Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Smurfs 2 Review

As we all know, sequels (especially those to kids movies) have a well deserved reputation for being disappointing.  One of the things about the first Smurfs movie that annoyed me was the introduction of a completely unnecessary Smurf for the sole purpose of having a wisecracking Scottish gnome on screen to sell Happy Meal toys.  So when I saw that they were introducing two more new and "sassy" Smurfs for this one, I cringed.  But, being a child of the 80s, I went anyways.  And I'm glad I did.

While Gutsy Smurf was a superfluous combination of Smurfs we already knew, Vexy and Hackus are creations who's existence is central to the plot and even the story of Smurfette.  While I'm not a fan of the drastic changes and additions to the Smurfs, I can accept it if they work it into the story in a meaningful way and they did so here.  But I'm not sure two of them were necessary.  Vexy is important but Hackus was a little too much.  His moronic antics are cute at the start but are over used to the point that you just wish he'd go away (up until one part right close to the end that had me laughing out loud).  I understand why they had him and why he stopped short of being all there mentally. (Gargamel was trying to create an army and only had enough Smurf essence for 1.5 brains and needs to get more. - that isn't a spoiler.  It's the basic premise.)  And the kids were laughing at Hackus throughout and this movie is in their world now, not mine.

Back to the Gutsy thing, I was really glad to see them move all of the "new age" Smurfs to the background and give them moderately humourous one-off jokes while they stuck to the basics of five Smurfs we all loved as kids: Papa, Smurfette, Clumsy, Grouchy, and Vanity.  In doing this, they proved that you can take classic, bare bones elements and still update them through witty dialogue and make a decent movie that will entertain both generations.  These five Smurfs had changed very little but were still able to entertain.  It also helps that they ramped up the bumbling Gargamel and slapstick with Azrael.  That kept me laughing as well.

The movie is nothing too special.  The writing is average.  The human acting is passable.  The effects are very good but nothing innovative.  But the bottom line is that this movie is meant to entertain children.  It isn't like Pixar where they layer them to appeal to all generations.  This is out and out a kids movie and in that, it delivers.  It throws jokes like snowballs and has Chris Farley levels of characters running into things.

If you want a nice little entertaining diversion, see it.

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