As a child of the 1980s, I grew up with The Smurfs. My sister and I watched the cartoons every Saturday morning, and we even collected the figurines. When the first Smurfs movie came out in 2011, I was so excited to introduce my children to my old friends. They fell in love with The Smurfs and have not stopped talking about seeing Smurfs 2 since they saw a teaser poster months ago.
Lucky for me, I had the chance to work with the great team at Sony on a preview event for Smurfs 2, and I'm happy to say that the film lives up to any little Smurfs fan's expectations. The movie is just as fun and entertaining as the first movie - maybe even more so.
Smurfs 2 mostly takes place in the beautiful city of Paris, France (which the evil wizard Gargamel—once again played with gusto by Hank Azaria—refers to as a "cheese-infested metropolis"). The movie follows Smurfette as she is captured by Gargamel and his ersatz Smurfs, Vexy and Hackus, also known as the Naughties. A daring rescue by Papa Smurf and some of the others ensues as they try to prevent Gargamel from bringing his plan for complete "Smurfageddon" to fruition.
The film also stars Neil Patrick Harris, one of my absolute favorite performers and award hosts who I cannot WAIT to see in Hedwig & The Angry Inch when it comes to Broadway in 2014, the adorable Jayma Mays who I love as Emma Pillsbury on Glee, and the great Brendan Gleeson in an at-times-thankless role (when he gets turned into a duck), who kids will no-doubt recall as the late Mad-Eye Moody from the Harry Potter franchise.
There are breathtaking shots of Paris, from the Opera House to the Tuileries Garden and its Grand Roue to Notre Dame, the scene of a such a thrilling winged adventure that it could be turned into an amusement park ride. Don't be surprised if your kids want to take the next flight into Charles de Gaulle!
Little ones will also really enjoy the slapstick humor throughout the film and the larger-than-life personality given to Gargamel's long-suffering cat Azrael. There are a few scenes that could be a bit scary for kids under four years of age, but everything is resolved quickly and with lots of Smurfiness! There are also lots of jokes and references that only parents will get, including nods to Star Wars, Scarface, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and more.
Smurfs 2 has a beautiful message about love and family, especially about mixed or blended families. The sentiment that "It doesn't matter where you came from, it's who you choose to be," is easy-to-understand yet also quite powerful.
I do hope my little blue friends will Smurf back soon with another delightful movie. Next stop, perhaps Toyko? Now that would be something to get really Smurfed about!
Smurfs 2 (Sony Pictures Animation) is now in theatres.
Jennifer Niederhoffer is the founder of Impress Media, an independent lifestyle & entertainment public relations and editorial services firm. You can follow her on twitter @impressmedia or @themommysreview.