Director: Kelly Asbury
Sony Pictures Animation/The Kerner Entertainment Company/LStar Capital/Wanda Pictures/Columbia Pictures
I liked this far more than I thought I would – and that’s probably down to two reasons. First off, my five-year-old will happily sit through a film now – in fact he gets all but glued to the screen. It’s certainly better than the up/down talk-talk-talk antics of his four-year-old film-watching daze. But with the Smurfs – an eternal franchise, certainly a cartoon I had a fondness for in my young years – the real bonus, the real reason this version worked for me – is down to it being just a cartoon once again. CGI, sure, but no silly gimmick of real-life actors hamming up hard against a green-screen. I couldn’t take the previous film versions and yet The Lost Village flies by, it’s fun, it has a heart, some soul even, a few good gags – huge voice talent (Julia Roberts, Mandy Patinkin, Rainn Wilson, Demi Lovato, Jack McBrayer) – and it’s a slick, wise reboot.
It’s an origin-story with a twist. We kick off in the la-la-la-la-la-la-way of the world of the Smurfs. We get the story, straightaway, that Smurfette was created by the evil Gargamel – it was his way of infiltrating the Smurf village. Poppa Smurf quickly out-smurfed that sad old wannabe-wizard and turned Smurfette from evil to good; she was welcomed into the village to live among the literal and metaphorical blue balls.
We know this already. But in this version a map leads Smurfette and a handful of the key players (Hefty, Clumsy, Brainy) to the titular village to discover a world beyond the mushroom-homes they inhabit.
Cue great music, funny visual moments (the brilliant bit where three apples are placed under a sheet in a bed to approximate a smurf is just one of many knowing gags around the origin story) and a few decent lines.
It’s for the kids. But it’s not just for the kids.
By the end of it – there’s a full girl-power celebration mode that feels very-2017.