Doctor Sleep

What is the movie about? :: The terrifying events in the haunted Overlook Hotel which formed the movie The Shining has passed, but Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) hasn’t taken himself out of it completely. When he was a child and lived with his mother Wendy Torrance (Alex Essoe), he had the worst of the visions, but could manage to lock down the the spirits from the hotel in an imaginary space in his mind with the help of Dick Hallorann (Carl Lumbly), a benevolent spirit from the hotel which continued to help him, even after many years. As the hotel had closed down after the incidents, the ghosts, if let out, would try to feed on his psychic ability, his “shining”, as they are left with no other options. He is also warned that he should only keep his ghosts there, and not the memories. But this doesn’t go well for Danny with his life, as he gets to a new low with alcoholism, as it seemed to help him suppress his pysychic abilities, and he decides to escape from this lifestyle.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As he moves to a new town, a much smaller one, he finds a good friend in Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis) who was also an aloholic, and sponsors him with a job and a place to stay in. He makes new friends in a group meant for the alcoholic survivors, and manages to begin as an entirely new person there. He becomes an attendant for the elderly, and becomes known as Doctor Sleep, as he helped the old people to die in comfort as they reached the end of their days, with his shining. He also begins receiving some messages through telepathic communication from Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), a young girl who seems to have a shining which might be more powerful than anyone ever lived during his time, as she reaches him from a long distance away. Her parents are afraid of her abilities, but manage to raise her as a usual child, due to her skills in hiding her shining in front of others outside, including school. Danny and Abra continues to make connection by telepathy.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: It is then that the True Knot, a group of psychic vampires led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), who extend their lives towards immortality by the psychic power of young children, gets short of the much needed essence, and decide to go on hunting all around the nation. With the shining essence which serves as the steam for their existence facing a shortage, she and her partner Crow Daddy (Zahn McClarnon) adds the teenage psychic Snakebite Andi (Emily Alyn Lind) to her group, as she has an expertise in cheatign people, and because they can use their skills of manipulation. They turn her into a psychic vampire after feeding her the steam of Violet (Violet McGraw), a young girl whom they murdered, and had stored her essence for later use. While the group finds another boy with shining, and brutally murders him while feeding on his essence, Abra finds them, and she comes face to face with Rose, an act which sets the vampires on her trail. Danny feels the need to save her, but can he fight this centuries old cult of vampires?

The defence of Doctor Sleep :: There is balance being maintained in Doctor Sleep, as instead of getting into horror, which was the easiest step, the movie chooses to build each character really well. The case of the mind is nicely told, and we understand what each character is going through, and at the same time, we know their worlds really well. Unlike The Shining, the movie has different people and different world coming together, and we see the minds too, in an adventure which seems to be so well-designed to suit the taste of more than one kind of audience. That doesn’t take away the horror elements from Doctor Sleep, as they are present, and so are those thrilling moments. The different settings used by the movie, from the outskirts to the hotel with the spirits, are really good. The final fight scene of the movie is brilliantly worked out, and Rebecca Ferguson shows mastery out there as the psychic vampires rise above the blood-thirsty ones here.

Positives and negatives :: There was a challenging task ahead for the director here, to keep the movie close to the 2013 novel by Stephen King and the 1980 movie which deviated from the Stephen King novel – it was a difficult task, but it seems to have been done with some extra care. But the movie would have done better if it had followed the 2013 novel, because the younger audience who watch these movies more do not care that much about a 1980 version, and some others might have forgotten about the movie – if it had shortened its length and had stayed close to the 2013 novel version, there was chance for better success for this flick which didn’t come close to staying in the theatres as much as we wanted. The number of release centres which it had managed were also less, and it didn’t reach some towns at all. The movie might feel too long for some, but unlike some of other adaptations from novel which turn out to be too long, this one doesn’t drag.

