Smurfs: The Lost Village is a reboot of the franchise of Smurf movies but still done my Sony Pictures Animation. The whole crew is recast this time, except for Frank Welker as Azrael. This movie focuses on the idea of Smurfette and comments on the idea of Smurfs with names that signify their personality, and the fact that Smurfette is not of Smurf origin nor has one of these distinct personalities. To cheer herself up, she goes tree surfing with Brainy, Hefty and Clumsy to find that there's a place behind the great wall in the Forbidden Forest that may have a bunch of other Smurfs - and the evil wizard Gargamel knows about it! So now we have our race to the finish in this new Smurfs movie.
I'm in the minority, I know, but I enjoyed the live-action storylines from the first movies and when they didn't pull their punches. I generally love fish-out-of-water stories for all their opportunity for adventure and comedy, something both movies put to great use. I understand completely that the live-action movies may have been better if they spent more time in Smurf Village but Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays made the extra time worth it. You see, I ended up loving The Smurfs 2 so much that I couldn't wait for a trailer for The Smurfs 3, which at the time had a 2015 scheduled release. Then I found out this would reboot, and I wasn't a fan of that idea. Still, Smurfs: The Lost Village is very VERY fast-paced and colourful, and isn't stuck in fart joke melodrama.
The best thing about this movie are its action sequences. The camera motion is a zany, manic pleasure as the Smurfs zip through trees, escape deadly (or annoyingly infatuated) flowers, and ride through a river that looks like there's an invisible wall around its shaped like the DNA symbol. Come to think of it, the fast-pacing in the other movies was my favourite thing too. The director Kelly Asbury (who also directed Gnomeo & Juliet and co-director of Shrek 2) is good at making movies that will amuse children with likeable humour. None of it really made me laugh out loud but it delivers the goods.
That being said, compared to the others, this one's just...average really. Smurfette is different from the other Smurfs, got it. This movie sort of overly phones that in, and I don't understand how Papa Smurf could listen to what Smurfette and her trio saw and dismiss it. Just imagine what would've happened if he decided to go further with his insistence. Also, the next day, Smurfette and her friends are gone but you kind of already knew that from the trailer. When Papa Smurf finds out, the crises and buildup to it are cliche and so is a finale that could've been great because it had a great idea that they didn't leap on, really. There's also a little too much This-is-my-fault. But that being said, Smurfs: The Lost Village has an innocent feel around it. Clumsy was given loads of development in the first film and in this film he learns how to ride a dragonfly without screwing up. Sort of a step down but still a passing grade. Hefty is very funny, likeable and even as attractive as he thinks he is. I'm not sure how similar the scripting and characters are to the original cartoon, but I have a feeling really old Papa Smurfs and Smurf Willows will like this, even though it might be worth Netflix binging rather than paying for.