- Composed by Heitor Pereira
- Varese Sarabande / 2013 / 48m
The sequel to The Smurfs, the cunningly-titled The Smurfs 2 sees the blue critters travel to Paris to rescue the kidnapped Smufette and save the world from the evil Gargamel. I believe it is based on true events. Returning to provide the score is Heitor Pereira; I haven’t heard his first score, so I don’t know whether he’s reprised any material from it or not. In the style of Dragnet, I will have to stick to just the facts, ma’am. So here’s one fact: this 48 minute album is split into 41 separate tracks. As you can imagine, that means that ideas come and go very quickly, some discarded so swiftly it’s hard to even remember they ever appeared; others do leave more of an impression, though I’d challenge anyone to say much about any of them by the time the album’s finished.
The score is relentlessly mickey-mousey – it’s never appropriate to criticise the composer of a score for an animation for taking that approach, so I won’t. I’m sure it is appropriate for the film. The problem comes when it’s put on an album – the longest track here is only 2:01 and most are considerably shorter than that, so while Pereira must be applauded for the wealth of ideas on display, he’s never able to develop them at all. The modern master of this style of animation scoring is Randy Newman – but he always seems to manage to really flesh out the ideas, and his mastery of the orchestra is a pleasure to hear. It probably doesn’t hurt that most of the animations he’s scored are really wonderful films, in a way that The Smurfs 2 is unlikely to be. So, it’s perfectly understandable that Pereira should have written a score like this for this film, and there’s no disgrace in not being as good at it as Randy Newman. But none of that actually makes the album enjoyable – only the music can do that – and sadly it’s just irritating more than anything a lot of the time. On the plus side, it’s all very chirpy and cheerful, there’s some good orchestral technique here, it’s all got a warm heart and a few of the tunes are pleasant enough at the time. A lot of effort has clearly been put into it, but it really just doesn’t work for me as an album.