Performers of the soul :: Ewan McGregor nicely makes the character a favourite, as we get to know the child from shining shown as the adult, and he fits in very well. Rebecca Ferguson plays the antagonist here, and this is one villain that you don’t need to miss, as he works this one towards perfection. When you are in a horror movie, there are antagonists which you imagine, but not this one, as she plays another character whom we get close to, someone who is not the usual evil prey. Most of the audience know her the best from Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Mission: Impossible – Fallout; she was also there in the science fiction horror in space, Life. The Swedish actress would be someone perfectly suited for thrillers, whether action thrillers or horror thrillers, and we see her becoming the character in such a way that we can’t separate her from the antagonist. Kyliegh Curran as the girl with the most shining is solid, while Emily Alyn Lind adds a beautiful evil charm.

How it finishes :: It is not easy to come up with something like a perfect sequel after a long period of time, like thirty nine years after a movie releases. If you have watched It, you know that the sequel came in just a few years, and the second chapter never really came close to being as good as the first one. Pet Sematary, with its sequels and reboots have also just managed to be good enough. But Doctor Sleep, the sequel of The Shining has excelled in doing the job. It is indeed a shining sequel, and it might be the best, a movie can have as its sequel, especially a psychological horror film. Even Hannibal couldn’t get such a sequel, and we know where The Ring franchise went. The Conjuring had the best one as the first movie, and so did Insidious. Therefore, what Doctor Sleep has achieved with one of the best movies of the year is something that we need to appreciate. Here is one psychological thriller you shouldn’t miss even in the name of Corona virus.

Release date: 8th February 2019
Running time: 181 minutes
Directed by: Nicholas McCarthy
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis, Emily Alyn Lind, Zahn McClarnon, Carl Lumbly, Jocelin Donahue, Bruce Greenwood, Robert Longstreet, Alex Essoe, Carel Struycken, Zackary Momoh, Jacob Tremblay, Henry Thomas, Bethany Anne Lind, Catherine Parker, Violet McGraw, Selena Anduze, Met Clarke

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Predator

What is the movie about? :: It has been a long time since the extraterrestrial species called Predators visited Earth and was defeated by Dutch, a soldier belonging to the special forces, with the support of his elite military rescue team and the guerrilla, Anna. There were many instances of Predators visiting Earth to collect human trophies, and also taking humans prisoners to be hunted for sport at other planets. Predators having evolved. a lot of things had happened on their own planet, making the hunting procedure further complicated. There will be more than one Predator on Earth, and the existence of humans will be threatened. There is proof that Predators have been visiting Earth more times than anyone had ever known. They were sources for many beliefs, and this time, they are on Earth not just for hunting, and humans are to learn it the hard way.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is the trooper who discovers that the creatures known as Predators exist and are on Earth, but discovers that there are only two kinds of people around him; those who doesn’t believe that the creatures are real and others who want to keep this knowledge as a secret for certain reasons. He is forced to join forces with other former military men, Nebraska (Trevante Rhodes), Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key), Baxley (Thomas Jane), Lynch (Alfie Allen) and Nettles (Augusto Aguilera) – they become fugitives on the run, but the aim of all them is just one, to end Predator menace and the possible threat to Earth. Will Traeger (Sterling K Brown) is after them too, and as an agent, he hopes to discover the secrets of the alien species of hunters all by himself, and with the same, take advantage of the situation.

And what is follow with the tale? :: Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn), a biologist who was called in to check on the Predators is also being hunted by the merceneries of Will; she also joins the team of Quinn. But situation demands quick action, as Quinn’s son Rory McKenna (Jacob Tremblay) is in trouble as he receives the packet containing Predator weaponry which was sent to his mother Emily (Yvonne Strahovski) by his father Quinn. He becomes a target for the Predators, and this makes saving the boy the immediate need. But a new, bigger creature has reached Earth, and this particular alien seems to be an advanced form of Predator. Now, the team led by Quinn has more than what they thought they had to handle. Can they survive against all odds against the one species which is capable of ending life in more than one planet?

