Out this weekend to fill your hearts with joy and smurf ahead of the smurf that is The Fate of the Furious next week, is everyone’s favorite lovable little blue friends, Smurfs: The Lost Village.
Directed by Kelly Asbury who has directed other animated features such as Gnomeo & Juliet, Shrek 2 and Spirit, The Lost Village is the third installment in this Sony series, the previous two being The Smurfs (2011) and The Smurfs 2 (2013). This first entirely animated submission is a break from the previous two installments which heavily featured real life scenarios and human interactions and but were experiencing diminishing returns at the box office.
Asbury has been in the animation business for over 30 years and has worked on such hits as Frozen, Kung Fu Panda and Toy Story. That and a story of how the first animation job he applied for was the Smurfs 1982 TV show make him up to the challenge of turning the franchise around.
The end result is slick and cohesive animation with smooth transitions and clean lines, quite frankly the Smurfs never looked so good. But the devil is in the details my friends and these don’t smurf.
Written by Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon, the action this time around focuses entirely on the Smurfs themselves, and Gargamel of course, with the main protagonist being Smurfette following the hero’s journey.
The discovery of a mysterious map sets the disentranced Smurfette and her friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on a journey through the Forbidden Forest, uncovering mysteries along the way. The map eventually leads the four of them to the “MacGuffin” of the story but it takes entirely too long to get there.
As for the rest of the Smurfs they are relegated to the start and end of the film with only Papa Smurf getting any real action.
Concerning the plot, it touches on a bit of social commentary that will fly over the heads of its younger viewers but doesn’t dig deep enough to hold adults attention. And like the four smurfs themselves it’s sometimes smart, tough, clumsy and undefined.
Kudos to the writers for trying something new with the characters particularly Smurfette who is searching for the meaning of “ette”, but they fall short of reaching anything meaningful.
What’s odd is that it plays more of a musical, just without the singing. With musical cues and beats, it struggles sometimes to not break into song, which makes the casting of Demi Lovato all the more bewildering. Also, this movie was unnecessarily in 3D and there were many wasted scenes just to justify the ticket price. Oh well…
Till next time…