The Smurfs 2

It’s Smurfette’s birthday, and while her friends are busy planning her surprise party (and pretending they don’t know it’s her birthday), she’s deep in thoughts of identity. It would seem Smurfette didn’t used to be blue, and she didn’t used to be a Smurf.

Before there was the land of mushroom-houses full of little blue creatures who sporadically break into a la-la happy song, there was the evil wizard Gargamel, who created Smurfette. She had white skin, brown hair and she was just a bit evil.

Well now Gargamel wants her back to extract from her a secret formula so he can – ha ha! – rule the world, and he’s going to use two of his other creations to help him: Hackus and Vexy, Smurfette’s brother and sister.

With Papa, Clumsy, Vanity and Grouchy Smurfs on the job to find the kidnapped Smurfette, and their human friends Grace and Patrick Winstow (Jayma Mays and Neil Patrick Harris) and their boy Bluey helping, too, it would seem that she has a chance. But Patrick’s step-father, Victor (Brendan Gleeson), does seem to be a bit of a jinx whenever he shows up.

Family ties are paramount in this film, with the theme of “it’s not where you come from but who you choose to be” running parallel between the Smurf family and the Winstow family. It’s a powerful motif soundly explored and I’d be surprised if any child leaves the theatre unaware of its strength.

There are laugh-out-loud moments, but only a few, and I think that suits the Smurf tradition. In fact, it also wipes out any chance that this might be a try-hard kids’ movie, like many of the animated feature films coming and going year in, year out. Cheap gags can be silly and fun, but too many can just be annoying.

The Smurfs 2 is measured in silliness, but not in fun. Running around Paris with a mad wizard yielding a wicked wand willy-nilly is fun!

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