Unlike the previous two smurf films, Smurfs The Lost Village focuses on one particular unique smurf in that of the only female Smurf, Smurfette (Julia Roberts). In a village filled with a large number of male smurfs who each have their characteristic trait, Smurfette begins to feel out of place. For you see, Smurfette was created from a piece of clay by the evil wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson). This, unfortunately, makes Smurfette free from any particular skill and hence her journey of finding out who she starts. Throw in the possibility there are other smurfs in a place unknown that might hold this answer and our story is on our way.
The best part about The Lost Village is truly the 3D animation. Everything looks so smooth and flows seamlessly on screen. Action set pieces that deal with large color displays are where these aspects shine the most. The entire scene when the Smurfs meet the dragonflies are a joy to watch as each creature has been designed meticulously with unique color traits that set them out perfectly. Even the smurfs look great as a fan who watched them as a child many years ago. But sadly this is where it ends.
Whilst I enjoy the focus put on Smurfette’s character arc, I couldn’t help but feel that somewhere along the way the story’s meaning was lost. What began as an interesting decision to tackle the discovery of who we are and what we’re meant to do, slowly shifted focus on basic storytelling. A lost village is discovered. Gargamel has plans to capture such village. Smurfette and her friends must stop him. And that’s pretty much it.
Not only do you know how it’s going to end but the journey along the way is far too unoriginal to be even remotely engaging. It reminds me of the new Power Rangers but where The Lost Village beats out on that particular mess is that it at least as interesting dynamics between its characters. The way Smurfette, Clumsy, Brainy and Hefty interact with each other is great as each can bounce off each other in different and hilarious ways. I only wish their relationships could mean more amongst a plot backdrop that doesn’t do justice to exploring who they are as characters.
These are the reasons why we ultimately love children’s films because they’re not just children films but films. We can still get the same feeling when we watched The Lion King the first time compared to seeing it 20 years later. It’s why we’ll pay money again to see a live-action imagining of an animated film we loved so long ago (The Jungle Book, Beauty and The Beast). This is where The Lost Village is lacking and why it won’t be nowhere near those great films previously mentioned.
Parents, take your kids to see Lego Batman instead. They’ll be able to enjoy it more and you’ll also be able to enjoy it.