Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017) - A Smurfy Return
,At last! The cute little Smurfette dramatically got her very own movie! No really, it's been 6 years after Sony's 2011 Smurfs movie and the 2013 sequel, and finally decided to pay respects to Peyo for once! *cries happily* I've never been this happy in my entire lifespan since Nickelodeon did justice in Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie as a revival to my favorite Nickelodeon shows of the 90's! *gets tissue; blows nose on it* What a time to be alive!So as you might know, I actually like the Smurfs. Somehow, I was attached to the playful and silly tone of the Hanna-Barbera series when I was a kid. Nowadays, people are split on this franchise with its fans and haters, and even the fandom. You know just like every other franchise there is? I mean, whatís good in 2017? Pokťmon Sun and Moon? Digimon Adventure Tri? Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie? I mean thatís what the new generation of kids want, right? However, I found this test footage of the movie still in development at the time and having this little audition thing, which is cute. Also, Vanity meets his hybrid movie counterpart, what the hell? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u34EFP5t6fI ďYes. Uh, your agent should have told you. Iím afraid weíre trying to take this new film in a- well, DIFFERENT direction. Youíre FABULOUS, but you just donít have the RIGHT ďLOOKĒ.Ē At least Sony finally answered everyoneís complaints about those infamous hybrid movies. But in all seriousness, now with this movie being released to the public at that time, can this movie be wonderful or just another terrible movie out there. And please, donít make Peyo roll in his grave and make a racecourse in the process like the last two times!*hears a phone call chatter* Wait, wait, wait, before the review of the actual movie, I have to point this out. Now right off the bat, what they did with the Columbia logo is just adorable. You know that iconic torch lady? Yeah, it's a wooden standee now! Apparently, it falls over, revealing Smurfette. What you think this isn't real? Man, you know what? I better show it to you.,See what I mean!? Everyone put on your Surprised Pikachu faces on because I have to.. Nah I'm just kidding. So then Smurfette holds up a mushroom in a manner similar to the Torch Lady, finally beginning the movie!,I see what you did there. Again, that was adorable and charming. *squees; calms down later* Not even the first minute, and Iím already pummeled by cuteness! Why is it always the logo gag?Now moving this out of the way, let's get to the actual movie, shall we?In the Smurf Village, as usual like in every single episode, comic, movie, whatever, because franchise, (this is what happens when you over rely on a single franchise for a review like this..) we get an origin story of Smurfette on how she was created by the evil wizard Gargamel to basically infiltrate the Smurf Village and create discord among the other Smurfs so they would destroy themselves. You know, for kids! In turn, the Smurfs turn the Smurfette into an actual Smurf via his own magic... Wait, isnít that the same backstory told not once (the Hanna Barbera episode), not twice (The Smurfs), but THRICE (The Smurfs 2) in a row!? It must be the fourth time here! That deserves a facepalm! Itís already been done before, why did you have to do it yet again!? I get is for newbies, but we already know!! Spinel, say it like it is.Spinel: *singing* Thatís right, I heard the story over and over again....I really wanted to make a Steven Universe joke in this review. Now before I can continue, I have to say this: The designs closely follow the artwork by the Smurfs' creator, Peyo. No more creepy realistic designs like the last two times, but actually adorable and fluffy looking! No really, you can tell how much I loved this change better in this movie.After this backstory happens, we finally get to the actual movie where begins to wonder what her purpose in life is, as do the other Smurfs who couldn't particularly define what a Smurfette is supposed to be. Heck, that one line summarizes it perfectly here! "Smurfette's name doesn't tell us who she is or what she does. So, what exactly is a Smurfette?" Remember that for later, its really important. Apparently, Brainy has invented a device that can record Smurfetteís hidden traits, but it failed because it exploded. ,Suddenly, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an adventure to find the lost village, the Smurfy Grove, thatís in the Forbidden Forest with magical creatures like Glow-Bunnies, those glowing rabbits who act like horses, and Dragonflies. I mean, these guys breath fire, so kudos for creativity there Sony! Right up there with the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs movies! I wonder if these dragonflies had the Pepper Breath like how Agumon did. But in that village are plenty of Smurfettes. Yep, I said Smurfettes, plural. I thought they were the Green Eyed People! You know, just like in Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie? I guess Smurfette isn't called Smurfette anymore, she's THE Smurfette! Since Papa Smurf knows the fact the Forbidden Forest is dangerous to go through, he forbids Smurfette and company from going past the border, but of course, the gang eventually sneaked out for the sake of the plot. But Gargamel is on their track as well, and I think you know where this is going... To become the most powerful wizard in the world by stealing the Smurfs essence to do so. And so, both villages must stop this wizard in a battle with him and his latest creation, freeze balls, which according to him, can only "work on real smurfs". However, earlier we saw a freeze ball working on a mouse at one point. So... a little inconsistency there.,Unlike the previous Sony Smurfs movies, this one is completely animated and aimed at†slightly younger kids (in other words, there's less potty humor and†iffy content this time around, though definitely still some slapstick moments). Oh my god, thank you Sony for doing something right! You can expect†scenes of peril with the Smurfs in danger, as well as†basically the Pokemon: The First Movie/Care Bears 2: A New Generation scene of Smurfs,†the sad sequence in which a Smurfette has (sort of) died. No really, she's turned into stone (technically clay where she originated from) by Gargamel and they throw a funeral for her with flowers, hand holding and all. You wanna know how I felt? Well... