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Featured Blu-ray and DVD Review: Smurfs: The Lost Village

July 9th, 2017

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Smurfs: The Lost Village

Smurfs: The Lost Village is the third theatrical release in the franchise, but it is a reboot dropping the live action elements the first two films had. Unfortunately, it had the worst box office performance in the franchise and even though it did better internationally, there likely won’t be another film in the franchise for quite a while. Is this unfortunate news? Did the franchise finally find its footing? Or was it clear it was never going to get better?

The Movie

The film begins with Papa Smurf telling us the origin story of Smurfette. She was originally created by Gargamel with dark magic as a way to find the Smurf village. Papa Smurf was able to redeem her with good magic, but she still never really fitted in, as she was different from all of the other Smurfs, because her name didn’t tell anyone about her, unlike every other Smurf in Smurf Village. She tries to find her purpose in the village, but not even Brainy’s science can help her there. Fortunately, Brainy, Hefty, and Clumsy are there to help cheer her up by going Smurfsurfing. It is while Smurfsurfing that Smurfette sees something, another Smurf. This other Smurf runs into a crack in the wall separating them from the Forbidden Forest, but in the rush, leaves their yellow hat behind.

Meanwhile, Gargamel is starting his latest scheme to find the Smurf Village, because he believes he can use the Smurfs to become the most powerful wizard in the world. ... I grew up watching The Smurfs cartoon every Saturday. I have no idea if this is a valid plan, or if Gargamel is delusional. While he’s ranting about this, Azrael spots the Smurfs playing in the forest and eventually gets Gargamel’s attention, who sends his vulture, Monty, to catch one of them. By some miracle, Monty gets one. Unfortunately, it’s Smurfette and she can’t power his magic, because she was created by Gargamel. She does still have the yellow hat, which Gargamel takes.

While Gargamel is distracted by the hat, Brainy, Hefty, and Clumsy come to rescue Smurfette. Well... “rescue” Smurfette. She’s held by Gargamel, so she’s not in any real danger. He’s too incompetent to be a real threat.

When they get back to the Smurf village, Papa Smurf is waiting for them and he’s not happy they left the village and got into so much danger. At first the quartet of Smurfs try to defend themselves, then Smurfette changes tack, agreeing with everything Papa Smurf says. She does this, so he won’t be watching them too much when she sneaks out at night. She has to get to this lost village, because she inadvertently let Gargamel know about the village, so if she doesn’t at least warn them, she will be partially responsible for what happens. Brainy, Hefty, and Clumsy won’t let her go alone, because they are Team Smurf and they stick together.

It’s not a spoiler to say they get to the village, but spoilers happen along the way, so that’s where we will end this plot summary.

Smurfs: The Lost Village is a kids movie. This is both a statement of fact and part of my review. As I’ve said many times in the past, the best “kids movies” are films aimed at adults that kids can also enjoy. Most Pixar films are in this category, as does nearly everything from Studio Ghibli. This is not one of those movies. This is a movie aimed strictly at kids and the crossover appeal for adults is limited, unless you grew up on the TV show and then there is a certain nostalgia factor.

As for kids, I think they will get a kick out of the show, at least younger kids will. It’s bright and energetic and there’s a good mixture of humor, adventure, and drama. There’s a reason why we are still talking about the Smurfs nearly 60 years after they were first created. We only really get to know four of the Smurfs, plus a handful of the “Lost Village” Smurfs, but that still gives us a wide diversity of personality types, so most kids will be able to identify with at least one Smurf and that’s a big part of the appeal. Inarguably this is Smurfette’s movie and think that will help it appeal to young girls, so keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to rent / buy the movie.

One last note, enough with the dance numbers at the end of animated films. Unless the plot of the movie actually has something to do with music, like Gazelle in Zootopia, do not end the movie with a dance number. It’s cliché.

The Extras

Extras begin with an audio commentary track featuring the director, Kelly Asbury, and the animation supervisor, Alan Hawkins. There are storyboards for four deleted scenes with a total running time of about 8 minutes, including text intros. There is a nine-minute making of featurette, complete with reenactments by kids. There are a couple of auditions extras, both of which have the actors in character. Up next is a dance along to “I’m a Lady” by Meghan Trainor and later on there’s a music video for that song. There is a short featurette with Baker Smurf narrating while we watch someone bake tiny food. There are two featurettes on the music. Finally, there’s instructions on how to draw the Smurfs.

This sounds like a lot of extras, but most of them are very short, so it is quantity over quality.

The Verdict

Smurfs: The Lost Village is much better than the live action films in the franchise and I think the films had more to tell in further installments. That’s likely not going to happen. That said, if you have younger kids, especially younger girls, then the Blu-ray is worth picking up.

Filed under: Video Review, Smurfs: The Lost Village, The Smurfs, Kelly Asbury, Dee Bradley Baker, Joe Manganiello, Mandy Patinkin, Frank Welker, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer, Alan Hawkins, Danny Pudi, Demi Lovato, Shakira
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