As a child of the late 80’s and early 90’s, one of my fondest memories would have to be watching Saturday morning cartoons, just like every other kid in America. Though I don’t remember too much about the Smurfs other than that annoying theme song with the La La La-ing, it’s enough a part of my lexicon that I was willing to give this latest animated version a shot despite the mediocrity of the previous two CGI-live action films. Lucky for me I did because this film was much better than anticipated.
In SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE we open with Papa Smurf (voiced by Mandy Patinkin) giving us a rundown of Smurfette’s (Demi Lovato) origin and how she is not really a traditional Smurf but was created by the wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) and thus she doesn’t quite fit in with the other Smurfs because no one knows what “ette” refers to in terms of her personality. She ends up going off to sulk and is accompanied by Brainy Smurf (Danny Pudi), Hefty Smurf (Joe Manganiello) and Clumsy Smurf (Jack McBrayer). They discover that there is a Lost Village of Smurfs that Gargamel is after and decide to go warn them of the evil wizard who will snatch them and use their Smurfiness to generate power. It’s basically the plot of nearly any Smurf cartoon you’ve ever seen, except that in this particular story we finally meet a village full of girl only Smurfs led by Smurf Willow (Julia Roberts).
Despite this film being a duplicate plot of every episode of the 80’s cartoon and even the reboots in the past decade, it does have some positive points. First, FINALLY we get to see girl Smurfs other than Smurfette and that is pretty awesome. They are all named after flowers and their personalities aren’t as defined as the classic Smurfs, but it was nice to see other females than just the one who almost always ends up brooding because she doesn’t quite fit in. The actors they managed to snag for this film are pretty decent and well known, they convinced Julia Roberts to do it after all.
What was also surprising was the how clear and beautiful this film was. In the day and age of Pixar films, it’s hard to be too impressed with animation anymore, but SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE had me entranced. The details were so defined, you could see the woven and knit fabric on the hats and pants of the Smurfs, every stitch and thread. As for the colors, they were rich and intense and psychedelic, if this was what the Smurfs looked like this in the late 70’s or 80’s they might have been way more popular.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE. It’s not going to be one of those films I will want to watch many times like kids are want to do, but should it ever fall on my boys’ radar I would gladly sit through it again. The dialogue was cute and adult oriented, the voice acting was good and I’m all about the girl power movement making its way into one of the cartoon universes of my youth.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: All of the Smurfs movies have looked great on 4K and SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE is no exception. It’s a sharp animated film in terms of bold, bright colors that really pop. The Blu-ray looks fantastic, so the actual upgrade with the 4K UHD is minimal. Any improvements come from slightly deeper colors and a pseudo-3D effect that’s common with animated films. This is another great looking animated movie on 4K.
Audio: The Dolby Atoms track sounded great. This wasn’t necessarily a speaker-rattling soundtrack, but it occasionally offered some nice effects.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any new features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film, which includes the following special features:
Commentary with Director Kelly Asbury, Animation Supervisor Alan Hawkins, and Head of Story Brandon Jeffords : This was interesting in that they talked about so many different things about the film that would have never crossed my mind. They also played well off each other, making for a surprisingly interesting commentary.
Deleted Scenes (7:35): Deleted scenes for animated films aren’t that exciting since they are still in raw form, but if you are interested in that kind of thing check these out.
Kids at Heart! The Making of Smurfs: The Lost Village (9:12): This was a cute little bit with the cast and crew discussing various aspects of the film. They even had kids stand in for the adults sometimes so you could see the excitement from a kid’s perspective.
The Lost Auditions (4:14): Actors reading for roles they didn’t actually play.
Demi Lovato Meets Smurfette (1:01): Smurfette interviews Demi Lovato who voices her in the film. So meta.
Lost Village Dance Along (3:10)
Smurfify Your Nails (2:23): Should you be so inclined you can learn how to paint your nails to match the film.
Baker Smurf’s Mini Kitchen (4:07): Baker Smurf watches a human chef make some small treats.
Music Video (2:48): “I’m a Lady” by Meghan Trainor
Making the Song “You Will Always Find Me In Your Heart” (3:00): A bit with the Composer Christopher Lennertz as he talks about the main song from the film.
The Sound of the Smurfs (3:44): A short featurette about the sound and music in the film.
Draw Your Favorite Smurfs (7:42): You too can draw your favorite Smurfs!