BY ROGER THOMAS
Did you know that the “Smurfs” have been around for almost sixty years? I did not until I did a little research. “Smurfs” are five years older than I am. I was shocked. I thought they were an invention of the seventies, but they were created as a comic strip by the Belgian artist Peyo in 1958. We all know that Smurfs are blue. We know that they live in houses made from mushrooms. But I also did not know that there are now more than one hundred different Smurf characters.
Now there is a new film entitled: “Smurfs: The Lost Village.”
There are three reasons to see this new film. This is not necessarily three endorsements of the film; these are just three reasons the film is better than it could have been.
First, there is the animation. Whenever the plot lags, and it does sometimes during the ninety minutes of screen time, there is almost always something to see. I write often about the visuals of films. What is on the screen can often make or break a movie. The case of “Smurfs,” the visuals is one of the very best things about the film.
Second, and this relates to the visual effects but should be noticed in and of itself, the colors of the film are beautiful. The setting of the film, for the most part, is a forest. There are many sights and most of them are colorful. The blue Smurfs themselves add one shade to the rainbow of this film but so does the plants, the creatures and so much more. I doubt there will be few films this year that are more colorful and more visually stunning than this new “Smurf” film.
Then there is the third reason to see the film. Almost everyone knows that over the last nearly six decades, and the more than one hundred characters, there has always been one, and only one, female Smurf: Smurfette. If you do not want too much information of the plot of “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” you might want to skip down to the end of this paragraph. The third reason to see this film is that finally, the more than one hundred male Smurfs have more than one girl to date. This is revealed in the trailer of the film, so I am not really giving away a huge secret. However, I do not want to give away any more information. If you are one of those who always wondered if there would ever be more girl Smurfs, this is the film for you.
There are other elements to film. Gargamel and Azrael are back as villains. The film might have been better without them, but I guess they offer some thrills for the target audience of the film. By the way, the target audience for this film is not a person who is almost as old as the Smurfs themselves. This film was not made for me.
Some famous actors and actresses joined in the voice cast. Most notably Julia Roberts is SmurfWillow, Michelle Rodriguez is SmurfStorm, and Mandy Patinkin is Papa Smurf.
The ninety minute running time is also a strength. In fact, in my opinion they could have clipped it a little more, but once again, I am not the target audience.
Going back to where we started, the Smurfs have been around almost sixty years and they will survive an unenthusiastic critic. At least I found three strengths: visuals, color and the discovery of more female Smurfs. I did not love the film, but I liked those strengths enough to recommend it to those who have children and grandchildren who would probably find the film fun.
Roger Thomas is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association. He reviews films for The Stanly News & Press.