The Smurfs 2
The Smurfs 2
Director: Raja Gosnell
Writers: J. David Stern, David N. Weiss, Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Karey Kirkpatrick, Peyo
Cast: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Jayma Mays, Jacob Tremblay, Nancy O'Dell, Mr. Krinkle
Voice Cast: Katy Perry, Christina Ricci, Jonathan Winters, J.B. Smoove, George Lopez, Anton Yelchin, John Oliver, Frank Welker, Tom Kane, Fred Armisen, Jeff Foxworthy, Alan Cumming, Gary Basaraba, Adam Wylie, Joel McCrary, Kenan Thompson, Kevin Lee, Paul Reubens, Shaquille O'Neal, B.J. Novak, Jimmy Kimmel, Mario Lopez, Shaun White, John Kassir
Synopsis: The Smurfs team up with their human friends to rescue Smurfette, who has been kidnapped by Gargamel since she knows a secret spell that can turn the evil sorcerer's newest creation - creatures called the Naughties - into real Smurfs.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some rude humor and action
Note: This review is in honor of Jonathan Winters, who died earlier this year on April 11, 2013. A well established actor, and I'm sure a very fine human being. May he rest in peace.
Comic Legend Jonathan Winters Dies at 87
La, La, La, La, La, the sequel that nobody wanted is here La, la, la, la!
Well considering how amazingly low the last "Smurfs" movie set the bar in terms of quality, it would seem that all the sequel would have to do is show some hint of effort, and it would automatically be considered a huge step up from the first film. Needless to say, "The Smurfs 2" does exactly that this time around. Does that mean it's a great movie? Oh heavens no. It's still a terribly written movie with a lot of cliches, but it's actually not as bad as you might think.
The story essentially takes place years later after Gargamel (Hank Azaria) was left in our world, as the smurfs safely returned home back to the middle ages. Smurfette (Katy Perry) is constantly haunted by nightmares of her creation, which tend to happen around her birthday. Unlike the other smurfs, she was a creation of Gargamel years back known as a naughty. What's a naughty you ask? It's essentially an evil version of the smurfs except they have tan skin instead of blue.
However, due to a series of events, Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) somehow manages to turn her into a real smurf by showing her how to love and care. Aw isn't that so sweet? By love, I'm not talking about the weird perverted kind either. No, I would say it's more along the lines of the love you share with your family, as Papa Smurf becomes something of a surrogate father figure to Smurfette.
Although it's been years since she's become a smurf, she's still constantly tormented on whether or not she truly belongs there. And, the little misunderstanding about her thinking that the other smurfs forgot her birthday doesn't help either.
Meanwhile, Gargamel uses what's left of the smurf essence, he got from the last movie, to perform all sorts of magical acts for audiences. Needless to say, Gargamel has become something of a celebrity because of all this. Heck, even his cat, Azrael, becomes famous too, as he has his own facebook page. Sadly, like the last film, this one also features various pop culture references as well. But, I digress.
It's also revealed that Gargamel has created two more naughties, but he's unable to turn them into smurfs, so he can live off their essence. Let alone even take over the world like he plans to. Oh what's a poor wizard to do? One minute you want to enslave, and torture, an innocent race like the smurfs to gain enough power to rule the world. The next minute, you find yourself barely getting by off your smurf essence to afford your luxurious penthouse suite in Paris, France. Oh dear, what is poor old Gargamel going to do?
Long story short, Gargamel hatches a scheme to kidnap Smurfette, to force her to tell him the secret as to how Papa Smurf converted her into a real smurf. Once he has this knowledge, his plan is to create more naughties, and then turn them into smurfs, so he can take over the world.
Oh, there's also a subplot involving Neil Patrick Harris' character coming to terms about his step dad being his only father figure in his life; even though he misses his real dad that walked out on him and his mom years ago.
Anyway, as some readers can tell, the story is nothing if not insanely predictable. Unless you've never seen a movie in your life, then chances are you know exactly how this film will end within the first ten minutes of it. Hell, you can tell exactly how it ends just by watching the trailers alone. However, does that mean it's a bad movie?
Honestly, I don't think it is. True, the film has a lot of problems, as the script is just horrendous. The characters are poorly developed, and all of the jokes are "hit or miss." Plus to make matters worse, most of the actors aren't even trying to put forth that much effort in this movie. Hell, I was extremely surprised to see even Neil Patrick Harris phoning it in with his performance, as you can tell he's just there for his pay check.
Fortunately though, Hank Azaria seems to be having a lot of fun playing the evil Gargamel, as he's definitely one of the brights spots about "Smurfs 2." As for the voice cast of the smurfs, I thought they were arguably the best part of the whole film. Out of all the cast members, the voice actors and Hank Azaria seemed to be the only ones that were even trying to put on a good performance. In fact, I wished the film had focused more on them being back in their original time period because the novelty of seeing the Smurfs in our world again kind of wears off after the first movie.
Although the story is flawed, there are some good things about it. For starters, it had a very strong message about family, and how it doesn't matter where a person comes from, as the only thing that matters is who they choose to be. And most of all, it doesn't matter if a parent is blood related to the child they raise, as it takes a special kind of love from a person to take on another person's kid and raise them as if they were their own. In the end, isn't that a great message you'd want your kids to learn?
As for the animation, I thought the CGI was fairly well done, and audiences will definitely get their money's worth if they see it in 3-D.
Overall, I won't go on record saying that this is a great movie, but I honestly can't say it's as bad as most of the critics make it out to be either. If you're just looking for a fairly decent family movie to watch, or if you're just a smurfs fan in general, then "Smurfs 2" isn't that bad to check out. In the end, I'd have to give this movie a two out of four. It may not be the best movie out there, but it's entertaining for what it is. Definitely worth checking out once it comes out on DVD/Blue Ray, but I wouldn't waste my money seeing this in theaters.
© 2013 Steven Escareno