2011’s The Smurfs was an animated journey into Hades, a film that made watching hyperactive miniature CGI creatures more excruciating than seemed possible at the time. The sequel, The Smurfs 2, was marginally better, mostly by dint of having set the expectations bar so low the film could’ve tripped over it and still cleared the thing, which was essentially what it did. And despite being green-lit before the second one was even made, the third film in this misbegotten franchise has taken almost four years to distractedly amble its way to the big screen.
Smurfs: The Lost Village, doesn’t have a proper trailer yet, which might be a blessing, depending on how many fart jokes per minute will constitute the final film. Instead, we get the above trailer, which is one of those fourth-wall-breaking sequences where Clumsy Smurf (Jack McBrayer, taking over for the gone-too-soon Anton Yelchin) rips down the Sony Animation title screen, and the Smurfs all stare into the yawning void of the supposed audience. Perhaps coming face to face with their own meaningless existence, they gaze in awe, confronted with the horrifying truth that they are mere pawns in a larger universe hell-bent on making them perform for the amusement of children too young to understand how much these films suck. But don’t worry: The trailer still makes room for a massive belch, and the sight of a shiny, reflective Smurf ass.
Although maybe this new movie will make an effort. The entire voice cast has been replaced, and there’s nary a Neil Patrick Harris or Hank Azaria in sight. With a script by writers from The Goldbergs and Samantha Who?, perhaps The Lost Village looks to right the course of the dreadful first two films, finally delivering on the promise of a Smurfs movie filled with wonder and delight. Or maybe it will just deliver another Brinks truck full of money to the doorstep of everyone involved, quality control be damned. That is also a possibility.