OK, let me just start by saying that Smurfette has really good hair. It’s full, lustrous and incredibly shiny. And it doesn’t matter whether she’s running, jumping, flying or falling, it always stays perfectly in place (Note to self: find out what hairspray she’s using).
The film, Smurfs: The Lost Village, however, has none of her hair’s shine.
After The Smurfs 2’s lacklustre reception in 2013 and its subsequent third instalment was cancelled, Smurfs: The Lost Village is supposed to inspire a strong comeback for the franchise but the reboot isn’t much better than its predecessors.
This film opens with an introduction of all its characters living in Smurf Village – there’s Jokey, Grouchy, Nosy, Nerdy, Therapist and random ones like Table Eater.
The opener is actually the most fun part of the film, with the various Smurfs acting out their antics and how they live up to their names (Yes, Table Eater literally eats tables).
The film mainly focuses on Smurfette (Demi Lovato), Hefty (Joe Manganiello), Brainy (Danny Pudi) and Clumsy (Jack McBrayer) as they embark on an adventure to find a mysterious village inhabited by a group of never-before-seen Smurfs.
They must reach them first before the evil wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) gets his hands on them and drain them off their Smurf essence.
Things get quite predictable from here on. The age-old Gargamel-Smurfs conflict continues.
While Gargamel has always been The Smurf franchise’s chief villain, perhaps it’s time for other villains from the comic books or the cartoon series to be introduced to the film just to jazz things up.
Fearsome sorcerer Lord Balthazar, for instance, is a more powerful force of evil against the Smurfs. Or how about glamorous witch Evelyn who Gargamel falls head over heels for in an episode of the cartoon, if only to show a different side to him?
Another problem is the main cast members just aren’t engaging enough. Smurfette carried the film well enough, showing both strength and vulnerability (and amazing hair!).
Brainy and Hefty help the group get to their destination but didn’t do much for the film otherwise, coming off pretty boring and unremarkable. Clumsy, who is supposed to provide some comic relief, ends up just being more of a liability to the group.
There are a number of big names lending their voices to the show like actress Julia Roberts, who plays the wise Smurf Willow, and singer Meghan Trainor, who plays the sing-songy Smurf Melody, but even their star power didn’t do much for the film.
They should’ve brought Nosy along, his inquisitiveness was quite hilarious (from what little screen time he had) and it’s a practical, useful trait that can be worked into the storyline.
With a spate of animated films like Zootopia, Moana and Inside Out that have managed to deliver both fun and depth, Smurfs: The Lost Village unfortunately finds itself somewhere in the middle of the pile at best. It’s not outright funny or silly enough and it’s not heartrending or thought-provoking enough.
While the film may not be able to work its magic on adults, it could still be an amusing and entertaining viewing experience for little kids.
Smurfs: The Lost Village
Director: Kelly Asbury
Cast: Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer, Joe Manganiello, Danny Pudi, Mandy Patinkin, Julia Roberts.