Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: The Smurfs 2

Release date: July 31, 2013
Running time: 105 minutes
Starring: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Brendan Gleeson
Who to see it with: Your kids


The Smurfs 2 is the sequel to the live action adaptation of the classic cartoon. It tries to keep some of the original aspects of the cartoon (such as characters) while adapting it for a 3D movie with some modern touches (technology and some cultural references). Animation-wise, the smurfs are fine when in their own village, but they look a little off when they move to the real world. It's kind of the risk of any sort of adaption of this type, but it's not just the smurfs either: the cat Azriel is also completely computer animated. He looks believable at times, but frequently looks the part of an animated animal. That being said, the movie opens with some truly beautiful animated sequences to recount the movie's back story and definitely starts the film off right. The acting is surprisingly good with an especially well-done (and corny) performance from Hank Azaria as Gargamel. It's a little awkward, but he's trying to capture the source material and it's as good as you could expect transferring over from the cartoon. The voice acting, however, is hit or miss. Many of the smurfs are enjoyable, but Smurfette and Papa Smurf are pretty distracting throughout.

The story is enjoyable enough, providing some justification for the smurfs to enter the real world and reunite with NPH and Jayma Mays. But the movie does drag down in the middle and feels like it goes a little long for a kids film. And speaking of being a kids movie, you can tell that that is the focus. The jokes are pretty slapstick; there are some references that adults will enjoy but overall, much of the humor is kind of childish. It's not unexpected for this genre, but other recent movies like Monsters U and Turbo have enjoyable jokes for both young and old. In the end, The Smurfs 2 is not smurf-tacular, but it is a movie that your children will enjoy. For a kids movie, that's about all you could ask for. I wouldn't see it in theaters, but if you have kids or are fans of the source material, 

Rent it.

PS - There are two stingers in the movie, one a little after the credits start and one at the end of the credits. In all honesty, the credits are a lot of fun to watch from a nostalgic point of view. They have hand-drawn-style animated smurfs that scroll throughout the credits; if you watched the show, you'll enjoy it. 

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