CULVER CITY-There is a lot of buzz and anticipation around the Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures animated family film Smurfs 2. The eagerness to the sequel of the first Smurfs movie was evident at a screening at Sony Studios prior to the film being released nationwide on July 31.
The screening party was filled with many of the things that children like: ice cream, fun foods to eat, picking up trinkets and getting a photo-op with Papa Smurf. The festive atmosphere was like having a party in your backyard while entertaining friends over for a barbeque.
My nine-year-old daughter certainly had an “awesome” time painting Smurfs character figurines and snacking on blue-flavored frosted cupcakes. The film was an even more of a treat to enjoy. Parents with small children will certainly want to get out and take the small ones on a field trip to see Smurfs 2.
Sometimes animated films can get bogged down in cliches, theatrics overkill, poor casting and lack of a good overall script. Smurfs 2 has a little bit of everything in the movie that parents and young people can relate to. We all can relate to peer pressure. The tug-o-war of issues that run inside a family is also something that is relatable to viewers.
The thirst for greed, power and manipulation and betrayal are also identifiable traits that Smurfs 2 incorporates in its message of family, trust and relationships. Smurfs 2 is a fun and cute film to like. Then again, what’s not to like about those adorable, diminutive blue characters that have pulled at our heartstrings for years.
In fact, the blue band actually steals the show. Despite the quirky, solid acting performance by Neil Patrick Harris, Smurf Nation gives credence to why they are such hot commodities. Helping to make Smurfs 2 a relaxing, cool two-hour getaway are the voices of comedians George Lopez (The George Lopez Show), Jonathan Winters (It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) and JB Smoove (Real Husbands of Hollywood).
While Katy Perry (Smurfette) and Christina Ricci (Vexy) do excellent work in bringing their characters to life, it is the wonderful comedic timing done by Lopez (Grouchy), Smoove (Hackus) and Winters (Papa Smurf) that gives Smurfs 2 its punch. Lopez and Smoove, in particular, brings such comedic zeal to their respective voice characters, that it is hard to image someone outside of the two talented individuals doing it as well.
The plot begans simple enough as Smurfette wonders around in slight depression over whether others inside the Smurfs Village had forgotten about her and still considers her an outsider. Smurfette, created by the sinister Gargamel (Hank Azaria), has turned into one of the Smurfs, thanks to the loving care of Papa Smurf.
As she goes through her identity crisis, Smurfette is stolen away by Gargamel so that he can get his hands on a formula to create hos own blue army. He uses Vexy and Hackus to lure Smurfette back to his lair. Meanwhile, Papa Smurf, joined by several of Smurfs, including Grouchy, goes on an expedition to rescue Smurfette.
Along the way, Papa Smurf, a voice of reason and calm, hooks up with Patrick Winslow (played by Harris) to try to get his adopted daughter returned back to him. Smurfs 2 is a thrilling ride of cat and mouse done over in the color powder blue. There’s a little bit of each side of emotion that crosses your mind watching Smurfs 2. There is sadness. There is some anger. It makes you laugh and cry.
More than anything else, though, Smurfs 2 makes you say it is worth the price of admission.