The defence of The Predator :: The entertainment in The Predator is of a higher level than most of the other movies which claim to be entertaining. There are those movies like those in the Kingsman series which don’t know how they were appreciated, and there are films like Black Panther which were undoubtedly overrated. Here we have The Predator which comes back at the same time, to bring us fine nostalgia on one of the favourite movies of all-time, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is not appropriate to compare this one with that particular cult classic, but the adventure here is also entertaining, not just with the action and thrills, but also with the comic side, which can be considered as one of the best in an action-thriller with a space alien attacking humans. This idea never gets old, and we can see that there is more to come in a possible sequel.

The claws of flaw :: Most of the reviews about this movie has been more forgettable than what they say about this movie, because they are caught in certain inability to look through the creature’s world. The problems with this flick is rather less than some of those comparatively overrated movies which have grossed more. The ending of this movie is rather strange with the door kept open for a sequel in a way which most of the fans of Predator or any alien movie will have doubts on. There is also the fear and shock factors staying low, and the story could have also been better in parts. Also, people want answers, especially those who are unable to use their imagination to come up with some of them – it is surprising that some of the professional and highly paid critics fail to use their creative imagination and suspension of disbelief in the best possible way. Yes, this could have had a smarter tale which clearer ideas and a Predator could have been the original hunter as always, but this is certainly not something that stays below.

The performers of the soul :: Boyd Holbrook played the villain in Logan as well as some interesting roles in thriller movies like Morgan and A Walk Among the Tombstones. He plays the soldier and the lead well. Olivia Munn brings more to the movie, as she is energetic, and shows the ability to handle the comic side really well. Even though the rest of crew standing with the protagonist got the chance to contribute more there, Olivia has the charm, and we love her on the big screen. She had played Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse. a powerful mutant and one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse with telepathic, telekinetic and psionic abilities, able to channelize her energy far beyond. She was also there in Deliver Us from Evil. She is fun to watch, and never hesitates to bring the comic relief in her own way. She would be a perfect choice for a scream queen in any of those horror movies too. At the same time, Jacob Tremblay is a fine child actor as proven here. Yvonne Strahovski whom we know from I, Frankenstein is there only for a short period of time, but surely has her moments.

How it finishes :: We have always loved the Predator franchise, and the love is more or less similar to the love we have for the Alien franchise, and both have nicely mingled together in Alien vs Predator movies as we remember them. The Alien vs Predator movies never really did enough to satisfy the fans of both franchises, while Predators did bring the interest in the franchise back with Adrien Brody and Alice Braga playing two of the characters caught among predators in an alien planet. Prometheus and Alien Covenant still scored more though, taking the crown back from Predators who were supreme in Alien vs Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. This meant that Predator had to make a return in style, and this one, even though not matching the original, does a great job. Now, it is to be seen about what more Alien and Predator movies can bring. Until then, this version of Predator also thrills and entertains the viewers.

Release date: 14th September 2018
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Shane Black
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Yvonne Strahovski, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Sterling K Brown, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey, Niall Matter, Brian A Prince

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shut In

Vampire Owl: I am used to hearing a part of this title.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you have heard of this movie title?

Vampire Owl: No, I am used to listening to “shut up”.

Vampire Bat: That should happen naturally to you in a growing vampire community which is building a new code of conduct.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that the critics don’t like this movie?

Vampire Bat: Is that a reason why we shouldn’t like them?

Vampire Owl: Well, they liked I Am Not a Serial Killer.

Vampire Bat: That is absolutely ridiculous. They really need the word “shut up” instead of “shut in”.

Vampire Owl: It is time for us to bring the balance by supporting the correct movie.

Vampire Bat: This is indeed that movie to support!

[Gets three cups of masala tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: Richard Portman (Peter Outerbridge) and his son Steven Portman (Charlie Heaton) meets an accident while leaving home after a fight between the two – their car crashes into a truck as the differences between the two continue even inside the vehicle on the road. After the accident takes the life of her husband and leaves the son paralysed, Richard’s second wife and Steven’s step-mother, a psychologist by profession, Mary Portman (Naomi Watts) decides to care of the boy, even though it means being isolated from her own friend circle and spending most of her time with him. Separated from her own people, and often questioning her own decisions, she keeps herself going against all odds. But there is one thing that she is sure about, and it is that she has to take care of the boy.

