It seems cruel to review Smurfs: Lost Village. It’s a major studio-produced, theatrically released kids movie, and it’s the animated reboot of what had previously been a live-action/animation hybrid. However, this isn’t Sing. We’re not talking about Boss Baby here. There are no Illumination Entertainment/DreamWorks tricks, such as cutesy jokes or pop culture references, on display to prevent adult audiences from stabbing their own eyes out due to the mind-numbing boredom. There’s no Disney Animation Studios/Pixar-like emotional journey which can be universally understood AND enjoyed. No, Lost Village is a straight-up kids movie meant to be exclusively enjoyed by kids, specifically the kindergarten and below crowd. Watching this felt no different than watching a direct-to-video Barbie movie with my 4-year-old niece, except this time, even though the animation is clearly sub-par, the movie somehow made its way into actual movie theaters. I didn’t exactly love it, but I wasn’t really supposed to.
So, really, I don’t see much point in discussing the film further. If you are an adult, don’t see it unless you have a deep love for the source material (the 80s cartoon and/or Belgian comics) and some time to kill. If you are an adult with kids or younger relatives, you can safely take them to it and appreciate the trite, but moderately well-told lessons they’ll learn about acceptance and friendship. While you’re there you might get a slight kick out of the way the plot attempts to rectify the old Smurfette-is-the-only-female-smurf nonsense, and the inevitable game of “can you recognize the celebrity voice behind the character” (the voice cast includes Mandy Patinkin, Demi Lovato, Ellie Kemper, Danny Pudi and many, many others). The kids around you, though, will probably just really like how that one glowing rabbit the Smurfs ride for a while sounds like a horse. Silly rabbit. You’re not supposed to sound like that. Only horsies make those noises. That rabbit’s funny. Or so all the kids in the audience last night seemed to think.