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Movie Review: ‘The Smurfs: The Lost Village’ Is a Semi-Lost Cause

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The Smurfs: The Lost Village Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

The Smurfs are back for their third movie! Read our movie review to get all the Smurfy details of The Smurfs: The Lost Village:

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s the first fully computer-animated Smurfs movie – a major improvement over the two previous live-action hybrid movies – I’ll admit that The Smurfs: The Lost Village does match the original cartoon in many aspects. The characters appear more faithful in their cartoony nature, favoring eyeballs that run together, noses that jut outward and short legs with big feet. The evil wizard Gargamel and his sinisterly smart cat Azrael are as devious and comical as they were in the cartoon. Everything from the setting to the character motivations (limited as they are) is as faithful as a Smurfs movie can get. But were the Smurfs all that engrossing a cartoon to begin with?

The Smurfs: The Lost Village Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

The Smurfs face off against the wizard and his cat.

While the Smurfs were a staple of 1980s animated television – spanning the entire decade – they were a fairly simple concept that seemed to just barely hold a half-hour of programming. The spirited blue Smurfs, coordinated by their designations for specific functions of their society, do their best to live in peace in their mushroom community, trying to avoid Gargamel’s grasp. As a kid of the era, it was enough to keep me entertained. As an adult, it’s a premise that wears thin in retrospect. And as an adult watching The Lost Village, this fault becomes all the more apparent.

To be fair, the movie does address a long-held debate about Smurf lore: Why are there no other female Smurfs besides Smurfette? Not only is Smurfette the only woman among the all-boy tribe, but also she’s a bit of a blank slate having previously been an infiltration creation of Gargamel. Whereas every Smurf knows exactly what they were born to do, Smurfette is distant from the rest of her clan in trying to find her niche. So, of course, she must discover a new tribe of all-female Smurfs in a secret part of the magical forest. To discover this tribe, she embarks on a journey with the more visually distinct Smurfs of Clumsy, Brainy and Hefty who must learn to not only work together, but also see Smurfette as more than just the local blonde without direction.

The Smurfs: The Lost Village Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

More girl Smurfs?

This is very much the Smurfette movie with a feminist edge. The female tribe is not a similarly peaceful collective, but one of tough and defensive women, armed with pikes and cautious of outsiders that make the male Smurfs remark “lady Smurfs mean business.” The Smurfs begin the film describing Smurfette as someone who is good at nothing, later looking directly into the camera as they state she can be anything she wants to be. Sure, I like when a movie can support a message about girls being able to do anything, especially from a franchise where there was only one girl. But I think girls deserve something that doesn’t pander either.

Also searching for the female tribe of Smurfs is Gargamel, but surprisingly not as cartoonish as Hank Azaria’s portrayal from the previous movies. Oh sure, he does have plenty moments that made me smile, but the gags are more amusing on paper. The bulk of his comedy relies on the silly lines about being one step behind his cat Azrael and how his ego causes him to stammer, but Rainn Wilson can simply not do his character justice. Gargamel should be a cackling and devilish goof, per both the history of the character and the faithful design present in this movie. Hearing Rainn deliver such a lackluster performance for such a funny character is rather shocking from a usually comedic actor. He can perform deadpan dorkiness with gusto, but isn’t as multi-talented to play a one-toothed wizard bent on capturing little blue creatures.

Related: ‘The Boss Baby’ Takes #1 Spot in Opening Weekend Smackdown

The same goes for the rest of the cast that doesn’t deliver strong performances, but I suppose they couldn’t for being so tightly wedged into atypical cartoon roles. Joe Manganiello feels fitting in the role of the muscle-obsessed Hefty, but tries too hard to push the tough guy voice that his casting seems almost pointless. Jack McBrayer does his usual blubbering as Clumsy, but I’ve heard him do much better in this same type of role. Danny Pudi seems to be putting the most into his role as Brainy and while he does fit the character well, he never really breaks out in such a role either.

The Smurfs: The Lost Village Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Up to their usual antics.

And the casting of Demi Lovato is a solid choice for Smurfette, but this role seems pointless if she’s never given a moment to bust out with a song, considering the lyrically heavy soundtrack. Shouldn’t she be the one singing the closing song “I’m a Lady” and not Meghan Trainor?

Read more for the rest of The Smurfs: The Lost Village movie review:

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Robert DeNiro de-agedHave you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. ????

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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