So, what happens next? :: There is also a young kid Tom Patterson (Jacob Tremblay) who was her patient, but has gone missing. This ten year old child is deaf, and she had seen him for the last time at her own home. She does hear strange noises in her home, and there are also stranger happenings around, for which she can find no explanation. She also has her own nightmares, and the only rational explanation seems to be her inability to sleep during nights, which is bringing these hallucinations to her – but she is not satisfied with the same. Then, later, during a storm, on a strange dark night, she begins to believe that someone else is inside the house trying to harm her and Steven. Who or what is this that has come to her home without an invitation? Why does it/him/her want to haunt her and her paralysed son? Then the bigger question is about the missing child!

The defence of Shut In :: There is a strong line of mystery going right through Shut In, as it keeps us guessing from the very early stages itself. There are those moments of scare and there is suspense, as we get to that twist in the end. If you are going to ask why the protagonist didn’t figure out this or why she didn’t act like that, I am sure that I can ask why the protagonist in your favourite movie acts in such an unbelievable manner – well, it is different for each person, and being a psychologist like the main character of this movie won’t help at all; for you will never become the master of others’ minds, as each person is different as an individual and not as a robot whose “metallic emotions” could be treated by science. It is also the message of this movie – it doesn’t matter how much you think you know about others and their minds, and there is no point about claiming that you have studied it scientifically: you just can’t predict human nature.

The claws of flaw :: There are similarities to another movie which released in the same year, The Boy which also had problems with the critics, who might have decided that these movies were bad even before watching them – it is a clear reflection of the fact that some people are not qualified enough to judge horror movies, for such flicks surely need separate reviewers who understand the soul of horror, hopefully none of them includes those who reviews Bollywood drama. There is something strange going on with these people who keep rating the scarier horror movies low, and give a better score to horror movies which are not horror at all – even the thriller genre suffers from the same. This movie surely had the potential to develop better with its basic idea, and there are some points when things are not that smooth, but the shorter length makes sure that the movie survives that.

Performers of the soul :: From the beginning to the end, Naomi Watts remains the heart and soul of this movie. Seemingly getting younger every time, she is the kind of actress that everyone would love to have a in a horror movie or a mysterious thriller. You remember watching her in Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering a long time ago, but we all better recognise her from the much loved horror movie The Ring and its less acclaimed sequel, The Ring Two. But the best of her for me is the 2007 version of Funny Games – she has been perfectly suited to this genre which has the thrills and scares in store. It is the same that she makes sure in this movie, as once again does her job in the perfect way – we appreciate seeing her on the screen in this flick too. Charlie Heaton and Oliver Platt also scores in between, but Jacob Tremblay only gets less to do unlike in that nice horror movie named Before I Wake.

How it finishes :: This is another nice thriller movie which has been wronged by the critics. It is a thing about them to combine and build flaws on some movies, and the critics in India usually have the tendency to copy those in the United States without shame, unless there is someone from Bollywood performing in that movie [then it will be, watch the movie for him or her]. Some people really needs to know what “bad” and “terrible” movie means, and some of those flicks include those which they have been praising so much in the last few years. Maybe they were watching another movie instead of this one – who knows? Or they do judge in a way that only their group of people understands. Shut In is worth a watch; it is no big horror thriller, but it is surely something in which you can try and spend your time – it has enough in store.

Release date: 11th November 2016
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Farren Blackburn
Starring: Naomi Watts, Oliver Platt, Charlie Heaton, Jacob Tremblay, David Cubitt, Clémentine Poidatz, Crystal Balint, Alex Braunstein, Peter Outerbridge

shutin

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Before I Wake

beforeiwake-2

Vampire Owl: Do I get to make a sentence with this title?

Vampire Bat: What are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: I really wanted to make a sentence with these words as those school children do.

Vampire Bat: Why do you want to imitate school children when we are self-taught and vampire-learnt?

Vampire Owl: I just want to try it once like they do.

Vampire Bat: Okay, come up with the sentence.

