Making the Grades
Life in Smurf Kingdom is typically idyllic. But when a strange grey Smurf named Vexy (Christina Ricci) plucks their lone female member from the flock, Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters) immediately assembles a posse to get her back. Opening a portal, Papa and his friends return to the New York City home of Patrick and Grace (Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays), who we met in the first Smurfs, where they explain the issue.
Of course the evildoer behind the abduction is Gargamel (Hank Azaria), the only predator in Smurf ecology. He’s a wizard who depends on “Smurf Essence” to power his magic wand and the only way to get Smurf Essence is from a true, blue Smurf. Discovering the wizard is headlining a magic show in Paris, the gang of humans and Smurfs head to the City of Lights believing where there is Gargamel there will also be Smurfette (Katy Perry).
The second movie in this aging franchise continues to poke fun at the saccharine sweetness of Smurf society with jabs at the “la, la, la” theme song and a few remarks that weren’t typical Saturday morning fare three decades ago. Jokes reference buttocks and a couple of remarks about injuring sensitive male parts. In another scene some Smurfs are in the water when some bubbles appear. A blue critter remarks that, “When a Smurf toots, someone smiles.” There’s a good chance most parents won’t appreciate this lesson being repeated in their homes.
In addition to the bathroom humor, there are many moments of peril in this movie that may leave young audience members unsettled. In a climatic scene, Gargamel puts Smurfette in a position of having to reveal the magic Smurf formula or watch two other Smurfs the wizard has created die from their lack of Smurf Essence. It’s a surprisingly emotional scene considering the surrounding context, and one parents should be prepared for. Other scenes display slapstick violence, including Smurfs hitting one another.
Perhaps the brightest moment in this film is one in which not a single blue creature is on the screen. In a somewhat unnecessary side story Patrick addresses some issues with his stepfather that he’s harbored for years. For children in stepparent relationships, this scene may provide an enlightening perspective.
For parents desperately seeking entertainment during Summer 2013, Smurfs 2 could fill the bill. However I suspect many of you may leave the theater feeling a tad, ahem, blue after spending your dollars for a visit to this kingdom.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Smurfs 2.
This movie is based on The Smurfs, a cartoon and line of toys. Learn more about them here: http://www.schlumpf.com/en/
What gender roles do male and female characters have in this movie? What is Smurfette’s “talent” or contribution to her society?
Smurfette says, “It doesn’t matter where you came from, what matters is who you choose to be.” How do you feel about this statement? Is it always true? Why or why not?