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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Smurfs: The Lost Village is -- like the 2011 and 2013 live-action/animation movies -- based on the beloved blue cartoon characters. But unlike the previous Smurfs movies, this one is completely animated and aimed at slightly younger kids (in other words, there's less potty humor and iffy content this time around, though definitely still some slapstick moments). But you can expect scenes of peril/Smurfs in danger, as well as one genuinely scary, sad sequence in which a character has (sort of) died. Despite the occasional violence, no lasting harm comes to any of the main characters, and the movie has a clear girl-power message, as well as themes of courage and teamwork.
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What's the story?
SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE focuses on Smurfette (voiced by Demi Lovato), who, unlike every other Smurf in Smurf Village, isn't male or identified by a descriptive personality trait (e.g. Handy, Brainy, Grouchy, Clumsy, Jokey, etc.). She was originally created by evil wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson), and even though later she was magically transformed by Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin), Smurfette still wonders how she fits in. One day while adventuring with Hefty (Joe Manganiello), Clumsy (Jack McBrayer), and Brainy (Danny Pudi) near the Forbidden Forest, they're captured by Gargamel, who reveals that he plans to trap all the Smurfs, boil them in a potion, and steal their power. Aiding Gargamel in this endeavor is a map he claims shows where there's another "lost" Smurf village. Smurfette frees her friends and, defying Papa Smurf's orders, they travel beyond the borders of the Forbidden Forest and discover the other group of Smurfs, who all happen to be fierce females. Smurfette must convince the newly found Smurfs, who are led by Smurfwillow (Julia Roberts), that Gargamel may be on his way to kidnap and destroy them all.
Is it any good?
While this isn't the sort of animated film that teens and child-free adults will want to see, it's got just enough heart to hook younger audiences and remind them to embrace their uniqueness. The plot is fairly thin, but this is a story aimed at little kids, so that's not too much of a problem. The female Smurfs are like Amazons compared to the Smurf Village cohort. There's warrior archer Smurfstorm (a well-cast Michelle Rodriguez), perky and sweet Smurfblossom (Ellie Kemper), smart and decisive Smurflily (Ariel Winter), and, of course, the wise and maternal Smurfwillow.
Wilson's Gargamel is played in the standard, somewhat over-the-top manner, while his two minions strike the right balance between "dangerous" and "not quite killers." There's a pretty sad moment in the climax that may require hand holding and comfort for the preschool set -- but, never fear, all ends well. This completely animated adventure is notably better than the previous hybrid CGI-live action installments. By focusing on Smurfette, screenwriters Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon have created a girl-empowerment story that's sure to please young viewers and will finally really answer the question "Who is Smurfette?"
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the messages in Smurfs: The Lost Village. What is the movie sayin about what makes a Smurf a Smurf
What really makes Smurfette unique? How does the movie help promote the idea of female empowerment?
If you've seen the other Smurfs movies, how does this one compare? Do you prefer all-animation to the animation/live-action approach? Why or why not?
What's the appeal of remaking old cartoons like The Smurfs into movies? Do you think the goal is to share the cartoons with a new generation or to appeal to grown-ups who remember the cartoons from their own youth?
- In theaters: April 7, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: July 11, 2017
- Cast: Demi Lovato, Joe Manganiello, Rainn Wilson
- Director: Kelly Asbury
- Studio: Sony Pictures Releasing
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- Character strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 89 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild action and rude humor
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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