Vampire Owl: Before I wake, I remember that I need to brush my teeth.

Vampire Bat: This is the most ridiculous sentence that I have heard – you never brush your teeth. And you should remember that before going to sleep, not after falling asleep.

Vampire Owl: I do brush my teeth, but I do that only in secret.

Vampire Bat: Secret? It is not like you are planning to bring the end of the world.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: The married couple of Jessie (Kate Bosworth) and Mark (Thomas Jane) Hobson makes the decision to adopt a child after their young child dies all of a sudden, and as they realize that they can’t be parents biologically anymore. They haven’t really recovered from the loss of their only child, but they decide to go on with the adoption anyway hoping that it will make them forget and provide a child with a better life. The one whom they adopt is the eight year old boy Cody Morgan (Jacob Tremblay), who was adopted many times, but had to return to the foster home for a variety of reasons. After not much of a thought, they decide that this is the child for them. Even though Jessie is a lot more concerned with parenting after the unexpected death of her son, she decides to bring all the love to Cody, and so does Mark.

So, what happens next? :: There are just happy moments with the three around, and they get along really well. Cody seems like a good child, and the the couple leaves nothing behind in loving him. One night, the couple are surprised to see beautiful butterflies of different colours fly across the living room. But when Cody wakes up, things get back to how it used to be, and the butterflies suddenly disappear without leaving any trace. Another night, after talking to Cody about their dead son, they find the child standing in front of them at the main hall, and see him disappear when Cody wakes up. Jessie is fascinated by this, and shows him many videos of his son so that there is a better chance that Cody dreams about him when asleep – she also tries to keep him asleep so that he can dream. But there is more to his dreams that they know – and it will be revealed soon.

What all awaits in the dreams and nightmares? :: Cody talks a lot about The Canker Man (Topher Bousquet) who is always with him. As this person is supposed to arrive when he is asleep, he mostly stays awake reading about butterflies and other nice things. He often talks about this creature having eaten his mother, and keeps making sure that this shadowy creature is not present around him just before going to sleep. With all these powers that Cody’s dreams have, there is only more that the powerful nightmares can do, especially during a bad day at school or at home. It is certain that nobody believes him when he talks about it, and not many people who have seen it remains alive, with the rest of them in the mental asylum. With such dark power waiting to be unleashed, does the couple realize what they are going to face?

The defence of Before I Wake :: Well, this is not the horror-fest that we need, but the beautiful horror that could do even better. There are enough scary moments, and along with the same, the main idea is superb – to have a mind that could create things, but good and bad, through the dreams which become reality; you sleep, but what you have in your dreams and nightmares become the reality for the people who are awake. When you are not in control of these, you don’t wish to sleep at all – nobody can blame you for the same. There is a nicely designed creature here, and the same can be said about the environment as well as the world that is created inside the dreams and nightmares. Mike Flanagan has provided us some of the most interesting horror movies including Ouija: Origin of Evil and Oculus, and Absentia and Hush are two highly rated ones from him too, with Gerald’s Game coming up based on the Stephen King’s novel of same name. You can always expect something special when he is around.

The claws of flaw :: This one could have surely added more frightening moments, and also should have picked up the pace faster in the beginning stages. We do have an idea early enough, but things just move rather slowly during those times. The Canker Man, the monster, should have been in the movie for longer too – so could have been the use of his powers, with sleeping and dreaming being part of the action on screen when least expected. With the scope for imagination to run wild as this is about dreams and nightmares, one is sure to say that this movie could have easily made it into the list of favourites on many lists with more attention. There could have been something similar to the magic which Guillermo del Toro had created with his creatures in more than one movie, but this one’s focus keeps shifting from what was its biggest strength among them all – the nightmare creature, or the Canker Man.

