Even at 90 minutes, “Smurfs: The Lost Village” seems full of padding. With the presence of colorful characters and backgrounds, as well as celebrity voices, it’s an average outing that might entertain the little ones for a bit and at least keep the adults from dozing.
The whole idea is that Smurfette (voice of Demi Lovato) doesn’t understand her real identity – what is a Smurfette, anyway?
Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin) realizes that Smurfette is viewed by the other Smurfs from different perspectives. She is defined by how others see her and not her own self-image.
Unbeknownst to the other Smurfs, Smurfette is a different kind of Smurf who was created form clay by the wicked wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) in a devious plot to steal the Smurfs’ magic for himself.
After Smurfette sees a mysterious creature in the Forbidden Forest, she wants to find out exactly what or who is living there. So Smurfette, like many other protagonists, goes on a quest. She’s in the company of Hefty Smurf (Joe Manganiello), Clumsy Smurf (Jack McBrayer) and Brainy Smurf (Danny Pudi). Later on in the movie, Julia Roberts lends her vocal cords to Smurf Willow, a new acquaintance of the troupe making the journey.
What they discover makes a difference to Smurfette and the rest of the Smurfs in her village.
Generally, I don’t do spoilers, but my favorite part of the movie involves a surprise encounter the Smurfs have with bunnies. The bunnies act and respond to the Smurfs as horses do to humans. This is quasi-fact-based, because rabbits and horses often enjoy the same foods and even have the same ailments. (And yes, I realize the bunny/horse factor will appeal to a limited number of viewers.)
I saw the movie in 3D, and it really is quite lovely to watch. The animation is well-done, with gorgeous colors and environments.
The identity-quest part of the film is interesting. It will appeal especially to little girls, who may find themselves, like Smurfette does, in male-dominated situations. In the meantime, a lot of silliness and bathroom-type “humor” goes on to add filler to the main story.
Honestly, this is the kind of movie that could have, and should have, gone straight to Blu-Ray. Marketed properly, it probably would have sold a lot of copies, particularly as holiday gifts – blue Easter candy would have been a nice match.
You certainly could spend your time on something worse than this latest from the Smurfs. But it’s more suitable to a rental than an afternoon in the theater.