La la la la la la…it’s a big ole stinkfest.
BQB here with a review of The Smurfs: The Lost Village.
3.5 readers, perhaps you might recall in the past decade that Neil Patrick Harris teamed up with the Smurfs to make two films in which the little blue people crossed over into the human world. They were silly and fun though the scenes of the beautiful Smurf village left me wondering why the studio didn’t just forgo NPH all together and just make an adventure where the Smurfs strike out on their own sans humans.
I still believe there’s a story out there about the Smurfs in Smurf world that could dazzle an audience on the big screen. While this film is OK…this isn’t it.
When Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) and a group of Smurfs comprised of Smurfette (Demi Lovato), Brainy (Danny Pudi), Hefty (Joe Manganiello), and Clumsy (Jack McBryer) learn of the existence of a lost Smurf village, it’s a race to see who can locate the never before seen Smurfs first. The Smurfs want to save their comrades in blue whereas Gargamel, as usual, wants to harvest them to enhance his magic.
I was too harsh up above where I said it is a stinkfest. It isn’t. It’s a perfectly lovely film to sit your kids down in front of. Perhaps selfishly, I noticed that it lacks what a lot of the great cartoons have, namely jokes that reach out to the adults in the room while going over the kids’ heads, just to say, “Hey, we know you had to bring a kid to this, so we’re going to give you a little reward to thank you for coming so you won’t be bored out of your mind.”
Mandy Patinkin voices Gargamel and while he’s a suitable famous old person for the role, as a fan of Homeland, I just expected jazz music to start playing ominously in the background while Smurfette morphs into Carrie and starts mixing wine with pills and crying over Brodie while Papa Smurf Saul starts yelling at her to snap out of it and focus on finding the terrorists for the good of her country.
Meanwhile, there’s a feminist subplot for Smurfette. All of the boy Smurfs have a name that matches who they are or what they are good at. Baker Smurf, Vanity Smurf, Farmer Smurf and so on. Smurfette’s name just means “girl smurf” and she thinks that’s unfair. She wants to find out what she’s good at and get a name that reflects it because she’s more than just a female smurf.
SPOILER ALERT: the film addresses that eventually, but you know, not to the point where Smurfette gets a name change to reflect that she’s more than just a girl smurf. You know some Hollywood suit ran into that writer’s room and was all like, “We are NOT changing the name of a character/kids’ toy that’s been marketed as Smurfette for umpteen million years, jerk wads, so deal with it!”
And to me, that’s fine. I’m glad Smurfette finds here groove, but I’d be sad at this point if they changed her name.
DOUBLE SPOILER ALERT: As you know if you’re a fan, Smurfette was made when Gargamel molded a lump of clay into the form of a Smurf. She was supposed to be his spy, but she became good and loved her smurfy friends. At the end, and again, look away if you don’t want to know the end, Smurfette gets turned back into that lump of clay. The incredibly sad smurfs haul this clay lump that looks like a big blue turd back to Smurf Village and cry and bawl all over it until it becomes Smurfette again. I just wish someone in the studio had the guts to raise their hand and say, “We need to rewrite this. This lump of clay looks like a big blue poop.”
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. A good kids’ film. However, I do believe that the Smurfs franchise has the power to create a movie that becomes an instant classic that stands the test of time, beloved by generations to come. This film isn’t it and while adorable, funny, and even action packed at times, it’s quickly forgettable. Kids will love it and I suppose that is the point in the end.