Smurfs: The Lost Village movie review - Entertaining fare for children, but tedious for adults
Smurfs: The Lost Village is a film about Smurfs so it’s quite easy for very young audiences to enjoy this film regardless of its story quality. It’s got all the standard ingredients to please kids: peppy colours, a large dose of physical comedy and a small ‘learning lesson’ — if you have kids and want to entertain them you can’t go wrong with this one. For adults, however, this is a tedious film to sit through.
This is the third film in the Smurfs franchise but you can’t be blamed if you don’t remember how many films came before this one. Both prior films were bland and forgettable, neither bringing in anything new to the animation side of things apart from the nostalgia factor of its titular characters, and this one follows suit.
Directed by Kelly Asbury who has earlier made Shrek 2 and Spirit, the story this time follows Smurfette (Demi Lovato), the ‘female Smurf’ in the Smurf village who has an existential crisis of sorts about her identity. Her only defining trait in the Smurf world is that she is a girl, and she is unable to understand what she adds to village as such. Things change when she finds a new Smurf village, which is full of only female Smurfs led by Smurfwillow (Julia Roberts) who offers her a chance to join them.
The problem with the film is that apart from attempting to fix a gender stereotype prevalent in previous films, it does nothing else to tell to entertaining story. The ‘bad wizard’ Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) is on the lookout for Smurfette but it’s not clear what he wants and why he’s a bad dude. The other Smurfs are neither interesting nor fun — there’s Grouchy who’s a grouch, Clumsy, Brainy and so and and so forth, who primarily exist to entertain the lowest common denominator of kiddie audiences without really adding any unique charm. The adventurous aspects of the film include rabbits that glow in the dark and a horde of fire breathing insects, but none of these elements are eye popping to be as such awed by.
There are a couple of touching scenes to mine in emotion but those sequences are again meant for very young audiences, who unless they’re kid geniuses, would anyway not understand the context and would have to be explained by the exasperated parents watching the film. The film thus becomes a mere tool for babysitting, a distraction for children who will stop crying with all the pretty colours flying across the screen. And unfortunately for all the gender stereotype showboating the ending makes no sense whatsoever, making you wonder why it was attempted in the first place. It’s the kind of over serious but haphazard filmmaking which makes you appreciate the unhinged and bonkers stoner style storytelling of The Boss Baby.
Ultimately Smurfs: The Lost Village is more a product than a film, a brand name sold as a commodity, and not a piece of art. For anyone under the age of six, this is a fun pass time at the theater, anyone older than that is advised to look elsewhere for a good animation film.