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The Smurfs 2 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 23, 2013 by  



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If you are a parent looking for a fun, enjoyable family film for the holidays, “The Smurfs 2” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 Columbia Pictures Industries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Smurfs 2

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 105 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:85:1, English and French DTS-HA MA 5.1, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English – Audio Description Track, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French

COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG (For Some Rude Behavior and Action)

Release Date: December 3, 2013

Directed by Raja Gosnell

Screenplay by J. David Stem, David N. Weiss, Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Karey Kirkpatrick

Based on the Characters and Works by Peyo

Produced by Veronique Culliford, Jordan Kerner

Executive Producer: Ben Haber, Paul Neesan, Ezra Swerdlow

Co-Produced by Benita Allen

Associate Producer: Maricel Pagulayan

Music by Heitor Pereira

Cinematography by Phil Meheux

Edited by Sabrina Plisco

Casting by David Rubin

Production Design by Bill Boes

Art Direction by Vincent Gingras-Liberali, Michelle Laliberte, Emma Pucci

Set Decoration by Marie-Soliel Denomme, David Laramy

Costume Design by Veronique Marchessault, Rita Ryack

Starring:

Hank Azaria as Gargamel

Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick

Brendan Gleeson as Victor

Jayma Mays as Grace

Katy Perry as the voice of Smurfette

Christina Ricci as the voice of Vexy

Jonathan Winters as the voice of Papa Smurf

J.B. Smoove as the voice of Hackus

George Lopez as the voice of Grouchy Smurf

Anton Yelchin as the voice of Clumsy Smurf

John Oliver as the voice of Vanity Smurf

Fred Armisen as the voice of Brainy Smurf

Jeff Foxworthy as the voice of Handy Smurf

Alan Cumming as the voice of Gutsy Smurf

Gary Basaraba as the voice of Hefty Smurf

Tom Kane as the voice of Narrator Smurf

Frank Welker as the voice of Azrael

Jacob Tremblay as Blue

Nancy O’Dell as herself

Evil wizard Gargamel creates a couple of mischievous Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties hoping they will let him harness the magical Smurf-essence. However, he soon discovers that he needs the help of Smurfette, who knows the secret to turning the Naughties into real Smurfs. When Gargamel and his Naughties kidnap Smurfette from Smurf Village and bring her to Paris, it’s up to Papa, Clumsy, Grouchy and Vanity to reunite with their human friends, Patrick and Grace Winslow, and rescue her!

With the success of the first “The Smurfs” film back in 2011, which earned over $563 million in the box office, it was inevitable that a sequel would be made.

With the same cast and same director, Raja Gosnell (“Scooby-Doo”, “Big Momma’s House”, “Never Been Kissed”) each making a return for the sequel (the film would also be the final film for Jonathan Winters, voice of Papa Smurf, who passed away in April) , with the addition of Christina Ricci and J.B. Smoove providing the voices of the “Naughties” and Brendan Gleeson as Patrick Winslow’s father, the new film would also be released in 3D.

And the sequel “The Smurfs 2”, would go on to earn over $342,000 earned in the box office.  And now “The Smurfs 2” will be released on Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray in Dec. 2013!

For those not familiar with “The Smurfs”, back in the late ’50s, Belgian cartoonist Peyo created the comic strips featuring small blue fictional characters known as the Smurfs.  A big success in France, the Smurfs would receive various adaptations.

 

The first were in Belgium via TV animated shorts that were  created in 1961-1967, a few of the shorts would be featured in the 1965 in the black-and-white animation “Les Adventures des Schtroumpfs” and then followed by a 1976 animation titled “La Flûte à six schtroumpfs” (The Smurfs and the Magic Flute) which would receive an English version that would inspire more full-length Smurf animated films.

 

But in America, where the Smurfs gained its popularity is through the 1981 animated TV series which was nominated many times for a Daytime Emmy Award and won the “Outstanding Children’s Entertainment Series” for 1982-1983.  The animated series would broadcast on television through 1989.

 

In 1997, producer Jordan Kerner has been trying to get a “Smurfs” film created but it wasn’t until 2002 when Peyo’s heirs accepted Kerner’s offer and people were able to get their first look at the film via leaked footage on the Internet in 2008.

And in 2011, the first live-action/CG Smurf film of a planned trilogy was released in theaters in 2011.  The film would star Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”), Jayma Mays (“Glee), Hank Azaria (“The Simpsons”) and the following talents lending their voices for the film which include George Lopez, Katy Perry, Alan Cummings, Kenan Thompson, Fred Armisen, to name a few.

