Plot: What’s it about?
I’m raking my brain to think how long it’s been since I sat down and watched an episode of the Smurfs. I used to get up around 6:30 on Saturday mornings to watch the morning cartoons and the Smurfs was one that I rarely missed. I have no idea of the appeal of the little “things”, but odds are with them, you could always identify one of them with whom you could identify (I think mine was Vanity, because, well…I’m vain). Say what you will about these little characters, but they’ve persevered through the ages. Video games, television and now feature-length films – they’re still going strong. Smurfs: The Lost Village represents the third film in the last several years and it might be the best one yet.
Fans of the first two Smurfs movies might be a little thrown off as this is a fully animated film, whereas the other two combined live action and animation. In this installment we find that Smurfette (voiced by Demi Lovato who replaced Katy Perry) is struggling with the fact that she’s not a “real” Smurf. She was created out of clay by Gargamel (voiced by Rainn Wilson). And since she’s the only female Smurf, it’s troubling to her. Upon discovering that Gargamel is planning an attack on the “lost village” of other Smurfs, she and some of the others: Brainy (voiced by Danny Pudi), Hefty (voiced by Joe Manganiello) and Clumsy (voiced by Jack McBrayer) set out to thwart his plan. Eventually finding their way to the location, they meet SmurfWillow (voiced by Julia Roberts) and, without giving too much away, make a pretty surprising discovery.
There’s a not so subtle message in this film, but it’s also a very positive one: girl power. This isn’t some corny catchphrase, but rather does show that just because someone is female, it doesn’t mean they can be easily dismissed or that they’re somehow inferior. When we’ve got a President who treats women as second class citizens, it’s important to remember that we’re all equal. And this movie does a great job of bringing that home. Having seen the other two Smurfs movies, I can safely say that this is the best of the bunch. I don’t know if it’s the plot, the fact that it’s all animated or a combination of both. While not quite as successful as the others, it wasn’t a total flop either. Fans of these films will certainly enjoy this one.
Video: How’s it look?
Sony has released this on both Ultra HD/4K and Blu-ray (and DVD, of course). To be honest, I don’t see the logic behind releasing an animated movie in Ultra HD. I think the Blu-ray is good-looking enough that the HDR “benefit” from the 4K version will be passive at most. And that’s pretty much the case here. Don’t get me wrong, the film looks lovely and amazing, but I think the 4K is a bit of an overkill. The 1.85:1 image is so rich, full and deep of colors you feel like you could be immersed in their little blue world. I honestly had a difficult time distinguishing between the Blu-ray and 4K disc. Still, if you opt for this set then you’ll get both to choose from and you can make up your own mind. All I can really say is that whatever version you go with – it’ll look amazing. This is perfection in its purest (blue) form.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The movie is chock full of sound, songs and embodies the Dolby Atmos soundtrack that’s present on the Ultra HD disc (the Blu-ray has a DTS HD Master Audio track). Vocals are rich, pure and crisp and I never thought I’d say this about a Smurfs movie but…it rocks! There’s just another level with films that contain an Atmos track and this one really showcases all it’s capable of. Directional effects are used effectively, the atmospheric sound reverberates and gives a “movie theater” like feel (which is the point). That and the music included within sounds pretty good as well. It’s hard to fault the way this sounds and on all levels – it delivers.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Filmmaker Commentary – The commentary by director Kelly Asbury is a fairly standard track, though she does address the message she was trying to get across (“girl power”) and she’s clearly a very strong woman. She tells of the decision to go “all animated” as well as some of the different casting and story choices as well. I’m always dubious of commentary tracks on children’s movies. I don’t think the kids will ever listen to them and I’m sure the adults have no interest either. Maybe they do it for those that review the discs? Probably not.
- Music Video – Meghan Trainor’s “I’m A Lady”
- The Emoji Movie Sneak Peek
- Featurettes – None of these run that long and to type out the descriptions takes more time than some of them ran. The titles are fairly self-explanatory.
- Kids at Heart! The Making of Smurfs: The Lost Village
- Demi Lovato Meets Smurfette
- Lost Village Dance Along
- Smurfify Your Nails
- Baker Smurf’s Mini Kitchen
- How To Draw Smurfette
- How To Draw Brainy
- How To Draw Clumsy
- Making The Song “You Will Always Find Me In Your Heart”
- The Sound Of The Smurfs
- The Lost Auditions
- Deleted Scenes
- Smurfberry Blast
- Brainy’s Experiment
- Bridge Escape
- Gargamel’s Lair
The Bottom Line
I won’t say that I ever “lost faith” in the Smurfs. They’ve been around for nearly four decades so they’ve clearly done something right. This latest installment contains a great, positive message and was actually far more entertaining than I’d have thought possible. The film both looks and sounds amazing and there are enough features (both kid and adult friendly) to warrant a purchase.