Smurfs: The Lost Village Review
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In 2011, the Smurfs traded Smurf Village for New York City and animation for live-action in The Smurfs, a mess of a movie that was then followed by an ill-advised sequel. But now, in Smurfs: The Lost Village, the lovable blue characters are finally back where they belong: hidden away in an animated forest.

Smurfs: The Lost Village sets out on a smurfy journey with Smurfette (voiced by Demi Lovato) and some of her little blue friends. After a misadventure in the forest outside Smurf Village leads them to discover what could possibly be a lost village of Smurfs, they run away to the Forbidden Forest to save their fellow Smurfs from a sinister plot by evil wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson). And they end up facing all kinds of dangers as they race to find the village before Gargamel and his menacing pets do.

In this Smurfs reboot, gone is the strange city setting; gone are the live actors. Instead, Smurfs: The Lost Village returns to its roots—to the magical woods that surround Smurf Village. The settings are colorful and imaginative and filled with surprising creatures (like man-eating flowers and magical glow-in-the-dark bunnies). The characters are the same lovable Smurfs from the classic cartoon (with the exception of Table-Eating Smurf, that is). And, once again, they’re battling against the evil (yet often disturbingly dim-witted) Gargamel and his clever cat, Azrael.

The story itself is somewhat familiar, too. Though the tale of the lost village is new, the Smurfs’ journey generally fits into the old formulas. And, since the film is significantly longer than the old cartoons, parts of the adventure feel stretched out longer than necessary—and, really, not much happens throughout the middle of the film.

Still, the cute characters will keep kids entertained. And, more than just a silly animated adventure for kids, it also comes with an important message—especially for girls, who, admittedly, were all but left out of the original series. The story puts Smurfette in the spotlight, making her so much more than just “the girl Smurf.” It builds on her history as Gargamel’s evil creation, and it addresses the fact that her name doesn’t give her the same strong personality traits that the boy Smurfs have. Throughout the film, Smurfette tries to figure out where she fits in—and what, exactly, a “smurfette” is—and the lesson that she learns along the way is a valuable one for young viewers, too.

Smurfs: The Lost Village certainly has its share of flaws. But not only is it more faithful to the original series than the live-action films were, but it’s a whole lot more playful and fun, too. And if you loved the cartoons as a kid, it’ll bring back fond memories of lazy Saturday mornings in front of the TV.

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