Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Smurfs 2 review

By Nico Beland
Movie Review: D (2 stars)
The Smurfs and The Naughties taking on the City of Lights in The Smurfs 2

            I need to make this perfectly clear, I don’t have anything against The Smurfs, the cute and cuddly cartoon series created by Peyo, while I didn’t watch it much as a kid, I can say right now; it’s an innocent cartoon for kids to enjoy. The characters are likable and Gargamel the evil sorcerer is very funny, the concept is creative, little blue creatures that live in mushroom houses, it’s a unique idea for a children’s cartoon.

            However the concept does not flow very well for a big-screen feature film, especially when you get Raja Gosnell (Scooby-Doo, Big Momma’s House) to direct it. The 2011 Smurfs movie, while a hit at the box office was despised by critics and received mostly negative reception, due to the overuse of mediocre puns, lame jokes, and a weak concept for the film.
            Due to the success at the box office and completely ignoring the reception the movie got, Sony and Raja Gosnell decided to make a sequel, The Smurfs 2 and while I did think the premise for this movie was a little more creative than the predecessor, it was overshadowed by once again, lame puns, one-liners, and an overdose of goofy slapstick. Kids will probably enjoy the film, the adults on the other hand may have a miserable time at the movies, but it’s a children’s film, what are you gonna do?
            After the events of the first movie, we find the happy blue Smurfs getting ready for Smurfette’s birthday back in Smurf Village, and Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry) is worried about one day betraying her friends and helping Gargamel (Hank Azaria-The Simpsons, Godzilla) finally take over the world, since she was created by Gargamel but then she learned about kindness and love which transformed her into a Smurf. Meanwhile in the real world, Gargamel is now a master magician, performing in Paris, and becoming a monster hit with the crowd. He still dreams of the one day where he finally catches the Smurfs and extracting their magic into his wand and cause “Smurf-ageddon!” (yeah, that’s one of the puns in the film!).
Gargamel also created two Smurf-like creatures known as the Naughties, unlike the Smurfs who are blue skinned and kind, the Naughties are gray skinned and mischievous, so you can pretty much tell they become his minions. Gargamel and his Naughties, Vexy (voiced by Christina Ricci-Casper, Sleepy Hollow) and Hackus (voiced by J.B. Smoove) plan to capture Smurfette and trick her into being naughty and bribing her with gifts, cake, etc. so she can tell Gargamel what the formula is for Smurf magic.
The Smurfs are called back into action and return to the real world for assistance from their old friends Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris-How I Met Your MotherHarold & Kumar trilogy, Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs) and Grace Winslow (Jayma Mays) so they can save Smurfette and put an end to Gargamel’s evil plan.
            While I can’t say I hated The Smurfs 2, like the first movie, there are certain elements that I like about the movies. Like I’m glad they kept the Smurfs animated and not resorting to the “Oompa-Loompa” scenario, I get a kick out of Hank Azaria’s performance as Gargamel, I actually do think he’s kinda funny, and I like Neil Patrick Harris, he’s enjoyable in anything he’s in, good or bad. Those were the things that made watching this movie worth it, even though I had to sit through a bunch of lame Smurf jokes, one-liners, and slapstick that almost feels like a cartoon but done in reality, which is why I think these movies would have been stronger as just animated movies without live-action.
            I can’t really speak for children about not seeing this movie, there’s a strong chance they’ll want to see it, and I’m totally okay with that, kids will find some amusing things in it and have a good laugh and some of the silly slapstick that’s right up their alley. The adults on the other hand, if they don’t mind a lot of childish humor and puns, I guess maybe they’ll find something tolerable about it.
            This is why I don’t consider The Smurfs 2 to be much of a family movie, it’s more like a movie that you’d pop into your DVD player for your kids to watch, when they’re being reckless. If you want some real family fun, I’d say go to Monsters University, Despicable Me 2, or Turbo, those movies are much more entertaining and well worth your time and money, and besides if you want to see a good animated feature from Sony, wait until Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs 2 comes out in September, which I have mixed thoughts about, but it looks much better than this cluttered mess of a family flick. 

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