at. Those are possibly the only reasons I can really find to justify why the first two Smurf films had adult actors. They were obviously trying to cater to the adult fans of the Smurfs in some way. If you have a child who’s in elementary school, you can probably take them to this, and they’ll be entertained by it.
The movie has some entertaining moments. The characters are basically just amalgamations of whatever their names are, which (to be fair) is what the Smurfs have always been. There’s nothing mind blowing about the Smurfs. They’re basically a bunch of knock-offs of the seven dwarfs who are blue and who do things based on their names. If you didn’t particularly like the first two films, then you’ll probably view this film as a step-up from those. It’s considerably better than the others, but there are far better family-friendly films to show your children than this one. Beyond that, you don’t really have to see it if you don’t really want to. So as such, I’m going to give this film a score of 3 out of 5.