August 9, 2013
"The Smurfs 2" largely takes place in Paris where the evil mad wizard Gargamel is now an unlikely celebrity performing magic shows at the Opera House. He kidnaps Smurfette on her birthday to get the secret formula on how to turn his new creatures The Naughties (Vexy and Hackus) into true blue Smurfs.
Of course, Papa Smurf and his gang (Grumpy, Clumsy and Vanity) try to rescue her with the help of their human friends, Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays). This time, Patrick's zany step-father Victor (Brendan Gleeson) joins in the adventure.
This film by Sony Pictures, directed by Raja Gosnell, is strictly for the younger kids. My sons aged 11 and 9 did not really want to finish the film anymore. Girls may like it more because it is more about Smurfette and her new found "sister" Vexy.
There is the requisite lesson about family, and acceptance. This lesson is exemplified here between Papa Smurf and Smurfette, and paralleled by the relationship between Patrick and Victor. The other important lesson is obviously "good triumphs over evil". In the end, we will see Gargamel and his impertinent cat Azrael (with a much bigger role this time) get their comeuppance, as expected.
The voice acting of Katy Perry as Smurfette is front and center in this film, and she does very well in being cutesy. Christina Ricci matches Katy's sweetness with her spunk in voicing Vexy. Hank Azaria overacts like crazy as Gargamel, but that is as he should do in order to entertain kids. Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays just coast along in their portrayal of their human characters, but Brendan Gleeson is certainly a delightful presence in the film, a jolly old soul.
Everything was done to make this film as visually fun as possible for the young kiddie demographic it targets. The computer-generated effects, like the Ferris Wheel rolling on the streets of Paris, may look crude to adults but it does the job for the enjoyment and glee of small kids. It is just too bad it only has very little to offer the adults who have to bring these kids to the movie house. 4/10 for adults, but definitely much higher for small kids.