A MORE traditional throwback to the popular cartoon series about the little blue creatures, Smurfs: The Lost Village wisely drops the live action elements (as seen in the 2011 and 2013 films) and injects a bit of girl power.
Being the only female and Smurf created superficially by the evil Gargamel (Rainn Wilson), Smurfette (Demi Lovato) is trying to find her place in Smurf Village.
While out and about, she spots what appears to be another Smurf disappearing beyond the wall that borders the Forbidden Forest and, along with her blue buddies Clumsy (Jack McBrayer), Brainy (Danny Pudi), and Hefty (Joe Manganiello) tries to track down the mystery character.
Meanwhile, Gargamel continues in his attempts to capture the Smurfs to drain their essence and become a more powerful wizard.
Smurfs: The Lost Village is a far more straightforward approach in reigniting interest in the franchise, looking more like an extended episode of the cartoon series than a modern spin, which some could find an endearing approach on a nostalgic level.
Even the CGI animation looks like a close recreation of the original animation.
In doing so, it is squarely aimed at the under-10s crowd, with little in the way of jokes or gags for grown-ups who have accompanied their children.
However, props must go to the filmmakers who go where other franchises fail to: leading the story with a strong female character.
Smurfette, usually relegated to supporting character or window dressing, is front and centre here driving the story and leading the action, and rounded out with some internal conflict and identity crises.
A step forward in one sense and yet a stand-still in others when it comes to the Smurf canon, Smurfs: The Lost Village is passable school holiday fare.
Smurfs: The Lost Village (G)
Directed by: Kelly Asbury
Starring: Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas now