Un­der-10s will get Lost

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film - with Ju­lian Wright

A MORE tra­di­tional throw­back to the pop­u­lar car­toon se­ries about the lit­tle blue crea­tures, Smurfs:

The Lost Vil­lage wisely drops the live ac­tion el­e­ments (as seen in the 2011 and 2013 films) and in­jects a bit of girl power.

Be­ing the only fe­male Smurf and cre­ated su­per­fi­cially by the evil Gargamel (Rainn Wil­son), Smur­fette (Demi Lo­vato) is try­ing to find her place in Smurf Vil­lage.

While out and about she spots what ap­pears to be an­other Smurf dis­ap­pear­ing be­yond the wall that bor­ders the For­bid­den For­est and, along with her blue bud­dies Clumsy (Jack Mcbrayer), Brainy (Danny Pudi) and Hefty (Joe Man­ganiello), tries to track down the mys­tery char­ac­ter.

Mean­while, Gargamel con­tin­ues in his at­tempts to cap­ture the Smurfs to drain their essence and be­come a more pow­er­ful wiz­ard.

Smurfs: The Lost Vil­lage is a far more straight­for­ward ap­proach in reignit­ing in­ter­est in the fran­chise, look­ing more like an ex­tended episode of the car­toon se­ries than a mod­ern spin, which some could find an en­dear­ing ap­proach on a nos­tal­gic level.

Even the CGI an­i­ma­tion looks like a close re­cre­ation of the orig­i­nal an­i­ma­tion.

In do­ing so, it is squarely aimed at the un­der-10s crowd, with lit­tle in the way of jokes or gags for grown-ups who have ac­com­pa­nied their chil­dren.

How­ever, props must go to the film­mak­ers who go where other fran­chises fail to: lead­ing the story with a strong fe­male char­ac­ter.

Smur­fette, usu­ally rel­e­gated to sup­port­ing char­ac­ter or win­dow dress­ing, is front and cen­tre here driv­ing the story and lead­ing the ac­tion, and rounded out with some in­ter­nal con­flict and iden­tity crises.

A step for­ward in one sense and yet a stand-still in oth­ers when it comes to the Smurf canon, Smurfs: The Lost Vil­lage is pass­able school hol­i­day fare.

Hefty (Joe Man­ganiello), Brainy (Danny Pudi), Clumsy (Jack Mcbrayer) and Smur­fette (Demi Lo­vato) use Snappy to take a selfie in Smurfs: The Lost Vil­lage.

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