What is a Smurfette anyway?
I mean, hey, all the other Smurfs in the village are as good as their names. Brainy Smurf is a really smart little guy. Hefty Smurf? Well, he’s the blue dude you want around when a bit of heavy lifting is in order. Even Table-Eating Smurf knows just what he’s good at.
Smurfette, though, she feels pretty directionless. Yes, she just happens to be the only female Smurf in the village. And that certainly makes her the specialest of special. But she doesn’t want to just be cute. Or nice. Or have naturally thick and wavy hair the color of sunshine.
She knows, of course, that everyone—from Clumsy Smurf to Papa Smurf—loves her dearly. But what was she meant to be?
Part of the problem is that Smurfette knows that at some point in the past she was just a lump of worthless clay. That’s right, in case you hadn’t heard, she was magically created by that dastardly (and slightly goofy) wizard Gargamel. He wanted to trick the Smurfs, capture them and drain them of their magic. But instead, the whole village embraced Smurfette and magically made her one of them. It was such a wonderful thing.
Deep down inside, though, Smurfette worries. She’s afraid that maybe, just maybe she’s only … a rotten apple that fell from the tree of Gargamel, a traitor who will someday hurt all those she loves. It’s a hypothetical fate too horrible to dwell on.
But then one day Smurfette has an opportunity to find out if there’s something more to her. She learns that there just might be another village of Smurfs secreted away somewhere in the Forbidden Forest. And what’s more, she learns that Gargamel has plans to find them and capture them. That is unless someone can find them and warn them first.
It would mean breaking Papa Smurf’s rules, of course. The place is called the Forbidden Forest, after all. But maybe that’s the kind of thing she was meant to do. Maybe a Smurfette is supposed to be courageous. Strong. Valiant.
Smurfette does indeed venture out to save the titular lost village. Clumsy, Brainy and Hefty volunteer to accompany her in that mission. In fact, along the way Gargamel himself falls into danger, and that quartet of Smurfs double back to rescue him, too. “We’re Smurfs, we do the right thing,” Smurfette declares, even though the evil Gargamel is ready to betray them. Later, Smurfette even goes so far as to offer the ultimate sacrifice to help her friends.
In the forest world of the Smurfs, magic is a natural part of things. They’re all magically imbued creatures. [Spoiler Warning] And though we never actually see them cast any spells, their combined magic and hand-in-hand love reanimates a lifeless lump of clay.
Gargamel, on the other hand, is all about using magic as a means to dominate others. He uses a machine to transfer Smurf magic to himself. And he magically gives himself a full head of hair and zaps people with his wand.
Hefty obviously has a crush on Smurfette, though she never quite recognizes it. Vanity Smurf obviously has a crush on … himself; we see him narcissistically gazing into a mirror. During the credits we see him quite startled as his reflection leans out of the mirror with puckered lips. Elsewhere, some kissing flowers give Hefty an unwanted smooch …
… and another exotic flower punches him with a leafy fist.
And that’s exactly the kind of never-too-perilous, rough-and-tumble hijinks that dominate the movie’s action sequences. Smurfs repeatedly get thumped about. Gargamel uses freeze balls to immobilize and capture Smurfs and to destroy a village. Characters fall in the water and appear unable to swim before being pulled out. Large flowers swallow up some Smurfs and then spit them back out. Firefly insects shoot balls of fire out of their mouths, singeing some Smurfs. Someone shoots a bird with a flaming arrow, but it survives.
Smurfs are captured and held in cages. Several get tossed into a contraption that swirls them around and draws out their magical essence in what looks like a lightly painful process.
Smurfette is hit with a very powerful magical blast, but she continues to absorb the painful attack until her friends are safe.
A character is comically kicked in the crotch.
A single use each of “oh my gosh” and “dang.” We also hear one odd exclamation of “jeez to bees.”
There’s a tiny bit of toilet humor here. When Brainy trips and falls and his glasses land on his backside, someone quips, “That’s what I call talking out of your butt.” And someone writes the word “toot” on a chalkboard as a joke.
Smurfette and three other Smurfs lie to Papa Smurf and purposely break his rules. Gargamel repeatedly claims that Smurfette is evil, though there’s never any indication that she is anything but good and caring.
The past two big-screen Smurf outings carried a relatively high-price-tag combination of live-action and animation. They were Hollywood movie-template concoctions with just enough silly, just enough sweet and just enough kick-’em-in-the-Smurfside snark to supposedly “appeal to the whole family.”
Thankfully, this newest Smurf flick sorta shoves, er, Smurfs that cynical strategy onto the junk heap and goes back to the kid-movie drawing board. Frankly, the Smurfs: The Lost Village‘s creators do something really brave: They make a movie … just for kids.
Yeah, there’s a just a dash of potty humor. But this all-animated kid’s fare never winks at the adults watching. It never splashes viewers with pop-culture gunk or doles out tucked-beneath-the-surface innuendo that it hopes little guys won’t catch. Nope, Smurfs: The Lost Village is a rollicking story aimed exclusively at youngsters.
Don’t be locked into someone else’s label for you, it tells the tykes. Give of yourself, care for others, do your best, and most of all, be there for the ones you love. Why? Well, because those are all the right things to do.
And that’s a pretty Smurftastic set of messages for kids … and for parents, too, come to think of it.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.