subscribe: Posts | Comments

Smurfs: The Lost Village – Movie Review

Comments Off on Smurfs: The Lost Village – Movie Review

Smurfs: The Lost Village – Movie Review

Rating: A- (Great)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Sony Pictures

As commercially successful as the hybrid Smurfs films from a couple of years ago were, they left most Smurfs fans disappointed with their tendency to shift focus towards dull human characters and pop-culture references. Smurfs: The Lost Village is a sincere attempt to bring the Smurfs even closer to the original comics created by Peyo and the result is an imaginative delight. Director Kelly Asbury completely understands the appeal of the Smurfs and the world they inhabit. The artists at Sony Pictures Animation have crafted a beautiful film that is sure to elicit instant smiles from Smurfs fans, excited to see these blue creatures rendered with the proper charm and dedication.

The main focus of The Lost Village is Smurfette, immediately addressing the awkwardness of being the lone, featureless female in a town full of men. She has a genuine arc through the movie as she tries to figure out her place in the Smurf village and it’s easy to be instantly warmed to her. The Smurfs are often stereotyped as being lovey-dovey shut-ins, but this film manages to show flaws that go beyond their core personality traits. They were frequently mischievous and were prone to temper tantrums, both of which are highlighted in this film, particularly in a rivalry that forms between Brainy and Hefty.

Gargamel is as goofy as he’s ever been and Rainn Wilson brings the proper silly menace to voicing the evil wizard, with the animators following suit. The film creates legitimate stakes, both from Gargamel and the dangerous animals the Smurfs encounter on their journey. The humour is largely successful with credited screenwriters Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon, along with Sony’s band of storyboard artists, finding a lot of avenues to mine comedy from. There are some funny gags, ranging from poking good natured fun at the Smurfs and their personality traits to more physical cartoon comedy. One of the highlights comes courtesy of Ellie Kemper’s energetic turn as an overly confident Smurf.

The Lost Village earns its emotional scenes with the film taking a couple of surprising turns on that front. It’s not hard to predict where a Smurfs movie will go, but Asbury and the scriptwriters throw us some curveballs. The animation of the Smurfs world is beautifully realised on screen, with each area of this medieval land looking distinct and featuring many creative creatures and plants. The Sony animators also apply their trademark rubbery cartoon style to the characters, nicely complimenting Patrick Mate’s faithful designs. The film does fall into the trap of playing too many pop songs, when Christopher Lennertz’s orchestral score was already suitable enough. When Eiffel 65’s “I’m Blue” plays over the soundtrack, one immediately thinks “Really?”

Smurfs: The Lost Village thankfully grants every Smurfs fan’s wish of seeing a proper Smurfs movie. There are no magical portals, toilet jokes or Hank Azaria to be found anywhere. It’s pure Smurf goodness, done in the most charming way possible. It takes the creativity and imagination of Peyo’s comics and translates them to the screen better than even the popular Hanna-Barbera cartoon managed to pull off. The respect Kelly Asbury clearly had for these characters is in every frame of this movie. People opposed to the Smurfs probably won’t change their minds if they happen to view this film. However, the fanbase that has loved this property since first setting their eyes on it will find plenty to smile at.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE

Stefan Ellison