How it finishes :: There is one thing that we can be sure about – it is that Before I Wake is more than just a horror movie; it dares to be different in its treatment of its monster and how things change to reach that end which leaves a smile on our faces. It ends with more of a beautiful feeling than anything else – it is something that horror movies don’t usually have. As Kate Bosworth provides with a performance that makes us feel the dreams and nightmares, happiness and sadness, life and death – all at one place, we are made sure that this is the horror movie which is not just about being terrifying, but also about something more than that. It is the success of this kind of a movie that we see here, which is part a fairy-tale and also a horror movie, being the kind of movie that we wish to watch before we go for sleep and have our daily dose of dreams and nightmares. Here we have those which make Crimson Peak and Mama proud.

Release date: 31st July 2016
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane, Jacob Tremblay, Annabeth Gish, Dash Mihok, Topher Bousquet, Scottie Thompson, Justin Gordon, Kyla Deaver

beforeiwake

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Smurfs 2

thesmurfs2 (3)

There are times when people think that a sequel is necessary for every successful movie. Such sequels often go bad, as they are more of repetitions and imitations of the first – but this one manages to hold its ground, not with full strength; just marginally. It has forced itself on the viewers, and has often succeeded with its funny dialogues and the incredible cuteness which it has developed, with an inherent goodness and a little stupidity which gets overshadowed by their aversion towards evil, unlike the minions of Despicable Me 2. That should make this the perfect movie for kids, as there is the moral side which is strong, and everything else goes on depending on this side of the good. Well, The Smurfs 2 is highly dependent on what the first movie had given the viewers, and in the process of making this sequel, it has copied almost everything from The Smurfs and has presented it in a slightly different manner. The advantage that we achieve with the same is that this one is an even better story in morals, and it is further preachy in nature as it goes on and on. There is divine justice as well as the poetic justice, but not without the actions from our little and bigger heroes does fate and destiny dare to intervene.

The Smurfs 2 is a collection of escapism and childish fantasy. It has done enough to have almost every child drag their parents into the theatres to watch some cute little blue creatures. They have also tested the same on the older one very well, as there is a certain amount of nostagia of childhood that seem to affect the grown ups too, and if this was released before Despicable Me 2, the scope would have been higher. They had taken on New York earlier, and now they are at Paris. The little blue creatures have tried their best, but lacking in bringing innovation and originality, this movie had to try and bring a smile to the face of all the viewers, and once again, the result is effectiveness of a lesser scale. If one didn’t watch the first movie, the probability of liking this movie might even go higher. There is a good explanations of the things that go on with this world even in this movie. There are so many occasions when a predecessor’s shoes are good enough, but shouldn’t they have tried to remove the dirt in the same instead of throwing more on it, in a huge variety of colours? May be colourful dirt is good – at least its not bad or evil, and there is a little more time to be sure about that.

Years have passed after the group of smurfs got sucked into a gigantic vortex which brought them to the new world of New York City. Smurfette is shown to suffer from an identity crisis, as she is having nightmares about betraying her fellow Smurfs and getting them captured by Gargamel. At the same time, the Smurfs are preparing a surprise birthday party for Smurfette. But as nobody talks about her birthday and keeps it a secret, she feels that they have forgotten the day and don’t consider her as one of them. She feels that she is neither here nor there, as neither the daughter of Gargamel or Papa Smurf, created by one and given the life of a Smurf by Papa Smurf. She had been an instrument to distract and trap the Smurfs, but now she is claimed as one of them, but the doubts in her mind never ends. She wanders away from the village thinking about the same. Meanwhile, Gargamel has become a famous magician in Paris, but he is running out the Smurf essence and thus losing his magical powers. With his new Smurf-like creations, who are called the Naughties – Vexy and Hackus, Gargamel plans on opening a portal to the Smurf village and get the Smurf formula by kidnapping Smurfette who joined the other side. But he doesn’t have the magical powers to create a portal big enough for him to enter, and he sends Vexy who goes through it and successfully tricks the first Smurf lady through the portal as she wanders around alone.

