The Smurfs 2 – Evil wizard Gargamel has a cunning plan – to learn the secret formula needed to turn his ‘Naughty’ creations into true Smurfs so that he can extract their essence. His creations, Vexy and Hackus, help him kidnap his former creation, Smurfette, through a magic portal that takes her back to the real world. A rescue party of Smurfs team up with some old friends to rescue her, but with the deceitful Naughties playing the long game, will Smurfette be tricked into revealing the formula before it is too late?

The Smurfs 2 (2013) – Raja Gosnell

the smurfs 2 movie poster suitable for children

Rating: U

Running Length: 105 mins

Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Katy Perry

Genre: Comedy, Animated


A sequel for the classic blue Smurfs was always going to happen if the original 2011 movie made any kind of money, and so here it is. With her birthday looming, Smurfette is having the same nightmare she always has at this time of year – that of reverting back to her ‘pre-Smurf’ form as created by the evil wizard, Gargamel. Whilst she was originally planted as a destructive spy, Papa Smurf saw the good in her and used a magic potion to turn her into a true Smurf. Gargamel, still trapped in the real world after the events of the last movie, has become a famous ‘magician’ in Paris with people mistaking his genuine magic for stage trickery. The movie revolves around his kidnap of Smurfette, subsequent attempts to bully, cajole and manipulate the formula out of her, whilst she all the time deals with worry about her true nature.

The Smurfs 2 seems learn from some of the problems of the original movie’s scattergun format. Unlike the numerous one note Smurfs in the first movie – headed by Clumsy’s general desire to be, well, less Clumsy – this time there is a tighter focus on the main plot points. Smurfette has a clear mental dilemma throughout and we see her deal with her feelings of inadequacy. Her connection with Vexy and Hackus grows organically and lands well and is a huge improvement on her disappointingly stereotyped role last time. Also as before, the Gargamel parts (played with plenty of ‘moustache twirling’ pizzazz from Hank Azaria) are often the best with snappy dialogue and slapstick moments. Similarly the general themes of parenthood and acknowledging the importance of where you come from as well done. Yes, a sullen Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) ranting at his step-father is less endearing than his previous worries about becoming a parent last time around. But The Smurfs takes the time to deliver a satisfyingly shaming scene when Patrick is pulled up on his immaturity as delivered by accident prone step-dad (Brenden Gleeson) in a genuinely heartfelt moment.

The weak link is, again, the Smurfs themselves. Considering each Smurf’s personality is literally their name, including ‘Vanity’ Smurf in the troupe is just an exercise in unfunny narcissism. Grouchy’s attempts to be ‘less Grouchy’ are somewhat dull, and, beyond Papa Smurf’s predictable paternal concern, the other Smurfs barely register as there. Overall, the movie has flattened out the peaks and troughs of the first effort so whilst the good parts aren’t as good, the bad parts (barring another jarringly irritating product placement scene – Tic Tacs this time) are mostly smoothed over. When it comes to children the comedy and high energy action will be good for a fun movie watching experience, and for adults there are fewer parts that will make you want to jump out a window on the 50th viewing – which can only be a plus.


In an introduction scene, Smurfette submerges in water before emerging and ‘changing’. Her hair turns brunette and her expression changes into one of mischief. She then attacks the other Smurfs who flee. This is a short sequence that is resolved quickly and has no serious threat.

Gargamel’s ‘Naughties’ (Vexy and Hackus) tease a cat and pull it’s tail when it is caught in a net.

Smurfette is self conscious about her birthday and in need of support. All the other Smurfs are planning a surprise birthday party and so pretend to have no idea that it is her birthday. She is hurt and upset by this.

Patrick and family are hosting a birthday party and are very keen to ensure that all the ingredients are acceptable for the children’s various allergies and parent’s various lifestyles. Patrick’s step father bursts in and gives corn dogs to the children, assuring them that they do not contain peanuts. Once the children start eating them he naively confesses that the corn dogs are fried in peanut oil. Two parents panic as their child begins to have a serious allergic reaction. The scene cuts and it clear that the child has been whisked to hospital. However, this scene is played for laughs and may offend or upset children who do actually have a peanut allergy and see said problem made light of.

Vexy and Hackus advance on Smurfette who cowers and sobs, “I’m so scared”. This scene is short but the threat lasts around 30 seconds before the tension is relieved.

There is an obscurely masked swear word that children may or may not pick up on. Once character is turned into a duck by Gargamel’s magic. The character can still talk and complains by virtually saying “that was ducked up!”. The ‘ducked’ part of the sentence is buried under a loud ‘quack!’ noise but the word is still almost audible. In the subtitles the sentence reads “that was …. up!” with the word removed. It is unlikely that children will notice this, but it was certainly must closer to a swear word than we would have expected in a Smurfs movie and one rated ‘U’. Similarly, later the duck says ‘what the [quack] is that!” with a quack noise instead of a word.

There is product placement all over the screen during parts of the film. At one point a Smurf lands in a bowl of Tic Tacs which are clearly labelled and he talks about how tasty they are.

A cat is thrown out of a low window. The cat is Azrael, Gargamel’s ‘assistant’ who complains and semi-talks throughout. Azrael is unhurt by the throwing and is just irritated, in a very cartoony way. However, the behaviour may be imitable.

The character who has been turned into a duck is grabbed by a chef to take him to the kitchen. The chef states that dinner will be ‘duck a l’orange’

After a confrontation, one character tells a young boy that he has to go now. The boy is upset at a loved family figure leaving for no apparent reason (as he was out of the room during an argument). This may upset young children who find it hard to say goodbye to loved ones.

Two characters who have become sympathetic are held in cages against their will. They are desperate and upset with one shouting ‘No cage!’ They appear to be ‘dying’ during this process. One character exclaims in lack of understanding that their face is ‘leaking’ and that they ‘no like leaking’. This is a tense scene that acts as the climax of the movie and may upset some young children who are sensitive to emotional moments and suffering of sympathetic characters. However, there is action from the ‘heroes’ going on simultaneously to provide a counterpoint.

One character is very surprised when another explains they had done something wrong in the past but was not physically punished for it. They state, “No spanking? No smack to the knuckles?”


‘The Smurfs 2’ plays things safe and there is nothing wrong with that. There is less of the out-of-place innuendo humour which stuck out as confusing last time and instead we have a movie that feature cutesy characters getting into exciting scrapes in the midst of some wise cracking; a decent theme of respecting your origins; and the crass previous commercialism has mostly been scrubbed. What is left is a movie that is family friendly and engaging, if not just a little bland for adult eyes. There are a few scary moments and one odd ‘hiding’ of an implied swear word (see below), but otherwise we would recommend ‘The Smurfs 2’ as suitable for children aged 3 and up.

  • Violence: 1/5 (mild and cartoony in nature)
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (two characters plead for their lives. One character is devastated when faced with the possibility of losing someone)
  • Fear Factor: 1/5 (the opening sequence and cage sequence are mildly scary but also short and contrasted with happier scenes)
  • Sexual Content: 0/5
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (disguised swear words, as above and also with ‘Smurf’ being used to replace a word, such as ‘Meryl smurfing Streep!’ Several references to being hit in the ‘smurfberries’ or ‘gargleberries’ – meaning between the legs).
  • Dialogue: 1/5 (mild threatening language often over the top and comical. When dealing with the character turned into a duck, another hisses ‘i’m going to pluck you!’)
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of adoption, adoptive family, not blaming others for your problems, responsibility, fighting to better yourself, emotional manipulation, unconditional love, and using others purely for your own gain.

Word by Michael Record

The Smurfs 1&2 [DVD]

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