Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
|Featuring:||Hank Azaria … Gargamel
Neil Patrick Harris … Patrick
Brendan Gleeson … Victor
Jayma Mays … Grace
Jacob Tremblay … Blue
Nancy O’Dell … Herself
Karim Babin … Room Service Waiter
Gaston Morrison … New York Taxi Driver
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Sony Pictures Animation
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|Distributor:||Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures|
“Nice gets naughty”
Prequel to this movie: “The Smurfs” (2011)
The Smurfs have returned! The Smurfs are celebrating Smurfette’s Smurf-day (that’s smurf-language for birthday) with a surprise party unbeknownst to Smurfette. Smurfette, feeling alone and abandoned by her peers, is kidnapped by creatures of the evil wizard, Garagmel’s, creation called the “Naughties” (a form of the Smurf-like creature without being considered a real Smurf). Gargamel’s plan? Acquire information from Smurfette on how to turn the Naughties blue, extract their blue essence and take over the world. Will Smurfette be persuaded into revealing the most trusted secret of the Smurf community? Or will she overcome this temptation and stay true and loyal to her Smurf family?
It took me a while to finally take a chance at watching the first Smurfs film. I was hesitant, due in part, because of the disappointing views critics had given of the first movie. I may be standing by myself on this, but I, for one, enjoyed the first film, and, frankly, enjoyed “The Smurfs 2.” While it may not certainly live up to the standards of the Smurfs television series of the ‘80s, I couldn’t help but admire and appreciate everything this film had to offer, including an overwhelmingly positive message (I will discuss this message more in detail towards the end of this review).
Cinematically speaking, I virtually had no qualms with “The Smurfs 2.” Hank Azaria (whom some may remember in films such as “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”) makes a good villain, and a hysterical one, at best. I admired his portrayal of Garagamel, a character you “love to hate, but hate to love” who was also humorous when it was necessary. As for Neil Patrick Harris, I have not seen much in terms of his filmography (other than snippets from the Harold and Kumar films, which I have not seen them in their entirety), but I’ve been told of his comedic nature and to see him in such a serious father-figure and loving-husband role as Patrick Winslow was heartfelt and at the same time… strange.
In terms of content, I must say this film has more “heart” than the first, but also be warned that Gargamel’s presence, his dark magic and pursuit of the Smurfs, are more prevalent in this sequel and I couldn’t help, as critics had mentioned, that there is a darker feel to this film, though ever so slight. I would also point out that, as many directors are doing lately, this film is playing it “safe” with this sequel by having the same feel as the first—a silly, yet engaging situation built around a new, younger generation of movie-goers.
Content for Concern
I would say this film is relatively, and I really emphasize the word “relatively,” safe for family viewing. There is some content to be aware of, though, before purchasing a ticket.
Violence: Most of the violence in this film falls under the category of “slapstick humor.” Violence includes, but not limited to, scenes where Gargamel is tossed against iconic buildings (like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral), the cat Azrael closing a window on Gargamel, Patrick’s step-father Vick being turned into a duck, Smurfs falling down a flight of stairs, a scene where Smurfette dodges traffic, Azrael being thrown out of a moving carriage, and lastly, a scene where Hackus (one of the Naughties) lands on his “unmentionable” area.
Profanity is limited to a crude comment made by Vick about him missing Patrick’s wife, Grace, being pregnant and having the enlarged stomach, Grouchy (a smurf) making a comment about tooting, and profane swearing replaced with the word “Smurf” (e.g., “Oh my Smurf!”)
Sex/Nudity: Also, considered very limited, with one scene involving Vick reverting back into human form, falling from the sky naked, and landing in a huge pile of laundry (Vick’s fall is very quick and virtually nothing is seen until a comment made by Grouchy is made concerning Vick’s nature of being naked).
Lessons to Draw From
As I said, Smurfs 2 truly has more heart than the first one ever did. There is a genuine touching moment between Vick and Patrick (whose father left him when he was young), and Vick mentions how he took care of Patrick, even though he didn’t have to, loved his mother dearly, and raised him in unconditional love (this lesson is emulated with the Smurfs, as well) that Patrick should have never taken for granted or refused. In the same manner, our heavenly father’s love is unconditional. We can be angry at God but he will not stop pouring his grace, mercy, and forgiveness on us, and dust us off when we fall or cry for Him in our darkest hour. As I was writing this review, I wanted to find the perfect scripture, and my friend helped me find the following verses:
Many have, no doubt, heard that movie studios have announced their film line-ups for 2015. One of those films happens to be “The Smurfs 3.” At first hearing that, without having seen the first two films, I said, “Why? Wasn’t two bad enough?” After having actually seen the films, and basing my opinions on having reviewed several other films, I can honestly say I enjoyed “The Smurfs” (2011) and its sequel “The Smurfs 2,” and wouldn’t completely object to a third to complete the trilogy. Fans of the original series will probably be disappointed with its new, modern take on such a classic series, but I have no doubt that children will have a good time. I recommend it, cautiously, to older children (and their parents) with the warning of the slapstick humor and dark magic that appears in “The Smurfs 2.” Ultimately, the decision is up to you.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.