The Smurfs 2 review: a smurfeit of Smurfs

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The Smurfs 2 red light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
I am haunted by the crazed desperation in Jayma Mays’s eyes. She may have been blinking out a Morse-code SOS, but I can’t be sure…
I’m “biast” (pro): oh my god no
I’m “biast” (con): *sob*
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

And so we must come to terms with a veritable cacophony of influences at cinematic war with one another. The puissant Old Testament dirge of Woman as Evil without the civilizing influence of Man, as represented by Smurfette and her fear that she may revert to her natural state as a construct of Gargamel, whom we may in this instance read as Satan, despite the paternal ministrations of Papa Smurf, with his Yahweh-esque white beard. The astonishing celebration of the beneficence of privilege — so daring in our Occupy times! — in the depiction of a wealthy young New York family with the resources to fly to Paris on the spur of the moment and stay in a luxury hotel, all in the aid of a blue (read: “colored”) underclass. The startling structure of the storytelling, which all but puts the dialogue “This way to the next plot point” into the mouths of the actors, as if challenging the contextual necessity of a willing suspension of disbelief and highlighting the very artificiality of film itself. The demand– nay, the dare presented to us that we may well place our sympathies with Gargamel by creating profoundly irritating “heroes” in the Smurfs and then constructing a scheme for its “villain” that “could be the end of all Smurfkind!” should it succeed. Such subversiveness! To upend a natural cinematic order as it simultaneously makes us aware of that order is an audacious and even majestic–

No! I can’t do it. I just can’t! It’s not keeping me from being haunted by the crazed desperation in Jayma Mays’s eyes in her every scene. She may have been blinking out a Morse-code SOS, but I can’t be sure — curse my lack of military training! It’s not making me forget the dispirited resignation sloughing off Neil Patrick Harris. It can’t make me ignore my hopeless hope that whatever psychotropic drugs they have Hank Azaria on also deaden his pain.

It doesn’t make me stop worrying about how I cannot explain the presence of Brendan Gleeson here at all.


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Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:26pm

even the commercials on TV have me shuddering. i couldn’t watch Jon Oliver last night after hearing him voice one of those horrid little blue things.

reply to  bronxbee
Thu, Aug 01, 2013 1:16am

If it makes you feel better, he is 100% aware of how terrible they are, and is in it entirely for the money (it makes ME feel better, at least). He is pretty open in his disparagement of most of his movies on the Bugle Podcast, but especially the Smurfs

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 5:27pm

Further proof how clueless the American(and foreign?) public is in regards to what a good movie is. The original Smurfs made 142M. Far too many great movies have come nowhere near that. So sad.

Thu, Aug 01, 2013 11:26am

The only benefit I can see to this sort of thing is that at least the people watching it aren’t spoiling the enjoyment of people in other cinemas at the same time.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
Thu, Aug 01, 2013 4:28pm

Whenever I see an actor like Gleeson in a film like this, I think “Looks like somebody needs to make a payment on the new boat.”

Fri, Aug 02, 2013 11:22pm

as a cartoon series the smurfs was very boring. i havent seen the movie or this sequal and dont intend to watch it even on tv. can anyone tell me why this movie did so much business? do parents take their kids to watch it just becuase they think its a childish movie and dont care how stupid it is?

reply to  Imran
Fri, Aug 02, 2013 11:35pm

In the UK at least, there seem to be a lot of parents who will take their children to the cinema at the weekend and go to see whatever’s on. A film for children that’s the only (new) one available that day can therefore do remarkably good business.