The Smurfs are alerted, and Papa Smurf uses his magic to create crystals that would allow some of his best Smurfs to go back to the human world, but through an accident, Clumsy, Grouchy and Vanity ends up travelling to the modern world rather than Brainy, Hefty, and Gutsy. The four Smurfs arrive in the apartment of Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris) right after the birthday celebration of his son Blue (Jacob Tremblay) who has been named after them. They also meet Patrick’s stepfather Victor Doyle (Brendan Gleeson), whom Patrick hates and wishes to keep away from his family. The Smurfs join with them as well as Patrick’s lovely wife Grace Winslow (Jayma Mays) and goes to Paris where the sorcerer has set up his abode. The team manages to sneak through the backside of the magic arena of the villain, but fails to find Smurfette. Meanwhile, she joins with Vexy and Hackus in fun, and almost forget the Smurf life. Gargamel and his cat Azrael try their best to get information out of the Smurf lady, and at the same time, the human gang and the Smurfs tries to get through to the secret lair of Gargamel. In the battle for Smurf identity and Smurfy existence, there is a lot at stake including the Smurf lady as well as the whole Smurf village.

So, this movie running just a minute more than its predecessor, is no entity which can be considered different from the first movie. Its twelve percent approval rating at the Rotten Tomatoes comes as no surprise, even as that is a little harsh considering how much goodness this movie carries, or at least attempts to hold in itself. Its best moments are recreated from the first movie, and it fails to exist as a thing of innovation. With the large number of animated movies releasing these days, this half-an-animation might be a little repetitive in a less interesting manner. We already saw The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, Epic and Turbo making impact this year, and this movie tries to impress kids in the same way. But how much can the kids take? They have a similar movie coming up each month which gives them their good time in the theatre. It is us horror fans who have less for our liking. We are fed with one movie, once in five months or so, in the form of The Conjuring, and that too should have been cut so much that there is that new question about what the horror really is. I guess we don’t count anymore, and the animated movies are the new, profitable trend – if the superhero movies don’t have anything to say against that claim; ask our beloved Man of Steel who lost his underwear in his effort to match a Dark Knight who rises.

Smurfette is the central character of this movie, and the second significant one is Vexy, voiced by Katy Perry and Christina Ricci respectively, bringing the whole new sisterly Smurf relationship to the movie series. The best moments though, belong to Vanity Smurf and Azrael bringing good laughter through their pride and fall. Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick Winslow has a lesser role to play in this sequel as his character looks more hammered into the middle of the world as a misfit, and Jayma Mays as Grace Winslow has even lesser to do this time. Brendan Gleeson as Victor Doyle brings some fun right into the middle of chaos. Hank Azaria as Gargamel continues to keep us interested even as the villain seems to be more of a clone of what he was in the first movie. But we can’t avoid Gargamel and his sorcery that easily, as the man continues to be the villain that he was in the first movie. Azrael the cat could have had a little more screen-time to make the most out of it. The movie should have found something smurfantastic, but it takes the easy way out, as the movie starts in an ordinary manner and ends in a predictable manner. Whatever happens in the middle tries to hold this world together.

Even with some good 3D effects, The Smurfs 2 fails to get rid of all those things which might have added negatively to the first movie. But all the good things are still there. With The Conjuring on the other screen, this would attract the families with kids, that’s for sure. But the fact remains that Pacific Rim, The Wolverine and Man of Steel haven’t disappeared yet as expected. Therefore, the choices are there, and this movie has to strive hard. The big shock might be that there is the little presence of Despicable Me 2 somewhere around. But The Smurfs 2 is new and they got style, colour and a cute and easy to pronounce title which rhymes with Surf Excel, our common detergent powder which has attacked the television screens without mercy. With its ordinary moral story which keeps you smurfed, smurfized and smurfined, the question would remain if they could have waited a little more and come up with a better sequel of excellent content. The little blue creatures have more potential than this, and we can only hope that the third movie of the series would fulfill it. Until then, one has to adjust with this movie, and I am sure that it won’t bore you to death – it doesn’t make you feel awesome either.

Release date: 31st July 2013 (USA); 4th August 2013 (India)
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Raja Gosnell
Starring: Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays, Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson , Jacob Tremblay, Nancy O’Dell & a big number of voice actors including Katy Perry and Christina Ricci

thesmurfs2 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.