'Smurfs: The Lost Village'
Yes, another ‘Smurfs’ movie. No, it’s not good. I know that must come as a shock. At least this one is entirely animated, so it spares viewers the cringe factor of watching recognizable actors reach career lows while pretending to talk to Smurfs. Sadly, that’s the only improvement in this smurfin’ mess.
The Smurfs are back. This time, Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin) tells everyone to be nice again and the Smurfs continue to be nice as promised. Then one day, a wandering Smurfette (Demi Lovato) notices a crack in a wall that might lead to a whole new village of Smurfs! She sets out on a quest to find this Lost Village (see title) of new smurfy creatures. Joining her on the journey are the smart Brainy Smurf (Danny Pudi), the muscled and tattooed Hefty Smurf (Joe Manganiello), and a Smurf named Clumsy (Jack McBrayer) whose one-note personality you can probably guess. They indeed find a magical new Smurf village with smurfing surprises and a new smurfy leader named Smurfwillow (Julia Roberts). Of course, the evil Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) learns of the new Smurf and hatches an evil plot to kidnap Smurfs and enslave them to give him power or whatever. If you’re currently assuming that if I must feel stupider after having summarized that plot, you are indeed correct.
After the baffling success of the two live-action/animation hybrid Smurf adventures, this unrelated threequel goes back to basics by serving up a completely animated smurfventure. Essentially, it’s a feature-length episode of the TV cartoon, which is to say that it’s a stupid story for stupid people about nothing. Here’s the thing about the Smurfs: They’re iconic and cutely designed blue characters who have nothing to offer beyond cuddly aesthetics. They became popular in an age of deeply disappointing children’s television because they looked cute and sold merchandise. There’s nothing to them beyond the image. They have no depth, no soul, no humor, no adventure and no purpose. They just pile on Smurf puns and fight a generic bad guy and learn lessons about being nice and do it all in a manner that is insultingly pandering and devoid of anything resembling artistic intent.
On that level, ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ is at least on-brand. If for some reason you enjoy ‘The Smurfs’, then guess what?! You’ll get to see the Smurfs do more smurf stuff in their usual dumb smurfy way. The animation is as mediocre as always. The story is somehow both barebones basic and tough to follow. The humor is pathetically simple. The message is drearily obvious. The voice cast all seem disinterested (except for Rainn Wilson, who has fun being evil, bless his heart). The grating pop anthem soundtrack will make you want to blast your smurfing brains all over the smurfing wall so that you don’t need to finish this piece of smurf. It’s a garbage movie.
Then again, everything that’s ever been branded with the Smurfs is about as lazily conceived and pathetically executed as this steaming pile of smurf. There’s a chance that the Smurfheads out there will love it. Unfortunately, all other rational beings will find this swill painful to endure.