What made the Smurfs so endearing — from Belgian artist Peyo’s original “Les Schtroumpfs” comics to the 1981-89 animated TV series — was their simple charm. That the mushroom-dwelling blue creatures still manage to be endearing even in their second big-screen extravaganza (in 3-D, no less) is about the best that can be said of “The Smurfs 2.”
The sequel brings back evil sorcerer Gargamel (Hank Azaria), whose vaguely Russian accent is reminiscent of Steve Carell’s in “Despicable Me.” With the help of his hench-cat Azrael (a mix of live felines and CGI, voiced by Frank Welker) and two new naughty creations, Vexy (Christina Ricci) and Hackus (J.B. Smoove), Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette (Katy Perry), sending her through a whirling portal from Smurfville to Paris. Smurfette, for the uninitiated, was adopted by the all-male Smurfs and transformed from a naughty brunette — Gargamel is the one who created her — to a nice blonde with residual bad-girl nightmares. In his lair beneath Paris, Gargamel attempts to force Smurfette to divulge the formula that turned her into a Smurf, which he plans on using to create minions who’ll wipe out the real Smurfs.