Smurfs: The Lost Village

Led by Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin), the Smurfs live in a quiet village, peacefully going about their lives. Their biggest fear is being captured by the evil Gargamel (Rainn Wilson), who hopes to harness their magic to make him a more powerful wizard.

Smurfette (Demi Lovato), Brainy (Danny Pudi), Hefty (Joe Manganiello), and Clumsy (Jack McBrayer) are playing in the forest one day. Smurfette sees what appears to be another Smurf. While they are searching for the new Smurf, Gargumel captures them.

After the Smurfs escape from Gargumel, they return home and tell Papa Smurf about what happened and the possibility of another Smurf village. Papa Smurf tells them to return to their houses and not leave. That night, Smurfette, Brainy, Hefty, and Clumsy sneak out to find the mysterious Smurf. The group ventures into the Forbidden Forest trying to find the village. They must survive the dangers of the forest and being hunted by Gargumel to try to find the village.

After taking a few shots at the Smurfs/human hybrid movies, Illumination is trying to start over with the franchise. This time, they went strictly with animation and started the story over from the beginning.

Part of the effort to reinvent the franchise was to get a huge cast of big names. Aside from the stars mentioned above, you have the likes of Ariel Winter, Meghan Trainor, Ellie Kemper, and Julia Roberts, along with many others. While this won’t have much impact on kids’ desire to see it, I think they were hoping to pull in the parents with familiar voices. My only real complaint here are Rainn Wilson as Gargumel and Mandy Patinkin as Papa Smurf. It’s not that either of them are not good, it’s that those two characters have always had a very distinct voice, both in the cartoons and the cartoon/live-action versions. Papa and Gargumel now have rather regular sounding voices. It’s a choice they made, but not one I’m happy with.

As I said, this is a complete reboot of the Smurfs. We are again given Smurfette’s “origin” story – how she was created by Gargumel, so she never feels like she really fits in. From there, it is pretty much what you would expect from a Smurf movie. The movie isn’t burdened by the Smurfs trying to navigate the human world and the sometimes predictable setups that entails. It feels similar to the old cartoons.

Smurfs: The Lost Village is a good enough movie. There’s nothing scary in the movie, and the fact that it’s under an hour and a half means even younger kids will enjoy it. If you’re planning a Saturday afternoon outing with the kids, this isn’t a bad choice.

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