And with the sequel featured in 2013 and the third film planned for 2015, with the success of the first two films, the popularity of “The Smurfs” continues to entertain a new generation of young fans.

“The Smurfs 2” begins with a group of Smurf’s being read a story about how Smurfette joined the village.  We learn that Gargamel had created Smurfette to infiltrate and cause problems in the Smurf village.

When she came to the village, she was grey with black hair.  But despite how much troubles she had created, Papa Smurf embraced her and made her blue with blonde hair using a special chemical.  And that is how the Smurf village had their first female Smurf.

Meanwhile, Smurfette begins to have nightmares of her past and that she is reverting back to her gray self.

Meanwhile, everyone in the Smurf village is planning a surprise birthday party for Smurfette.  And as Smurfette tries to see if anyone will remember her birthday, everyone behaves as if they don’t know what had happened.

Feeling dejected, Smurfette begins to wonder if the Smurf Village has come to accept her.

Back in France, Gargamel has become a popular star magician, using his powers to create great illusions and to fund his projects.  As for Patrick, he and Grace who live in New York, are having a birthday party for their older child Blue.  But the birthday party is not as easy, as certain children are allergic to peanuts and some parents are concerned of what kind of plates they buy.  But when Patrick’s estranged step-father Victor (portrayed by Brendan Gleeson) comes to visit Blue for his birthday, he gives the kids a corn dog from his popular restaurant, unfortunately cooked in peanut oil.

Suffice to say, it causes problems at Blue’s party and continues to hurt the relationship between Patrick and his father.

As for Gargamel, he has created two more gray Smurf-like beings known as “Naughties”.  The “Naughties” duo includes Vexy and Hackus, Smurf experiments that Gargamel looks as failed experiments and really has no love for them but uses them in his quest to kidnap Smurfette in order to gain access to the chemical that made her blue.

But he depends on his gray smurf-like experiments, Vexy, who is a punk-style female who adores her father, while Hackus is a not-so-smart goof and loves having fun.  Each day, both need to be fed a drop of blue essence by Gargamel, who is about to attempt another experiment for him to get back home and terrorize the Smurf village.

As he takes Vexy and Hackus along with Azrael with him, his experiment doesn’t go as planned as the portal is too small, so he sends Vexy to the Smurf village to kidnap Smurfette.

And in the process, Vexy goes to the Smurf Village and for the first time, meets Smurfette and tricks her by pushing her into the portal to be captured by Gargamel.

Hearing Smurfette’s scream and encountering Vexy, who escapes back to the portal, Papa Smurf plans a rescue team to go back to the human world and rescue Smurfette.  But as he has Brainy Smurf, Gutsy Smurf and Hefty Smurf as part of the team, one of the Smurfs ends up eating the transportation crystals meant for the three.  As they give a Heimlich procedure on the Smurf, the three crystals fly out of the Smurfs mouth into the mouths of Vanity Smurf, Grouchy Smurf and Clumsy Smurf.  So, the three along with Papa smurf end up traveling back to the human world.

In the process, they end up back at Patrick’s home and encounter Victor who tries to swat them.  But Patrick manages to save the Smurfs and learn about Smurfette’s kidnapping.  Knowing that the Smurfs need their help once again, the entire Winslow family including Victor and the Smurfs fly to France in order to save Smurfette from Gargamel.

But will they save her in time or will Gargamel’s and the “Naughties” convince Smurfette that she belongs with them?

VIDEO:

“The Smurfs 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio).  The film is absolutely vibrant but what will impress you is the clarity but also the much better texture effects for this sequel.  You can see the skin pigments much more clearly, so clear and detailed that you can see the hair coming out of Papa Smurf’s ears.  The clothing textures especially the hat of Papa Smurf and others are so detailed, you can see the threading.  But also the strands and the movement of hair for Smurfette and Vixie is also well-done!   The film was mastered in 4K and overall, picture quality for “The Smurfs 2” is excellent!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Smurfs 2” is presented in English and French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 and English and French – Audio Description Tracks. As for audio, the lossless audio features a lot of dialogue, music and also special effects for the action sequences.   From ducks and birds flying, glass shattering, things falling or breaking and also a good amount of crowd ambiance during Gargamel’s shows, there is a good use of the surround channels and also LFE during the more active scenes.   Dialogue and music are crystal clear but the lossless audio for “The Smurfs 2” is very good!

