Featuring The Voices Of: Demi Lovato, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi, Mandy Patinkin, Rebel Wilson, Michelle Rodriguez, Rainn Wilson, Ellie Kemper, Julia Roberts
Directed By: Kelly Asbury
Plot: Smurfette (Lovato) is having an identity crisis at the same time that she discovers the presence of a lost village. So she and a few other Smurfs set off on a journey to find The Lost Village.
What Works: This is for kids. I’m not a kid. I didn’t hate it. There are some animated films that try to throw in stuff for adults, and this really doesn’t do that. I also didn’t think it was bad, and I didn’t hate myself for having seen it. It’s like the Disney Tinkerbell movies. They’re meant for kids, but they’re also harmless fairly well made wholesome fun. I think this film did a good job of “rebooting” the Smurfs film universe, should they want to try and make more animated Smurf films.
What Doesn’t Work: I think critics that are too harsh on films like this can’t take the film in its context. It’s OK to make a film for the under 10 set, and not every film needs to have grown up humor thrown in to entertain parents. Some films can just be silly fun. That being said, this film didn’t feel “cinematic” to me, in that it felt more like a chapter in a straight-to-video series. Aside from some top notch voice talent, and well done animation, there’s nothing conceptually that suggests this needed to go to theatres. In fact, subsequent sequels probably won’t.
Final Word: If I was a Rotten Tomatoes critic, I would give this a soft thumbs up, because I think it will do what it set out to achieve, and that is to entertain young children. I think there are a lot worse animated films out there that neither entertain children, and are somewhat painful to watch for adults. This wasn’t painful at all, just rather average. I didn’t hate watching it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have an Elementary school age (or younger) kid in their household. It’s OK for what it is.
Final Grade: B-