Everyone’s favorite little blue creatures return to the big screen for another eye-dazzling adventure that kids will love. The story is hardly Oscar worthy, this is a screenplay seemingly written by committee, with no less than five screenwriters contributing. The film, like its predecessor, still relies heavily on slapstick and some crude humor, but it goes over more smoothly this time around, some of the rough edges rounded over.
The story leans heavily on Smurfs lore, particularly the animated cartoon from the 80s. Gargamel (Hank Azaria, brilliantly over-the-top) returns to menace the Smurfs. He needs to get his hands on smurf “essence” to fuel his power that has helped make him a world famous conjurer back in the world of humanity. So he creates two new little “naughties” Vexy (voiced by Christina Ricci) and Hackus (voiced by J.B. Smoove). Gargamel needs to get his hands on Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry), who he originally created to infiltrate and disrupt the Smurfs, in order to learn the secret to the spell used by Papa Smurf (voiced by Jonathan Winters) to turn her into a real Smurf. Smurfette, in a poor mood thinking her fellow Smurfs have forgotten her birthday, becomes easy prey for Vexy, who lures her away through a portal into the parallel world of humans and convinces her she belongs with her “real” father — Gargamel. It is left to Papa Smurf and his ragtag group of Smurfs to create their own portal and rescue Smurfette from Gargamel and his nefarious plan, which leads them on an adventure through the streets of Paris with their old friends Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays).
Despite its faults, The Smurfs 2 has its heart in the right place, meaning it stays true to its values of friendship, love, and acceptance. These things help overcome the sometimes over-the-top physical gags and now cliché fish out water situations we have come to expect from the last film with the Smurfs landing in the world of people. The latter is also tempered a bit by this being the Smurfs second visit to “our” world, so to speak, so now, they navigate it as veterans, which of course brings its own humorous situations.
As to be expected, the technical prowess of the animators just seems to get better all the time. The anthropomorphized Azrael is one thing, but the Smurfs mingling with the live action is seamless and flawless. They look so real it’s jaw dropping. One can make out the cross-threading in the cloth in the Smurfs clothing and the texture on their skin, if they weren’t so cute, it would almost be creepy, like Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
2D HD: [Rating:5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:5/5]
It is certainly amazing the way the creators of the Smurfs movies seamlessly integrate the CG animation with the live action. Indeed, the little blue Smurfs look so life-like, their clothing realistic and textured and their blue skin, well, fleshy, one could really believe they could actually be walking around in real life. This phenomenon is carried over superbly in Sony’s transfer to Blu-ray be it in the AVC/MPEG-4 1080p 2D encodement or the MVC 3D encodement. The picture is crisp, free from digital anomalies, and has strong contrast with brilliant primary colors and natural flesh tones for the real folks. The 3D effect, while just a bit dimmer, retains much of the texture and adds in so much depth and a lot of pop-out without being gimmicky. When Smurfette and Vexy fly through the portal, it offers just one opportunity for the 3D to really standout. Mostly, however, we get a realistic, added sense of depth.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack has good low frequency extension that gets well down to the lowest of the range, a fine balance of sounds between the front and back, and makes ample use of the surround channels for discrete panning during the many action-intensive sequences.
Outside of the fun animated short that combines traditional 2D and CG animation, the rest of the extras included are all mainly EPK-type featurettes.
- The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:22:15) – This animated short gives us a smurfy interpretation on the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the “smurfless” horseman
- Deleted Scenes (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:52):
- Gargamel’s Interview & Crowd Bows
- Passive aggressive and Panicky
- Crowd Bows Again
- Gargamel Steals Present
- Family Sees Gargamel Atop The Eiffel Tower
- Daddy’s Little Girl: The Journey of Smurfette (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:21)
- The Naughties! The Tale of Hackus and Vexy (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:42)
- The Puurrfect Companion: Azrael’s Tail (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:40)
- Animating Azrael (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:24)
- Evolution of the Naughties (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:41)
The Definitive Word
The Smurfs 2 is no masterpiece. It doesn’t rise to the level of Up or Brave, but it was never meant to be as such. The Smurfs were never meant as such. They have always been based on simple adventures that kids and families could safely enjoy. This movie delivers on that promise.
Additional Screen Captures