“Smurfs: The Lost Village” (Columbia)

Papa Smurf, voiced by Mandy Patinkin, and Smurfwillow, voiced by Julia Roberts, appear in the animated movie "Smurfs: The Lost Village." The Catholic News Service classification is A-I -- general patronage. (CNS/Sony)

By Catholic News Service

Colorful but unengaging children’s cartoon in which, as the blue elves of the title — Mandy Patinkin voices their leader — continue to defend themselves against the schemes of the evil wizard (voice of Rainn Wilson) who has long sought to steal their youth-restoring, power-bestowing “essence,” the sole female among them (voiced by Demi Lovato) has an identity crisis which leads to a journey of discovery on which she’s joined by a trio of her male counterparts (voices of Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer and Danny Pudi).

In helming the third in a series of feature-length outings for the creatures first dreamt up by Belgian cartoonist Peyo, director Kelly Asbury eschews the mix of animation and live action used in the two previous films. While the result is visually pleasing, and screenwriters Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon’s script promotes teamwork and good moral choices, the story they tell will satisfy only the least demanding youngsters.

Occasional peril, 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.

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