Judge Patrick Naugle is the smurfiest smurf othat ever smurfed a smurf.
When last we saw the Smurfs they were safe in their village while the evil wizard Gargamel had been left behind on earth. In the intervening years Gargamel has become a worldwide theatrical sensation (ala Criss Angel) and has created some meaner, rascally, grayer Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties. One of the Naughties, Vexy (voiced by The Addams Family's Christina Ricci), is able to kidnap poor Smurfette (voiced by pop star Katy Perry)—on her birthday, no less!—and puts her directly in the hands of Gargamel who is still trying to extract Smurf essence for whatever evil plans evil wizards come up with. It's up to Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and some of the Smurf village's bravest residents—along with old human friends Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother) and his wife Grace (Glee's Jayma Mays)—to hunt down the dastardly Gargamel and rescue the impressionable Smurfette before she becomes one of the Naughties!
What can be said about a movie as dense, intelligent, and thought provoking as The Smurfs 2? Not content to rest on the laurels of the original film's life changing story, this one expands Smurfs mythology to show us a world we've never seen before. I never thought I'd actually admit this, but it's the kind of movie that gives one pause to contemplate what's really important in life. What family means. How we, as humans, brothers and sisters, fit into the scheme of this whole wide universe. Even why God exists. This, friends, is truly a movie for the ages.
Nahhhh, I'm just playing with you. The Smurfs 2 is essentially a subpar cash-grab sequel filled with telegraphed jokes, shoddy CGI, and about as much character depth as a thimble of Pepsi.
The Smurfs movies already have a built in cheese factor that couldn't be erased if the movie had been written by David Mamet, directed by Steven Spielberg, and marketed with the participation of Miramax and the Criterion Collection. I would like to tell you that someone was able to make a Smurfs movie that transcended its limitations but, alas, here is more of the same. If you were a big fan of the original—which I can't believe, but stranger things have happened—then you may just fall head over heels for the follow-up. As for me, my love affair with this tepid sequel ended about three minutes in.
The Smurfs 2 features a lot of personalities, none of them very endearing. There's the ever caring Papa Smurf (voiced by comedian Jonathan Winters, in his final film role); the self-absorbed Vanity Smurf (The Daily Show's John Oliver); Clumsy Smurf (Anthon Yelchin, Star Trek); Grumpy Smurf (TV's George Lopez); and many, many others Smurfs whose names I don't care to recall. Also thrown into the mix is Brendan Gleeson (a long ways away from the truly magical Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) as human-turned-duck who revels in any puns that would make the creators of Hee-Haw cringe. Neil Patrick Harris (!) returns in a role with all the artistic integrity of a GoDaddy.com commercial while Jayma Mays gets the thankless role of his doe-eyed wife. The capper in this mixing pot is a buck toothed Hank Azaria as the vile wizard Gargamel, who spends most of the movie talking to a chuckling cat. The Smurfs 2 must have bought Azaria an amazing beach house, because it sure didn't pay for any dignity or self-respect.
Your enjoyment of The Smurfs 2 will depend on how often you like to hear the word "Smurf." The word is used as a replacement for what felt like every other word of dialouge. "We're Smurfed!" "That's Smurfalicious!" "That's very Smurfy of you!" All of these phrases are substitutes for actual comedic dialogue. On one hand, this tone is true to the original 1980s cartoon (created by the late Peyo). On the other, it's based on a Saturday morning cartoon about blue elves and a wizard, which sort of makes Transformers look like Citizen Kane.
The Smurfs 2 is presented in a very fine looking 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The world of The Smurfs is filled with bright colors (predominant reds and blues) and it's bright and noisy. Sony's picture quality for this film is superior for standard DVD—everything looks sharp and clean. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English. The Smurfs 2 features a very aggressive audio mix that will leave you breathless…err, "smurfless." There are plenty of directional effects to be found here, along with a soundtrack that nearly knocks you over the head every five minutes. Oh, and the "la-la-la-lalala" Smurf theme song. Have mercy, Lord. Also included on this disc are English, French and Spanish subtitles, as well as Dolby 5.1 mixes in French and Spanish.
Extra features include a few deleted scenes (really, the movie itself should have been deleted), a few short featurettes ("Animating Azrael," "Daddy's Little Girl: The Journey of Smurfette"), and some trailers for other Sony titles. Also included is an UltraViolet digital copy of the film.
The Smurfs 2 was written by no less than five writers with four other creative consultants garnering a story credit. How it took that many people to come up with a movie this uninspired and mundane is a mystery that I'll take to my grave. Once again the director is Raja Gosnell, who made the equally terrible live action Scooby-Doo movie and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. That's not much of a resume if you ask me. Like those other films, this is filled with lots of flash and special effects but little in the way of heart or brains. Unless you count Brainy Smurf, which I don't.
Terrible. Sorry, I mean Smurfible. No, I do mean terrible.
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