Nobody needs more Smurfs
The Smurfs 2 Blu-ray Review
It's difficult to know exactly what you're allowed to expect from a Smurfs movie.Suffice to say, even with expectations set to the lowest notch on the scale, it's near-impossible to make it much more than half an hour into the movie before any vague curiosity value or childhood reminiscence gets utterly drained, and you're left clock watching your way to the conclusion.If you've already endured the first movie then, no doubt, you will be both at an advantage from knowing what to expect, and at a disadvantage because there won't be any curiosity/reminiscence threshold left second time around. This one takes the same Smurf Village / New York crowd and transports them to Paris to confront the evil Gargamel, who has a dastardly plan to kidnap Smurfette, convert her to the dark side, and then coerce the secret magic Smurf juice formula out of her.Certainly the best thing about this insubstantial kids’ animation is Hank Azaria’s dastardly Gargamel, making me wonder why they didn’t just do a spin-off movie focussing on him. Indeed even adults may assume that this sequel is not actually that bad when they see Gargamel’s magic show intro, wooing Parisian crowds with his turn-men-into-frogs magic shows – which nobody realises are, of course, real. Unfortunately Smurf Village takes things down a notch – aside from Smurfette and Papa Smurf, they’re all just too bland and indistinctive – and the trip to pick up the NY live action crowd just seals the fate of this picture.
This is one of those kids’ movies which not only has next to nothing in it for adults, but also feels like it probably won’t be all that interesting for kids either!
The Smurfs 2 Blu-ray Picture QualityFor those of you who – for whatever reason; kids hopefully – feel the need to pick this up, the technical side of things is nothing but good news. Hell, great news. The Smurfs 2 looks outstanding in 1080p High Definition, framed in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen.
Sure, we may not get the added dimensionality available from its 3D counterpart, but it still looks utterly stunning.
Sure, it’s been mastered in 4K, so what more would you expect? But, trust me, it doesn’t get any better than this. Detail is superb, with unparalleled fine object detail, facial observations, clothing weaves and background textures; neither close or longer shots betraying even a hint of softness, nor any digital defects either – no edge enhancement, artefacting or DNR.
The colour scheme is broad and vibrant, with the Smurfs themselves providing that extra blue pop whenever the background tones dip into the realm of normality for more than a few frames. Black levels are strong and deep, and shadow detail is excellent. Overall this is an outstanding video presentation. If there was an 11, it would deserve it.
The Smurfs 2 Blu-ray Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is almost as impressive, perhaps fractionally damaged by the mere fact that the video is so damn amazing, and it can’t help but stand in the shadow. Still, it’s unequivocally demo quality too, despite the expectations you might have from the material.
The Smurfs in Paris may not leave much to be desired in terms of content, but it opens up plenty of room for effects coverage, thumping score and centre-stage dialogue.
Surrounds get a decent workout, with plenty of dynamic breadth and punchy atmospheric range. Action sequences ignite the soundstage, but even the quieter moments offer up some decent ambience, and dialogue is never less than clear and coherent throughout.
The Smurfs 2 Blu-ray ExtrasIn terms of extras, we get the same unimpressive selection that adorns the US release, including a smattering of unexceptional Deleted Scenes, token Featurettes on Smurfette’s character arc, the Naughties and Azreal (as well as on animating Gargamel’s feline companion).
They’re catering for a far younger target audience, and that’s reflected in the tiny, fractured format of these piecemeal extras.
Nothing particularly revealing as all of the Featurettes are but a few minutes’ long, and don’t contain the kind of substance and technical information that, say, a Documentary or Commentary would.
Is The Smurfs 2 Blu-ray Worth BuyingI guess if you loved the first film, you’d probably be able to find something to enjoy about its sequel. But those who haven’t yet been sucked into the vapid, ineffective world of these blue pests should undoubtedly not start with this particular chapter, which has little going for it for children or adults alike.
The Region Free Blu-ray sports perfect video and excellent audio as well as a smattering of uneventful extras, leaving it a great release for those who will pick it up.
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