The Smurfs 2
I didn’t grow up with The Smurfs cartoon. There I said it. I know a lot of people in my age bracket seem to have a nostalgic handle on this show, but I was born too late for this program. By the time I started to watch television (about 1993), I don’t even think it was still on. I was a Disney and Nickelodeon kid, and as far as I knew, everything else sucked. You can’t blame me; I was just being a kid. I you were a fan of The Smurfs, then good for you. It’s more cartoon for you.
I guess I have respect for the idea more then the cartoon, because of two things. The Smurfs seem harmless enough. But more importantly, it’s a foreign program was translated rather then remade in the states. I didn’t even know that these blue creatures have been around since 1958. If it’s survived for that long, then maybe there is something good about it. Give that these are little people that live in a forest (insert Avatar joke here), they believe in harmony and getting along with your neighbors to survive. The first Smurfs movie had problems, but could have been worse. The Smurfs 2 is…sort of that worse.
The sequel picks up after the events of the first movie. The Smurfs still live in their little mushroom village in medieval Belgium while Gargamel (played by Hank Azaria) has remained in the present to become a famous stage magician. He uses his fame to his advantage to build a new lair to make a machine that will extract Smurf essence to power his magic. In order to capture the Smurfs, he creates two new creatures called the naughties. What he needs a potion in order to turns his naughties into Smurfs, and repeat the circle vice versa. Only Papa Smurf and Smurfette know that recipe.
Meanwhile, Smurfette (played by Katy Perry) is sad because she thinks everyone has forgotten her birthday, while is actuality, Papa Smurf (played by Jonathan Winters) was planning a surprise party. The naughties transport themselves to the past to capture Smurfette. Papa Smurf uses another potion to take he and fellow Smurfs Clumsy, Grouchy (played by George Lopez), and Vanity along. They find themselves back in New York, looking for Patrick Winslow (played by Neil Patrick Harris) to help. They track Gargamel in Paris, so they set off on another hour and a half journey full of Smurf one-liners and CGI/live action gags.
Given that I never saw the cartoon, I have no clue to whether or not this follows it well. But based on this movie, it makes me less inclined to find out. I give credit that this movie points out the Smurfette problem that there’s only one girl in an all male community. But with that said, the movie puts all of those questions in the “we’ll sort of answer it” bin in favor of a lot of bad Smurf puns (they get old really fast) and annoying characters.
The whole premise revolves around misunderstandings, which isn’t a bad idea, but it’s not done well here. When Smurfette starts sobbing that no one remembered her birthday, it seems to sporadic that she would make a dumb idea. But it doesn’t help that the rest of the Smurfs chase her out in order to let her guard down (have they ever done a surprise party before?) Not to mention that Neil Patrick Harris seems to have little reason to hate his stepdad. When the reason is revealed, it’s a dumb twist. The only thing I happened to like was Hank Azaria’s over-the-top portrayal as Gargamel. Even if his character is the best written, you can tell he’s having fun with this part, and makes the most out of it.
I’ll give this one and a half Smurf creatures out of five. The Smurfs 2 is a harmless kiddie time killer that I’m sure they’ll go nuts for. The adults will probably end up on the ninth level of Angry Birds by the time the end credits start to roll. It’s a shame that Jonathan Winters’ last movie will be The Smurfs 2. It’s almost as bad as Orson Wells in the animated Transformers movie.