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXvWLT_dee8 That explains it all. Basically, I cried like how T.K. did. (Digimon anyone?)Of course something randomly magical happens that changes her back: The magic "Power of Crying". No really, think about this Smurfs movie and Pokťmon and that makes you think, "What a coincidence!" because that's a similarity I wanted to point out. And better, may I add...because it happened directly in Pokemon because Mewtwo hits Ash Ketchum (or Satoshi in the Japanese version) and the "resurrection" ACTUALLY MEANS SOMETHING because it teaches Mewtwo a lesson. As for the Care Bears one, it made Dark Heart to become a better person, and start to care to other people around him. The Lost Village on the other hand, felt like the usual "deux ex machina" used in animated movies like this. Hmmm....,Anyways, the movie has†a clear girl-power message, as well as themes of courage and teamwork. Itís not Steven Universe level good, but itís heart itís in the right place.While this isn't the sort of animated film that teens and child-free adults will want to see, it's got just enough heart to hook younger audiences and remind them to embrace their uniqueness. The plot is fairly thin, but this is a story aimed strictly for kids, so that's not too much of a problem. However, it's super predictible from start to finish, obviously that it went by a generic formula. However, I have a comparison to another movie that came out in 2017, Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie.You see, in my opinion, here are some similarities of the adventure aspects and even there are some blonde haired protagonists who are answering their questions from the past (in this case, Smurfette wondering about her purpose), and then his/her friends join in on a quest to discover a new world, while also meeting new allies. Heck, the Smurfettes from the Smurfy Grove are basically the Green Eyed People, but girl Smurfs. The rest, they are completely different from another. As one person would put it, "Smurfs: The Lost Village felt pretty generic and parts of it felt like they were following the standard "paint by numbers" storyline. Even kids who watch a lot of media recognize a lot of the tropes and cliches! Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie did feel more original and less predictable, and was pretty fun and upbeat in its execution. I feel a bit disappointed that Helga, who's all about how tough she is, doesn't attempt to fight the bad guys (even if she'd lose, it would be nice to see her try)." And the reason why it was so mediocre to some audiences is because the writers did it for the money (with the notable exception of Smurfette's backstory pulled from the comics and cartoon). If only the rest of the Smurfs had more screen time (besides Papa, Hefty, Brainy, Clumsy and Smurfette) and less focused on montages with real-life pop songs (including an explanation of where the Smurfettes from Smurfy Grove came from), then the movie would've been considered as decent or good., The Smurfettes are like Amazons in the Smurf Grove compared to the Smurf†Village cohort. There's warrior archer Smurfstorm, perky and sweet Smurfblossom (who I swear reminds me of Hammy from Over The Hedge with her hyperactive personality, Spinel from Steven Universe, and Pinkie Pie from MLP, especially when she sings, "Hey-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey-heey-hey!" at one point of the movie), smart and decisive Smurflily, who is actually my personal favorite female Smurf, and, of†course, the wise and maternal Smurfwillow. Now that's interesting that there are rarely any female Smurfs in the original comics and TV series. But as someone who as been watching the TV series, and re-watching it years later, I know that there were really cool Smurfs, really silly Smurfs, really cute Smurfs, I just love Smurfs, you know? Oh, I forgot to mention Frank. The caterpillar who had like two lines that appeared like a few scenes, even the spa one. Heís definitely one of the minor characters that didnít offered much. Besides, heís the only bug who can speak English as far as I know.,Also, I forgot to say this, but there's this cute ladybug called Snappy Bug which literally works like a smartphone, and that's clever right there! She doesn't do much other than taking pictures, using her feet to turn them into photos like a dot matrix printer of sorts, a pseudo tape recorder, walkie-talkie, and being like Brainy's assistant, but I will say that she's still a cutie. Basically, Snappy does everything a Smurf does simple and seamless.,Technically, she becomes valuable near the end of the film when she replays a message recorded by Team Smurf for Smurfette, which encourages her to rescue her fellow Smurfs and Smurfettes when they were captured by Gargamel. Like she's the Blaze (from the Tinker Bell movies, mostly the Lost Treasure and maybe The Great Fairy Rescue) of the Smurfs, because she's the true hero, and you should know it!,But then we have Gargamel in this movie, and is played in the standard, somewhat over-the-top manner, while†his two minions, Azrael the cat and Monty the vulture, strike the right balance between "dangerous" and "not quite killers."