How can you not like Smurfs? Their sole reason for existence is to live a peaceful life full of fun, dancing, singing, and love? Not to mention they live in cool mushroom houses in the forest and all wear the same outfit. If you’ve wondered what those little blue creatures have been doing since the first film, you can rest easy, as life in the Smurf village has been Smurftastic. I’m sure the only reason we have a sequel is because the first movie made almost $560 million. With this outing, you can expect the same visual pleasantries, but beyond a couple of lines of dialogue that garner a chuckle, I don’t see the unimaginatively-titled 'The Smurfs 2?' playing to anyone over the age of five.
As I said, life is going very well in the Smurf village as everyone prepares a giant surprise celebration for Smurfette’s birthday. However, Smurfette herself (Katy Perry) thinks that the other Smurfs have forgotten her special day. As she questions her own creation, she begins to think that she doesn't belong with the Smurfs, but rather with her creator, the evil and dim-witted Gargamel (Hank Azaria).
Meanwhile, Gargamel now lives in Paris with his cat Azrael, and is a beloved magician in the city, playing to sold-out crowds every night. Little does anyone know that he has a sinister plan to kidnap all the Smurfs to steal their essence, which will make him more powerful so that he can rule the world. To do this, Gargamel creates two other Smurf-like creatures called Naughties. One is Vexy (Christina Ricci), a mix between a goth girl and a hipster, and the other is Hackus (J.B. Smoove), a red-haired Irish Smurf who could double as a beach bum. The two Naughties travel to Smurf village, capture Smurfette, and bring her to the real world. Soon afterwards, Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) follows after them with Grouchy (George Lopez), Clumsy (Anton Yelchin) and Vanity (John Oliver) to save Smurfette. As you’d imagine, this team of Smurfs ends up enlisting the help of their Earth friends Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays) once again. But this time around, Patrick’s stepdad Victor (Brendan Gleeson) is there to help as well.
One of the only decent things to come out of this sequel is Gleeson, who seems to give it his all in a comedic role, whereas the other actors seem bored to be there and are underused, with the exception of Azaria’s kooky sorcerer. It’s a shame, as Neil Patrick Harris is a multi-talented guy who can sing, dance, and has great comedic timing, but here, he seems to be a robot. Oliver’s voice for Vanity gets the most laughs, even if his jokes are told over and over again throughout the movie, which is a common problem amongst all the characters this time around. Ricci and Perry do solid jobs, but J.B. Smoove playing an Irish Smurf killed me. This was Jonathan Winters’ last film, and he adds a warm and nostalgic feeling with his charming voice for Papa Smurf.
The look of the film is very pleasing with bright colors and tons of things happening on every part of the screen. The camera flies through building structures, makes a slapstick candy store scene fun, and swoops around a giant runaway Ferris wheel in Paris. That being said, the visuals are almost undone by the horrible music selections, which might only excite an 11-year-old girl. The 3D is quite terrible too. The backgrounds in the movie that were supposed to add depth don’t, and instead come across very blurry and flat, as well as produce a double image. Even if you enjoy the Smurfs, this sequel might leave a sour taste in your mouth.
'The Smurfs 2' might not be a great sequel for people over a certain age, but the video quality is right up there with the best on the market. This image is definitely demo worthy, so if you're looking at showing off your new and impressive television, you might want to do it with this blu-ray. This has an ultra impressive 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. There isn't one thing wrong with this video presentation. It's flawless and has so much depth that you might think you are in the Smurf world.
The detail is very sharp, and not just in closeups, but in wide shots as well. Even the backgrounds in the far off distances show an exquisite amount of detail. From the CG renderings of the little smurfs to the real set pieces, everything looks amazing and well lit. Even in the darker scenes, of which there are few, the detail is top notch. It shows every speck of dirt, individual hair, and wrinkle on the Smurfs and the human actors.
The colors are just as amazing and simply pop right off screen at every moment. The blues are bright and lovely with the green trees and brown buildings shining bright. Reds and oranges are equally impressive. The black levels run deep and inky and the flesh tones are natural at all times. Take a look at the scene in the candy store with the millions of different colors popping off screen. It's rather incredible. There are no issues or compression problems with this video presentation. This is completely demo-worthy.
Just like the video presentation above, the audio mix is just as good. This release features a demo-worthy lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix and is fully immersive with its sound. The dialogue is always crystal clear and very easy to understand. There are no instances of any pops, cracks, or hissing and the dialogue is perfectly balanced on the center channel.
The surrounds get a decent and beautiful workout with some great ambient noises of people chattering, traffic, nature sounds, and other life like sounds. And while these noises are robust, it is all done with an elegant touch that is never overly loud or annoying. It's rather pleasant and very natural. With the heavier action scenes, the bass kicks in a little bit and some of the lower end sounds make a nice appearance. The dynamic range is very wide and the LFE is perfectly balanced.
The score and music is great and always adds a sense of charm and emotion to each scene. This audio presentation is top notch and is demo-worthy for its elegance and clarity.
'The Smurfs 2' isn't as fun as the original. It isn't even that good, but it has some decent moments. Most of all, this sequel will play to an audience under five. However, the video and audio presentations are some of the best I've ever seen. The extras are short, but somewhat fun. I'd love to highly recommend this, but in the end, I'd say rent this before you decide to purchase.