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Smurfs – The Lost Village empowered by Demi Lovato

The new all-Smurf, all-animated movie may be the most adult take on the pint sized blue creatures ever. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” is a hero’s journey, a character in search of a purpose. It’s Joseph Conrad via Smurf Village. Smurfette’s “Heart of Darkness.”

This film opens with an introduction of all its characters living in Smurf Village – there’s Jokey, Grouchy, Nosy, Nerdy, Therapist and random ones like Table Eater.

Smurfs: The Lost Village

Smurf fans know she is the only female Smurf, created by wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) from a lump of clay to sow the seeds of jealousy in Smurf Village. With the help of Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin) she transformed, becoming a beacon of sweetness-and-light and the love interest of Smurfs everywhere.

Smurfette has really good hair. It’s full, lustrous and incredibly shiny. And it doesn’t matter whether she’s running, jumping, flying or falling, it always stays perfectly in place (Note to self: find out what hairspray she’s using).

The film mainly focuses on Smurfette (Demi Lovato), Hefty (Joe Manganiello), Brainy (Danny Pudi) and Clumsy (Jack McBrayer) as they embark on an adventure to find a mysterious village inhabited by a group of never-before-seen Smurfs.

The Lost Village isn’t that Smurfing bad, at least for a Smurfs movie

The new story finds Smurfette voiced by Demi Lovato and pondering her place in the world. All the other perky pint sized blue creatures have descriptive names—Clumsy Smurf (Jack McBrayer), Jokey Smurf (Gabriel Iglasias) and Baker Smurf (Gordon Ramsey)—but what exactly, she wonders, is ‘ette’ supposed to mean?

Her quest of self-discovery leads to the Forbidden Forest where, for the first time, she sees others just like her, girl Smurfs with names like Smurfstorm (Michelle Rodriguez), Smurfwillow (Julia Roberts) and Smurfblossom (Ellie Kemper).

Unfortunately Gargamel, on the hunt for fresh Smurfs to drain of their essence so he can become the most powerful wizard in the world, takes note and makes a plan to invade this previously uncharted Smurf settlement. “If it wasn’t for you,” Gargamel cackles to Smurfette, “I wouldn’t have known about those other Smurfs!” With the help of Clumsy, the bespectacled Brainy (Danny Pudi) and strongman Hefty (Joe Manganiello) the plucky Smurfette sets off to sound warning bells.

They must reach them first before the evil wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) gets his hands on them and drain them off their Smurf essence.

Things get quite predictable from here on. The age-old Gargamel-Smurfs conflict continues.

First though, the little blue ones must navigate the perils of the Forbidden Forest, a colourful place where the flora and fauna are have minds of their own and aren’t happy to receive visitors. “Nice forest, nice flowers,” says Hefty. “Not nice flowers!” In the inevitable showdown between our heroes, the new Smurfs of the Lost Village and Gargamel, someone shouts, “Smurfette, why did you do this to us?” Gargamel’s chilling response? “Because it was her purpose.”

There’s that word again, purpose. It’s at the heart of Smurfette’s journey. Is she a pseudo-Smurf, a former lump of clay masquerading as part of the tribe? Of course not. The story is one long set up for a feel good message about being anything you want to be and defying labels placed upon you by other people.

Along the way there is loads of gently paced action for young viewers, silly jokes and lots of ear-wormy songs.
“30 Rock’s” Jack McBrayer naturally has the Smurfiest voice of all the Smurfs in Smurfdom but is supported by playful work from Wilson, Kemper, Manganiello and Lovato.

She doesn’t have any songs on the soundtrack, but Demi Lovato is a huge part of the new animated movie Smurfs: The Lost Village, in theaters today. She voices the role of Smurfette, the only female Smurf…or so we’ve been led to believe.

“You’ve always known Smurfette as the only girl Smurf and it’s time that that changes,” Demi told ABC Radio about her character. “Y’know, she wanted to know more about her identity, and so she sets out on this adventure and she learns who she is. And you get to find out why she’s the only girl Smurf…and if she is the only girl Smurf.”

“My character Smurfette is very curious,” adds Demi. “She wants to know what her purpose is so she sets out on this adventure and she jeopardizes her safety…she’s independent, she’s a bit mischievous, but most of all, she’s brave and courageous.”

Image result for demi lovato poster blogspot.com

Demi says she loved having the opportunity to portray a strong female character because it’s a huge part of her art, whether she’s singing a song or starring in a movie.

“It’s always important for me to think about the roles that I’ll be playing or the messages that I put in my music,” she explains. “I always want there to be some sort of strength behind every song that I put out or character that I play.”

“I want people to feel empowered,” Demi adds. “And I’m glad that this is a role that younger people can look at and feel empowered by.”

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Smurfs: The Lost Village, 2017
Ratings
Critic reviews
A pure digital fantasy, with elegant and tactile animation, so it’s more true to the Smurf spirit. Full review

Owen Gleiberman
Variety
While this isn’t the sort of animated film that teens and child-free adults will want to see, it’s got just enough heart to hook younger audiences and remind them to embrace their uniqueness. Full review

Sandie Angulo Chen
Common Sense Media
Frankly, the Smurfs: The Lost Village’s creators do something really brave: They make a movie … just for kids. Full review
Bob Hoose
Plugged In

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