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Soundtrack review: Smurfs- the lost village (Christopher Lennertz – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Smurfs- the lost village (Christopher Lennertz – 2017)

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Smurfs: The Lost Village is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated comedy-adventure film produced by Sony Pictures Animation and The Kerner Entertainment Company, with animation by Sony Pictures Imageworks, for Columbia Pictures. It is based on The Smurfs comic book series created by the Belgian comics artist Peyo, and is a reboot unrelated to Sony’s previous live-action/animated films based on the series. In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting race through the Forbidden Forest leading to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history. Christopher Lennertz wrote the score.

Ah, the Smurf, the little blue dwarfs that I was obsessed with as a child; there were no comic books for me or superheroes, I just liked the Smurfs and Gargamel and his at and cauldron and every time my father went abroad on business he used to bring me Smurfs in different shapes, sizes, stickers or whatever. Now my little girl is into them and I bet Christopher Lennertz is as well since the opening theme of his score, “To the village” is a breath of joyful air. I am not the biggest animation scores fan but I have a feeling this one is going to be special. “Meet the Smurfs” is just a nugget of magic with the flute and the angelic choir; then playfulness and fun ensues and I am ready to be part of this community. Such an enjoyable and warm opening goes a long way for me in liking a score. “Gargamel’s lair” introduces the mischievous bad guy and it’s a “Harry Potter” like orchestral theme where the horns dominated and create a feeling of power and menace.

The thing about this animation score is that it doesn’t sound like animation score and maybe this is why I like it so much; this is a full blown fantasy movie score, epic and spectacular, dark when it needs to and magical the rest of the time. “Get those Smurfs!” will jump right into my running playlists with it’s loud and epic orchestral sound that just motivates and inspires me to charge. On the other end of the spectrum there is the whimsical beauty of “The enchanted forest” with its inviting warmth. This section of the score is a musical fairytale and Christopher Lennertz takes the time to describe this beautiful land with flute and harp and other gentle sounding instruments. The fun I am having listening to “Rabbit Warren Hoedown” is indescribable; Lennertz goes wonderfully nuts with what is for sure one of his best cues ever. I listened to it quite a few times before moving on and you have to hear it for yourselves; it’s a cue to be experienced instead of read about. I am looking left and right and can’t decide which cue delights me the most; the composer really was in the zone when he wrote this one as every minute is fun and spectacular and an orchestral feast that I can’t get enough of. I listen to “Raft chase” and feel the need to adjust once again my personal cue rankings from this score. What a musical rush, what a rollercoaster ride!

I love the playful cues, I love the fairy tale ones but my favourite moments from “Smurfs – The lost village” are the action pieces. After each of them I need to catch my breath and I experience a great desire to see the recording session and actually watch the orchestra perform them. This is without a doubt what one the best and richest animation scores in the past few years; I think the last time I was so excited about an animation score was for John Powell’s “How to train your dragon 2” and that’s saying a lot. Do not miss this one.

Cue rating: 95 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 39 / 52

Album excellence: 74%

Highlights:
To the Village
Meet the Smurfs
Gargamel’s Lair
Get Those Smurfs!
The Enchanted Forest
Discovering Dragonflies
Rabbit Warren Hoedown
Campfire Stories
Raft Chase
They’re Coming: Dogfight
Papa and Smurfette
A Lonely Purpose
Dark Magic
Smurfette Saves the Day
End Credits Suite
Smurf Eating Flowers (Bonus Track)

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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