Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017) Review

Ditching the hybrid live action of the previous instalment for a purely animated outing, the Smurfs are back, and this time they’re still obsessing over Smurfette.

While the Smurfs live happily in their topless blue utopia of nominative determinism, Smurfette frets that she doesn’t have a purpose like her brethren. But a chance encounter with a mysterious Smurf-like creature sets her off on a journey of discovery and a race to find a lost village of Smurfs before the evil wizard Gargamel does.

The arrival of a new Smurfs film, if nothing else, at least solves the mystery of why James Cameron has been delaying the “Avatar” sequels: he was waiting for new source material to adapt. I’m calling it now, “Avatar 2” will deal with the discovery of a ‘lost’ tribe of Na’avi. Turnaround is fair play, I guess because there’s more than a hint of Pandora in the forbidden forest the Smurfs must explore to find their lost people.

The decision to step back from bringing the Smurfs into the real world frees the franchise up from having to maintain an ironic, self-aware edge and the resultant adventure is all the better for it. Without the real world, the oddities of the Smurf society are less obvious and their charm can shine through. The Lost Village is a frothy, fun adventure that skips along singing a happy tune. It’s bright, colourful and pretty funny to boot, even if the idea of a lost tribe of female Smurfs raises far more questions than it answers.

The littlest Craggling (aged 4) sagely pronounced this film as ‘better than “Trolls”’ and while I wouldn’t go that far, it’s certainly the best modern Smurfs movie to date.