Get lost before you go see Lost Village
Smurfs used to be a fun little Saturday morning cartoon to watch when I was a kid. Whether there was any great desire to see it a full length feature film…I’m not sure. I guess anything could be made into a film these days though. I missed the first two live action Smurf movies thankfully. I heard they were not that good. As a rebooted, animated film however, there seemed to be some potential to generate some interest in the youth market. It was sort of like Trolls in a way and kids love these movies. Going in as an adult viewer, I didn’t go in expecting much however. After watching the brilliance that was Your Name, Smurfs didn’t seem to have the same gravitas if you will. I just hoped I wouldn’t be utterly bored while I sat through it.
We start off by being introduced to the Smurfs village. The schtick with the Smurfs is that they are shallow and they name after everyone after their most basic characteristic. If you’re smart, you’re Brainy. If you’re clumsy, well…you get the clue. The only one who is not named by a behavioral characteristic, but rather her sex is Smurfette. She’s different from everyone else in that she is the only female Smurf. This leads to some deep contemplation about her very existence and also if there is anyone else out there like her. One day, a group of Smurfs including Smurfette go outside the village leading to an encounter with a mysterious being who is also Smurf-life. Before they can get back to their village however, Smurfette ends up in the clutches of their arch villain, wizard Gargamel. Gargamel derives strength from the consumption of Smurfs. He is able to find out that there is another Smurf village out there which he can capture. Smurfette is able to escape Gargamel’s clutches with the help of her friends but her guilt about exposing another possible Smurfs village leads her and her friends to seek out this village before Gargamel finds it.
The plot seems more complicated on paper when written out but trust me, its not. Before I go into what doesn’t work, lets review what does. The animation is pretty solid here. There are some fantastic visuals here that are conceived in this Smurfs universe along with some cool creatures. This was fun to see. Gargamel’s cat Azrael is a truly charismatic character. His moments in this movie were easily the best parts. In terms of voice acting, Demi Lovato was sufficient as Smurfette. Rainn Wilson and Joe Mangianello were pretty funny as Gargamel and Hefty respectively. This is a short movie for the most part so that’s also a plus.
The fact that this is only 91 minutes underscores the fact that this movie seems a lot longer however. After the initial introductions, I was ready for it to be over. The jokes are fairly shallow. They appeal to children, whom this movie is clearly made for, which is fine. However, parents will easily lose interest towards the middle. The resolution to this film is also is very predictable which I guess should be expected. We are bombarded with constant yelling as well throughout this movie which gets annoying after the first couple moments of this.
I understand that this is your basic, generic, cookie cutter kid’s movie. On that note, it will work because children can be easily entertained with stuff like this. For those older viewers who appreciate animation and expect a little more out of your animated films, go watch Your Name. If you’re a parent deciding between this or Boss Baby, I’d go with Boss Baby.