†Now I have to mention Monty here because he isn't a really good comic relief henchman. Throughout the series of The Smurfs, it always Gargamel and his cat, Azrael. But when the filmmakers added this vulture as Gargamel's other pet, its questionable to me. Like why? I don't really hate him, its just its unnessicary. Donít give me wrong, he brought some good slapstick comedy, which is Season 1 all over again, which is good, but then again, itís unnecessary like I said before. Speaking of the iconic wizard himself, Gargamel's new voice, Rainn Wilson, while he does a decent job, didn't bother using Paul Winchell's interpretation of the character in my opinion. However, I really liked the ending, where Smurfette became the new leader of the Smurfs, and most of all, a true Smurf. And oh yeah, the Smurfettes from the Smurfy Grove are joined in the Smurf Village, so that makes like one big happy family of sorts, if you ask me.The best part of this movie was the mid-credits scene with Gargamel and makes fun of the credits and the jokes he makes are hilarious!"I can't think with this music! Can someone please shut off the music?! And what's with all words, scrolling in front of me? Did the Smurfs do this so that I would be distracted and not be able to destroy them as easily?"""Matte Painters?" How do I even though what it means? Someone just made that up, right? Though I feel sorry for whoever Matte is."""Look Development Artists"? Oh yes of course, let's develop some looks, like maybe a very angry look, because you two totally ruined my plans!" *Azrael meows* "Am I going mad Azrael? For the last time, get them to shut off this music!"No really, this is a funny segment that you don't wanna miss if you decide to watch the credits in its entirety while hearing the most legendary suite playing in the background, like damn, this is Disney Fairies or Pokemon levels of fantastic music in a smurfing Smurfs movie! Which brings me to the music, since the composers were putting their sweat and tears for a movie magical as this wonderful adventure with little blue people with tails. Seriously, "You Will Always Find Me In Your Heart" is probably one of the best songs in the movie and it felt like it was a non-Disney movie of sorts, and this is song should be more remembered so that people can do awesome covers of it in the future. It isn't iconic as some Disney songs from their library, but on its own, and by context, its a good song, and it shows how impactful it happens during Smurfette's "funeral" where every Smurf cries at the loss for their long time friend. But then again, there are some licensed songs like again, "I'm Blue" by Effiel 65 that almost felt like they were made for those montage scenes, and keep the kids entertained by it. With maybe the exception of "I'm A Lady" by Meghan Trainor, which was made for this film, which is also a pretty good song as well.,The animation in this movie is possibly one of the best to come out of Sony in recent years in my opinion. It felt they were ripped out of the Peyo comics or in the Hanna Barbera series, mostly with Gargamelís castle or the iconic Smurf Village. I would even want to point out the epitome of creativity in this film, the Smurfy Grove and the Forbidden Forest. Itís like this huge forest with unique flora and fauna everywhere you look. Plus, the detail they put in there was amazing! I'm almost convinced that the Smurf-eating flowers look like they're real! Not Disney quality, sure, but you can see they did the best they could out of this gem. Again, the character designs stay true to the source material, and because of this, it made the new characters blend into the franchise like Monty, Snappy the ladybug, the Smurfettes, Spitfire the Dragonfly, and even Bucky the Glow-Bunny, possibly the cutest bunny since those bunnies from Secret of the Wings! Also, missed opportunity to give him the last name "O' Hare" because, that would be pretty decent to make a reference to that videogame of the same name on the NES in 1992!Also, the voice acting is mostly top notch here! While some of the choices like Demi Lovato are basically for money purposes, I can tell that they feel like they're trying their hardest to let the characters sound naturally down-to-earth, to hilariously comedic at times. Frank Welker as Azreal from the first two Smurfs movies, actually returned for this movie. Rainn Wilson as Gargamel does, again, a decent job of providing the evil, but comedic wizard himself, and even the voice actor for Felix from Wreck It Ralph, Jack McBrayer, is the voice of my man Clumsy, and OMG, I love him so much! The rest, I'll say that they did a pretty decent job of bringing these characters old and new to life.Overall, Smurfs: The Lost Village an okay and enjoyable movie that's leagues better than the last two Smurf movies, and not to mention that stayed true to Peyo's source material. Again, I hated the first two on being another uninspired live action/animation hybrid following the checklist in that guide following those cliches. But in The Lost Village on the other hand, while the story is very predictable, its a decent concept. However, it has some flaws, as it's plot is rather generic, and it does not explain where the Smurfettes came from other than just living in the Smurfy Grove. Where are the petitions to put that in the upcoming Smurfs TV series, huh? But still, I think this movie is what the first Smurfs movie should have been. Itís not perfect, but unlike Sony's blunders of 2017, which are Surfs Up 2: Wave Mania, The Star, or the Emoji Movie, I think it had more effort put into it like they actually cared. Honestly, this felt like a spiritual successor to Disney Fairies' Tinkerbell movies in a way, mostly with the animation, its decent story and even the voice acting as well. Is it a great movie? No. Do I enjoy it? Yes! Do I consider the Smurfs' renissiance period? Of course! I give it a 7.5/10.Also, this movie is dedicated to Janine Culliford, who was the wife of Peyo and original painter of Smurfs comic books, passed away in 2016. Just a year before this movie was even in theaters. That's actually pretty sad ever since the original creator passed away in the early 90's, and I hope they might hear more fans old and new, gazing happily on the clouds. I guess you can say, I finally talked about the most smurfing good franchise still thriving to this day, with the good old blue people, it was worth it, for the most part.