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Smurfs 2” comes with the following special features:

  • The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow – (22:15) A special CG and 2D animated special about “The Legend of Smurfy Hollow”.
  • Deleted Scenes – (3:52) Featuring a total of five deleted scenes.
  • Daddy’s Little Girl: The Journey of Smurfette – (6:21) A featurette about Katy Perry playing Smurfette and the director and producers talking about Katy Perry’s voice acting performance.
  • The Naughties! The Tale of Hackus and Vexy – (5:42)) An introduction to the creation of the two new smurfs, Vexy and Hackus.
  • The Puuuurfect Companion: Azrael’s Tail – (4:40) Hank Azaria and crew talk about the connection between Gargamel and Azrael.
  • Animating Azrael – (3:24) How cats were motion digitized for the film.
  • Evolution of the Naughties – (3:41) How Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Imageworks made the Naughties.

EXTRAS:

“The Smurfs 2” comes with a Blu-ray, DVD and an UltraViolet Digital Copy code plus a slipcover.

As an adult who grew up watching “The Smurfs” animated series, it’s great to have a new sequel continue where the last left off and entertain the new generation of Smurf fans.

I watched the film along with my son who enjoyed the first film and for the most part, as a family film, we both enjoyed it.

The film does answer the big question of how did Smurfette come to be part of the Smurf village and why there is only one female.  And so the writers did a good job of establishing the creation of Smurfette but also the creation of Vexy and Hackus.

The film features the return of the Winslow family, who were a big part of the first film but also the second as the second storyline deals with Patrick’s troubled relationship with his father.

While part of the enjoyment of the first film was the adventure especially of Patrick trying to keep the Smurf’s a secret and yet, somehow they up in his office and in stores, this time around the film focused more on Smurfette spending time with her new sister and brother than visiting many fun places.

And the fact that the film goes from New York to France, while Smurfette, Vexy and Hackus have fun at a bakery, the film tries to break up the story by focusing on two rescue teams.  One featuring Patrick and his family, while Papa Smurf and the other Smurfs try to find a way to save Smurfette.

Because of the shenanigans with the Winslow family in the first film, I felt the Winslow family was subdued because of the family issues that Patrick and his father were having, while for the Smurfs, while Papa Smurf, Clumsy and Grouchy Smurf make their return, instead of Hefty, we get Vanity Smurf, who spends most of his time looking at the mirror and loving himself.

So, as we see these two rescue attempts, we are taken to Smurfette’s family dilemma.   As the two “Naughties” are seeing a kinder, loving side that they never experienced with Gargamel, they start to realize how much fun they have with Smurfette.  But also experiencing  the feeling of having a family and wanting to live with one another.  But the question is whether Smurfette will stay with them or go back with Papa Smurf and her Smurf family.

Gargamel and Azrael are the same but we get to see a bit more of the bad side of Gargamel and what he wants to do with the Smurfs.

While the film is quite predictable of what decision Smurfette will make, “The Smurfs 2” does have its moments of fun and caught my 10-year-old laughing at some of the jokes.  But the film does put a lot of focus on Smurfette this time around and those wanting the fun adventures of the Papa Smurf and the rescue team, it’s not as crazy and fun as the first film and the focus of Patrick and his father’s relationship problems took away precious screentime from the Smurfs.

With that being said, this film did give Katy Perry a chance to showcase her voice acting skills and she did a very good job as Smurfette.  And the addition of the two new characters, Vexy and Hackus was also a plus.  But the whole relationship problem between Patrick and his father, took away precious screen time away from the Smurfs.  And I just felt that the pacing and the Smurf adventures was much more exciting in the first film than the second.

While I hope the third film features on an adventure that takes place in the Smurf Village rather than the land of where humans live, I just hope the writers stay away from the banality and feel they must reunite with the Winslow family with each film.  They don’t.  There are a good amount of stories that can take place in that leafy Smurf village and like the animated series from the ’80s which showed these characters having adventures near their home, it would be great to have more adventure featuring more Smurfs for the third film.

Overall, for those who grew up watching “The Smurfs”, the sequel is an enjoyable family film.  I’m not going to be overly critical as this film was created for children and by watching “The Smurfs 2” with my ten-year-old, I can tell he really enjoyed it and as a parent, the fact that he enjoyed this film is all that matters.  As long as the film makes children laugh or put on a big smile on their faces, the film eventually is a success for achieving that goal, despite how a few parents or critics may feel about the film.

If you are a parent looking for a fun, enjoyable family film for the holidays, “The Smurfs 2” is recommended!

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