Warner Bros. // 1982 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Eric Profancik (Retired) // August 12th, 2009
La la la la la la.
It wasn't cool back in the day to admit it, but I used to watch and like The Smurfs. Today it's somewhat safe to admit that, but if I did that back then I would have been beaten and bullied beyond belief. If I were to further admit I liked The Gummi Bears, I'd be dead. But that's neither here nor there, and I decided it would be interesting to peruse this disc to revisit friends from decades past. Don't you know that rarely works out? How many times will it take before it sinks into my head: What you enjoyed as a kid most likely won't be any fun today.
So it goes with the Smurfs.
The Smurfs: Smurfy Tales is a less than smurfalicious collection of five smurfy stories from its smurftastic nine year run. The stories are "The Last Laugh," "The A-maze-ing Smurfs," "The Lost City of Yore," "Johan's Army," and "The Good, the Bad, and the Smurfy."
Must to my chagrin, I was absolutely and positively bored by the tales that unfolded before me. With each passing minute I began to question my sanity for (1) requesting the title and (2) wondering how the devil I found any enjoyment in these dreadful tales as a smurfy youth. I know it's all good, simple fun meant for young(er) children, yet I have the hardest time imagining kids who might enjoy the Smurfs today. This disc was, honestly, horrible to watch. But I kept slogging through, insisting on applying an adult, 21st Century logic to the show. I had to relax, go with the flow, and relive the simple smurfy joys of my childhood. Sadly, I just couldn't do it.
Perhaps other volumes of "Smurfy Tales" will be smurfier, with better stories, but this volume is clearly not going to win the show any new fans. But how many old ones will be turned away as well?
What really floored me in watching the five stories was the one I predicted I would hate the most turned out to be the most enjoyable of the lot, "Johan's Army." When I read the five titles and saw Johan, I remembered not liking him -- or PeeWee -- much at all. It turns out that the less smurfy episodes were better. Funny how time can do that.
Adding insult to injury are the transfers for this disc. The full frame video looks like it's a third-generation VHS bootleg from 1982. Nothing is appealing in the presentation with washed out colors, no detail, wanting contrast, and a ton of grain, noise, and dirt. I can't imagine it looked that bad when it appeared on television years ago. The mono audio fares a tad better but it's still bad with occasionally muffled dialogue and a general background hiss throughout.
Included is one bonus feature, "Meet the Smurfs." You can meet a total of four Smurfs, including Smurfette!, in a brief three minute montage of clips from the disc. It's a waste of time. There's also a nominally hidden Easter Egg on that menu.
At this point is there any doubt as to my recommendation? Stay away and cherish your memories as they are.
The Smurfs: Smurfy Tales is hereby found guilty of ruining yet another
fond childhood memory.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 1982
MPAA Rating: Not Rated