If you're old enough (as I am!) to remember the 1980's run of the Saturday morning class "The Smurfs", you'll probably be psyched about this weekend's opening of the newest installment in the Smurf franchise. Recapturing much of the charm and classic lore of Smurf Creator Peyo's original vision, Smurfs: The Lost Village tells a new chapter of the little blue guys' story:

In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a rollercoaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history!

Not only did I have a blast attending a prescreening of this new treat. I also had the chance to sit down with director Kelly Asbury (who also charmingly voices Nosey Smurf!) last week to learn about how this latest iteration came to be. Asbury clearly shares a devotion to remaining true to Peyo's original vision for his characters while also employing animation technology's latest tricks and tools to share Smurf mania with a whole new generation of smurfly fans.

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The result is a film that is fast, fun, and filled with eye candy. Embedded in The Lost Village is Smurfette's (Demi Lovato) search for her true identity. But what could have slipped into a solely "girl power" message instead--in my Smurfly opinion--evolves into a deeper invitation for each of us, whether girl, boy or Smurf, to consider our own role, our own place in our community, and our own potential for heroism.

Smurfs: The Lost Village is a rare opportunity to take our children to a film that is not cringeworthy. Some sensitive little ones may be briefly frightened by moments of loud action, and I caught at least one instance of the "b" word ("butt"), but for the most part this is simply a fun romp into a world that holds the capacity for both fun and learning.

Rating Information:

The film contains occasional peril and some mild scatological humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

To celebrate the launch of Smurfs: The Lost Village, we're giving our readers the chance to win two of the fun new Smurfs toys. Be sure to visit the official Smurfs: The Lost Village website for coloring pages, Smurfly drawing lessons and other Smurflicious ways to enjoy the Smurfs with your family.

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Copyright 2017 Lisa M. Hendey