The Smurfs And Their New Film “The Lost Village”
Pierre Culliford is a Belgian writer and artist who was born on June 25th, 1928, and passed away on December 24th, 1992, at the age of 64. You’ve probably never heard of him and that’s completely understandable seeing as he did most of his work under a pseudonym. However, we guarantee you can recognise his work with no problem at all. Some artists have the power to be recognized by a single name: Bono, Adele, Cher, Prince, Elvis… you get the idea. Pierre chose to do the same.
So What was his “pen name?” Peyo! What. Still nothing? OK fine He’s the mastermind behind “Le Flüte å six trous!” Oh my god, are you kidding me? You still don’t know who this is? English maybe? “The Flute with six holes!” you’re hopeless! Smurf-Off! You bet your Smurfing Smurf I’m Smurfed. This is just Smurftastic. Yeah he’s the guy that invented the little blue elf like gnomes we all know and “love.” The Smurfs.
Smurfs made their debut in a 1958 issue of the Johan and Peewit comic series titled ‘The Flute with six holes”. Over the last 50+ years, what started as a comic has expanded into an empire which includes advertising, TV shows, films, Ice Capades, toys, video games. 10 animated short films were created between 1961 and 1967 and aired on television. The original of which were black and white. Five of the shorts were cut together and presented in Belgian theaters in 1965 as an 87-minute film titled “Les Aventures des Schtroumpfs”. The shorts consisted of Smurfnapped, The Smurfs And The Magical Egg, The Black Smurfs, The Smurfs And The Dragon, and finally The Flying Smurf.
In 1976, a film adaptation of the original comic that featured the Smurfs was released titled “La flüte å six Schtroumpfs” and in 1983, the United States got an English version titled “The Smurfs and The Magic Flute”. Between 1982 and 2013, there’s been 20 video games made for arcades, PC, all the major consoles and in 2010, the franchise entered the mobile market (Android, iOS) releasing Smurf Village.
Undoubtedly, the most recognisable element of the Smurf world is the animated television show produced by Hanna Barbera Productions. The Smurfs ran for a staggering 9 seasons from September 12th, 1981, to December 2nd, 1989. A total of 256 episodes were aired which translates to a total of 418 segments/narratives because some episodes offered two stories.
Sony pictures began their Smurf trilogy on July 29th, 2011. It starred Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Waters, Katy Perry, George Lopez, and the late Anton Yelchin. Despite winning 2 awards and being nominated for another 7, the film was not received well by anyone over the age of 7. Currently, the 2011 Smurf film has an abysmal rating of just 5.5 out of 10 on IMDB which is based on the votes of nearly 70,000 members. In 2013, the follow-up was released with a large portion of the same cast and is currently rated at a 5.4 on IMDB. But, the real numbers (read: $) don’t lie.
The first two films were produced for the combined cost of $225,000,000 and made back $912,296,846. So, it’s clear why Sony would continue to make the films even if they aren’t well rated. The fact is, they’re movies for kids, and they make money – crazy amounts of SMURFING money.
Today the last film in Sony’s trilogy was released. Sony decided to take a sidestep from what they had been doing, this film will be fully animated whereas the previous two films were live-action. This story has Smurfette and leading Clumsy, Brainy, and Hefty on an adventure through the Forbidden Forest guided by a mysterious map. The friends uncover the biggest secret in Smurf history. The Actors lending their voices to the film are Demi Lovato, Jake Johnson, Rainn Wilson, Julia Roberts, Joe Manganiello, Michelle Rodriguez, and Ariel Winter.
We’ve also got a new director, Kelly Asbury, who is no stranger to creating hit animated films. He has a writing credit on the 1991 version of Beauty and the Beast, animation/art department credits on Frozen, Wreck-it Ralph, Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, Toy Story, The Rescuers Down Under, The Prince of Egypt, James And The Giant Peach, and The Little Mermaid. On top of his animation and artistic credentials, he directed both Shrek 2 and Gnomeo and Juliet.
The trailer feels like any other animated children’s film. It’s fun and safe for the whole family. It most surely does lack the cringey feel of the previous two live action films – which is a good thing. In fact, it actually looks and feels great for both its visuals and tone. It really makes you wish that they had made the first two films 100% animated.