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Smurf Series Rebooted as Animated Tale of Female Empowerment
Smurfs: The Lost Village

PUM Film Review by Kam Williams

 

Created by the Belgian cartoonist Peyo, the Smurfs started out as a comic strip back in 1958. Over the intervening years, the popular series chronicling the exploits of a clan of diminutive blue humanoids crossed over to television and film, most recently, a pair of live-action features released in 2011 and 2013.


Smurfs: The Lost Village is an animated tale of female empowerment co-written by Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon. That's the same Pamela Ribon whose previous screenplay was the similarly-themed Moana. Here, she has ostensibly imbued the headstrong heroine of this production with some of the same attributes as the intrepid Moana. 


The Lost Village revolves around Smurfette (Demi Lovato), heretofore the only female Smurf. In fact, she's not actually a Smurf, but a facsimile fabricated from a lump of clay by the evil wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson). 


As the film unfolds, we find her frolicking around the very peaceable Smurfdom with her best friends Brainy (Danny Pudi), Hefty (Joe Manganiello) and Clumsy (Jack McBrayer). Narrator/patriarch Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin) is quick to point out that all the other smurfs' names tells you their dominant trait, ala Grouchy (Jake Johnson), Jokey (Gabriel Iglesias) and Nosey (Kelly Asbury), while Smurfette's alone fails to reveal a hint about her. 


The plot thickens when the adventurous Smurfette, with the help of an inverted leaf, hang glides over the wall separating the Smurf compound from the Forbidden Forest. Her worried BFFs follow suit, and the quartet soon finds a mysterious map with directions leading to the Lost Village, an all-girl enclave of Amazonian Smurfs led by the imperious Smurfwillow (Julia Roberts). 


Next thing you know, the fearless foursome is in a a race with Gargamel to discover the place. He's hatched a diabolical plot to kidnap all the Smurfs. The plan is to become the most powerful wizard in the world by ingesting their essence after boiling them in his lab.


Not to worry. There's a two-fisted shero prepared to prove, in convincing fashion, that a girl can grow up to be anything she wants to be. A priceless primer for impressionable tykes!


 

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG for mild action and rude humor

Running time: 90 minutes

Distributor: Sony Pictures

 

To see a trailer for Smurfs: The Lost Village, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NO8wk4n1Cs

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