‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’: Staid story but visually engaging (IANS Review, Rating: **1/2)

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Film: “Smurfs: The Lost Village”; Director: Kelly Asbury; Voices of: Ariel Winter, Michelle Rodriguez, Julia Roberts, Joe Manganiello, Ellie Kemper, Mandy Patinkin, Rainn Wilson, Jake Johnson, Demi Lovato, Gordon Ramsay; Rating: **1/2

This third edition of Smurfs is a completely 3D animated feature and it does not waiver from the premise of the earlier two editions, making this story partially staid and boring for those who are on a Smurf trail.

But, for the uninitiated, this would be a cute colourful film, about Smurfette (Demi Lovato) the lone, blonde, female Smurf in the Smurf-village, a fantasy land. She was created by Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) the wizard, by using, “dark magic,” to assist him find Smurfs so that he can prepare the all-powerful magical concoction.

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Smurfette, who considers herself to be a true Smurf, after finding a strange map, realises Gargamel’s plans to take over “a lost village” of Smurfs. So, she along with her three Smurf friends; Clumsy (Jack McBrayer), Brainy (Danny Pudi) and Hefty (Joe Manganiello) take it upon themselves to find the village and warn them.

It is during their journey through the “forbidden forest,” chased by Gargamel along with his sullen cat and his multi-coloured bird of prey, that the fantasy story blossoms. There are some wonderful moments of imagination, such as the sequence in which the Smurfs get trapped in a cave and stumble upon a herd of fluorescent glow-in-the dark rabbits. They also encounter giant fire-breathing dragonflies, spitting plants and some impressively wicked white water rapids.

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Interspersed with little lessons of bonding, the plot of this film is simple and uncomplicated. Best of all is the way the film creates a useful girl-power message where Smurfette learns to feel valued and accepted. There is also a tear-jerking twist at the very end, though manipulative, that really works in the narrative.

The dialogues are witty and quirky, but never over the top. The voices lent by the star cast suit the characters to perfection.

Visually the computer generated images and 3D effects are marvellous. The animators have painstakingly ensured that each frame is picture-perfect with the right balance of vibrant action and colours.

Over all, “Smurfs: The Lost Village” is a pleasant film that will keep the kids as well as adults engaged.

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