The Smurfs 2

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Smurfette is having nightmares about betraying her fellow Smurfs and turning them over to Gargamel to be captured. Meanwhile, the Smurfs are preparing a surprise party for Smurfette’s birthday, but as Smurfette tries to find out what her fellow Smurfs are planning, none of them are saying a word. She takes this to mean that everyone forgot her birthday.

In France, Gargamel is now a celebrity, amazing people with his sorcery, but he sees that he is running low on the Smurf essence that gives him his magic powers. With his new creations, evil smurfs called Naughties Vexy and Hackus, Gargamel plans on opening a portal to the Smurf village by using the Eiffel tower as a conduit so that he can kidnap Smurfette and, through her, get Papa Smurf’s secret formula for creating Smurfs. However, as the portal he created is not big enough for him to go through, Gargamel takes Vexy and sends her through to the portal to grab Smurfette and bring her to Paris.

One of the Smurfs witnesses the abduction of Smurfette and informs Papa Smurf. Papa Smurf uses his magic to create crystals that would allow several of his Smurfs to travel directly to Patrick Winslow’s residence in New York City in order to get his help to rescue Smurfette. Papa originally intended for Brainy, Hefty, and Gutsy to use the crystals, but instead through an accident Clumsy, Grouchy and Vanity use them. Papa and the three Smurfs arrive in the apartment right after the celebration of Blue’s fourth birthday where they meet both the Winslows’ young boy and Patrick’s stepfather Victor Doyle, a man who is a constant embarrassment to Patrick. The Smurfs soon discover where Gargamel is, and so they and the Winslows set off for Paris in order to find him.

After their arrival in Paris, Patrick and his wife Grace work together with Victor to distract Gargamel during one of his performances while the Smurfs sneak backstage in order to find Smurfette, only to discover what Gargamel is planning. At the same time, Smurfette escapes from the prison and Vexy and her partner Hackus chase after her. Upon her return to Gargamel’s hotel suite with the Naughties, Gargamel presents her with a tiny dragon wand as a feigned act of kindness, claiming that he was Smurfette’s father all along and that Papa Smurf had no interest in her.

Smurfette is still reluctant to give Gargamel the formula to turn a naughty into a smurf until she sees that the Naughties are dying due to a lack of Smurf essence. Faced without an alternative to save them, Smurfette quickly writes the formula down and Gargamel uses it to turn the Naughties into real Smurfs. Immediately after they become Smurfs, the evil wizard puts them into his Smurf-a-lator so he can carry out the rest of his plan.

Meanwhile, Patrick, Victor, and the Smurfs work together to rescue Smurfette. The Smurfs are soon captured and put into the Smurfalator, powering Gargamel’s “La Wanda” (a large-sized dragon wand). Patrick and Victor arrive just in time to destroy the Smurfalator, causing the naughty-to-smurf formula to be destroyed in blue pixie dust that in turn vanquishes the secret formula. Gargamel has gained enough power to use his new wand against the Smurfs and their allies. Vexy and Hackus team up with the Smurfs against their former master and use the new wand to blast him away. He then falls onto the Notre Dame Cathedral where he accidentally brings a stone vulture to life which then throws him to the top of the Eiffel Tower where fireworks then set off, sending him in the air. Vexy and Hackus, the two new Smurfs, bid farewell to the Winslows and return home with the rest of the Smurfs.

In two post-credit sequences, Gargamel and Azrael are pulled into the portal, sending them back to their castle, and they later have a fight.

REVIEW:

I was wondering this morning, why is it that Hollywood keep recycling the good stuff from the 80s, and in the form of subpar family “entertainment”? The Smurfs 2 is yet another in the long line of these films that need to stop, but will unfortunately continue to be churned out, much to the chagrin of people with common sense.

What is this about?

Evil magician Gargamel continues his quest to tap the power of the Smurfs, creating a pair of his own “Smurf-alikes” called the Naughties. But without the Smurf essence, the Naughties fizzle, so Gargamel nabs Smurfettte to cast a spell.

What did I like?

In memoriam. When someone who has been a part of a film passes away before the film is released, there is usually a sentence or two in the end credits, more often than not in tiny font near the end. With the death of Jonathan Winters, who voiced Papa Smurf (and Grandpa Smurf in the cartoon), before this film was released, the filmmakers made the wise decision to acknowledge his death with an in memoriam very early on in the credits.

Wizard world. In the cartoon, I always hated Gargamel and found Azrael to be somewhat annoying. In live-action form, though, these two create some truly funny moments, reminiscent of the comedians of yesteryear who could make audiences laugh with little to no effort. Who ever was writing the funny lines for them needs to be commended for actually coming up with some of the funniest stuff seen/heard on-screen in quite some time.

Plot. Say what you will about this film and the fact that you can’t really do much with the Smurfs, the writers actually did give us a decent plot. I seem to recall an episode where Smurfette questioned her origin, and I think they built upon that for this film, keeping the continuity from The Smurfs.

What didn’t I like?

More than one. Both this and, to a lesser extent, the previous film seem to focus mainly on one particular Smurf and spend a bit too much time with the humans. First, why have all the Smurfs if you’re only going to focus on a few of them. The rest might as well have just been random blue entities, rather than characters. Second, like the Transformers franchise, this flick uses human beings as a way to justify not using the CG that they paid so much for already (something I dread is going to happen with the new one, especially since they brought in Mark Wahlberg).

Humans. Continuing on the anti-human thought, I have a couple of thoughts. First, the Smurfs appear to Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays, explain the situation, and suddenly, they drop everything and fly off to Paris. Something just didn’t sit well with me, for some reason. Second, the subplot with the stepdad seemed forced in there to give some reason to actually keep them around, other than helping the Smurfs, didn’t really do anything but give us bad puns and an unemotional connection.

Blue essence. As he said in an episode of Robot Chicken, “I’ve (Gargamel) never been sure what my motivation for wanting to get rid of the smurfs is.” [sic] In this film, he is given a purpose, which is to steal their blue essence, which powers his magic. As much as I liked that, I didn’t really feel that it worked in this film. For me, it just seemed to be a bit darker than the rest of the film, especially when his Naughties need it to eat.

It is interesting that on the day I’m watching The Smurfs 2, Cartoon Network decided to show the original film, which allowed me to set up some compare which was better. While neither film is something that should be seen, the sequel has its own issues. For me, it was nothing but a cash grab. No, it wasn’t as bad as the last couple of Alvin & the Chipmunks films, but it was still pretty bad. Do I recommend this? No, there isn’t anything worth watching. The flick tries. It tries real hard, but to no avail. It is best to not waste your time with this one.

2 out of 5 stars

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