The Smurfs team up with their human friends to rescue Smurfette, who has been kidnapped by Gargamel since she knows a secret spell that can turn the evil sorcerer's newest creation - creatures called the Naughties - into real Smurfs.
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 Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Smurfs 2' comes with an UHD 4K Blu-ray Disc as well as standard 50GB Blu-ray Disc. There is an insert for a promo for Sony. The discs are housed in a hard black plastic case.
If you want to impress your friends and family with your new UHD 4K Blu-ray player and television, you'll want to show them this video presentation of 'The Smurfs 2'. The standard Blu-ray version of the film, which is included here also looked very good when it came out, but there is a big upgrade here in the form of detail and color. 'Smurfs 2' was shot digitally and finished in post in 4K with a 2160p transfer, and is presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
This UHD release is simply phenomenal. The upsurge in color is so vibrant and rich that you'll be able to see the different slight shades of blue on each Smurf with great ease. It doesn't get much more blue than this. The colors are deep and provide a bolder color. When you look at the bright white clothes of the Smurfs or even Papa Smurf's red hat, you'll be able to see the different shades that were used there, where you couldn't before.
The scene in the candy store is simply out of this world, color-wise, as each primary and pastel simply pops right off screen and makes each object seem full of life. Detail looks very impressive here as well, with even more intimate details popping up on the little blue creatures. Their white clothing now show each row of stitching and clothing lines with ease. You'll even be able to see some of the stray threads sticking out of Papa Smurf's hat and his beard.
Gargamel's robe and his cat also look equally impressive and reveals the finest of stitching and grubbiness of his wardrobe as well as the individual hairs on his cat. Background items in the theater or in Neil Patrick Harris's apartment look stunning as well. Perhaps the best scene to look at as the scene in the candy shop, which just boasts a ton of vibrant colors and exquisite detail on all levels. Black levels were incredibly deep and inky throughout without any issues and the skin tones were natural.
There is a ton of depth with this picture and there are no issues with any banding, aliasing, or any other compression problem. The standard Blu-ray has an excellent video presentation, but with this UHD release, every thing is upgraded. The colors are brighter and bolder and the detail is a lot more elaborate, making this new video presentation demo worthy.
This UHD release of 'Smurfs 2' comes with an excellent Dolby Atmos mix as well as a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix, which again leave the usual DTS-HD 5.1 mix out. For this review, I had a 7.1.2 Atmos speaker setup with the normal 7.1 surround and two overhead speakers, plus a subwoofer powering the soundscape. Like the above video presentation, this audio mix is demo worth as well in a few sequences.
It takes a little bit for the full sound to get going here, but once it does, it really never lets up. One of my favorite moments with this Dolby Atmos sound was towards the end of the film where the giant ferris wheel detaches itself from the structure and rolls down the street. The impact of the sound is incredible and literally sounds like it's about to smash your room on top of you. The directionality of the sound was excellent here. Ambient noises of people screaming, talking and vehicle noises were robust on the surrounds. The bass was also stellar, packing a punch in this scene as well as the other heavier action sequences.
Other moments where the soundscape is full is when the portals are opened from the Smurf world into the human world. All objects and nature can be heard throughout the speakers with great clarity here with the main focus on the swirling portal. Bugs and other animals can be heard nicely here. The city sounds are full as well with some vehicles zooming by and the theater sequence has a powerful sound that echoes from top to bottom nicely. Dialogue is crystal clear and easy to follow at all times and perfectly prioritized and well-balanced.
There were no pops, cracks, hiss, or high shrills whatsoever here. The score and songs are all nicely presented here and always add to the family entertaining level, although a bit bubble gum pop for my taste. Still it all sounds excellent, leaving this with some reference quality sequences.
All of the previous Blu-ray extras are imported here on the standard Blu-ray version with zero new bonus features.
Character Specific Highlights - While not really a bonus feature, but rather a menu item, you can now watch highlights from certain characters in the film.
Daddy's Little Girl: The Journey of Smurfette (HD, 7 mins) - This short little feature has the crew discussing the overall film's plot and Smurfette's role in the film, along with Katy Perry's voice talent.
Animating Azrael (HD, 4 mins) - Here is another look at the famous cat, but this time, it's all about the effects for the cat.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 5 mins) There are five short deleted scenes. None of which add to any part of the story. Nothing much to see here.
Trailers (HD, 12 mins) - Six trailer for other films.
The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow (HD, 23 mins) - This is a short film of the Smurfs told by the Smurfs in Smurf Village. Once the story gets going, we revert to the classic cartoon 2D animation style, rather than the live CG stuff.
Evolution of the Naughties (HD, 4 mins) - This little extra is all about how the two new characters were created.
The Puurrfect Companion: Azrael's Tail (HD, 5 mins) - Here is a look at the famous cat of 'The Smurfs'. This shows the live cats that were used for production along with the CG work that went in to creating this animal. Voice acting is talked about her as well.
The Naughties! The Tale of Hackus and Vexy (HD, 6 mins) - The cast and crew discuss the two new characters in this sequel, their roles, the design, and the voice talent.
'Smurfs 2' is a fun family movie that isn't as good as the first outing. Sure, there are funny moments, but things tend to get a bit silly this time around. Still, there is some fun to be had here still. Picture and sound wise, this film is reference quality up and down the board, so if you have a new UHD set up, make this release a big purchase to show of to your friends and family. There are no new extras here, but all the previous ones are imported over, making this highly recommended!