It's been a few years since the Smurfs — those lovable little blue creatures who live in mushroom houses — have graced the big screen, but this weekend, they're back in the animated movie "Smurfs: The Lost Village." Featuring an all-star cast of voices, catchy pop songs peppered throughout, and another Smurfy adventure almost foiled by their arch nemesis Gargamel (voiced by Rainn Wilson), the latest movie is all animated, mostly kid-friendly and full of girl power.
As fans of the franchise know, the Smurfs are a village of asexual males with one exception — Smurfette (voiced by Demi Lovato), who was created by the evil Gargamel to lead him to the Smurf village, which is led by the kind and gentle patriarch Papa Smurf (voiced by Mandy Patinkin). All of the Smurfs are named for their main personality trait. Hefty Smurf (voiced by Joe Manganiello) is strong, Clumsy Smurf (voiced by Jack McBrayer) is clumsy, and Brainy Smurf (voiced by Danny Pudi) is smart. As the story begins, Smurfette is questioning what it means to be Smurfette when she accidentally spies an unknown, masked Smurf watching her in the woods. Unfortunately, she accidentally gives away the secret that another community of Smurfs exists to Gargamel, so she, Hefty, Clumsy and Brainy set off to warn the new village with Gargamel, his pet cat Azrael, and his pet vulture Monty in hot pursuit. When they realize the lost village is a community of all-female Smurfs, Smurfette questions where she belongs and what her purpose is.
So what should parents know about "Smurfs: The Lost Village"?
It doesn't feature live actors like the previous two Smurfs movies, and there's not a lot of adult innuendo this time around either, making it better suited for younger children. The jokes are silly and kid-friendly, and the characters are mostly likable. The group of Smurfs do fall into numerous scenes of danger, and (spoiler alert) there's a sad scene where a beloved Smurf appears to have died. There's no profanity, but one or two instances of "butt" used for laughs. Also, Azrael and Monty suffer mistreatment that, if copied by impressionable little ones, could hurt their pets at home.
The movie has a strong message of boys learning to respect girls and vice versa, as well as a message that you should embrace whatever makes you unique. Plus, there's a not-so-subtle lesson about teamwork and friendship benefitting everyone.
Overall, this movie is aimed at little kids and won't do much for teens and most adults, but it's a fun frolic back into the world of the Smurfs and worth the price of admission if you're looking for a family friendly outing to the movies.
"Smurfs: The Lost Village" is rated PG for some mild action and rude humor. It is now playing in theaters nationwide.