I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons in the 1980s and it has pained me to see the animated shows I loved so much get butchered on the big screen. Scooby Doo, Transformers and The Smurfs made bank at the box office, but couldn’t capture the magic of the original series. Don’t even get me started on the abomination that was Yogi Bear. It’s a tough task to translate the cartoon to the celluloid with only a few succeeding. This week the little blue Belgians are back to try bring out my inner 80s child in The Smurfs 2.

Right off the bat The Smurfs 2 corrects one of its mistakes from the original. The Smurfs 2 sticks to one of its cartoon origin stories, rather than deviate Michael Bay style. The story surrounds Smurfette’s transformation into a Smurf after being created by Gargamel (Hank Azaria). Smurfette (Katy Perry) has lived with the Smurfs for years, but she still doesn’t believe she belongs. Gargamel, who is working in our world as a magician in Paris, creates the Naughties (Vexy and Hackus) to catch Smurfette. The plan is to bring Smurfette to Gargamel so he can find out the formula that Papa Smurf used to make Smurfette into a real smurf.

I have to say, I enjoyed the little blue people in white much more this time around in The Smurfs 2. It’s funny how if you use a novel concept like sticking to the source material you can make something work. I wasn’t a fan of The Smurfs because it went the dimension portal route and really had nothing to do with the original series. The portal is opened again in The Smurfs 2, but we have a story most adults who watched The Smurfs animated series were familiar with. The choice of having Smurfette as the vocal point of the plot gave me a chance to reconnect with a pop culture icon from my youth.

The new additions to The Smurfs 2 make the film a more enjoyable experience. Gone Is Sofia Vergara’s obnoxious fashion mogul and enter Brendan Gleeson. Gleeson shows how it doesn’t matter if it’s Braveheart, In Brugress or The Smurfs 2 the Irish actor shines in everything he’s in. Gleeson’s  character Victor mirrors the theme of The Smurfs 2 which is your family isn’t always about who gave birth to you. It’s about who’s really there for you. Besides the welcome addition on Gleeson and the Naughties, you get a few new Smurfs including my favorite Passive Aggressive Smurf.

Please don’t think me unnaturally gushing over The Smurfs 2 makes it the greatest family film ever. Truth is it doesn’t compare to the Pixar films or Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, but is a fun experience for you as a parent who is stuck taking the kids to the movies. Your children will absolutely love it and especially the girls since the story focuses on Smurfette. As I stated before, it’s tough bringing a beloved cartoon to the big screen. People tend to hold the things they love from their childhood sacred. The Smurfs 2 is a fun watch that gives you 80s nostalgia while mixing in the kid giggles and inside humor for the older kids. The Smurfs 2 is far from perfect, but it definitely improves greatly from the original. The Smurfs 2 earns my rating of 2.5 out of 4 potatoes, but odds are your kids will give it a higher score.

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