Judge Paul Pritchard is blue all over, but he's no Smurf; he's hypothermic.
Our reviews of The Smurfs: Season One, Volume One (published March 19th, 2008), The Smurfs: Season One, Volume Two (published October 30th, 2008), The Smurfs: True Blue Friends (published March 16th, 2009), The Smurfs (Blu-ray) (published November 30th, 2011), The Smurfs Holiday Celebration (published November 30th, 2011), The Smurfs: Smurfy Tales (published August 12th, 2009), and The Smurfs: World Of Wonders (published November 27th, 2009) are also available.
Get Your Smurf On!
With a live action/CGI movie due in theaters shortly, The Smurfs—only 3 apples tall—are potentially on the verge of being bigger than ever. Released to coincide with Raja Gosnell's update to these timeless character, Warner Bros. are putting out this collection of ten episodes from the second season of the animated series that ran from 1981 to 1990.
Facts of the Case
The Smurfs, for those who don't know, are a race of wee little blue creatures, each sporting white pants and headwear. Living in the Smurf village, they each have their own unique characteristic. There's Brainy Smurf, Jokey Smurf, Greedy Smurf, Smurfette, and a whole lot more, and they are all under the watchful eye of Papa Smurf. Though their existence is mostly peaceful, they frequently have to face the wrath of Gargamel, an evil sorcerer intent on discovering the location of their village and destroying them.
Collecting together ten episodes from Season Two, The Smurfs: A Magical Smurf Adventure contains two discs of Smurf-tastic adventures:
Like most kids growing up in the eighties, The Smurfs played their part in my upbringing. I can't say that I was a massive fan, but the animated series certainly helped pass the time on a rainy Sunday morning and have entertained children for decades. Has time been kind to Papa Smurf, Smurfette, and Gargamel, or are they, like so many shows from my childhood, a product of a more innocent age that, after Donnie Darko's ponderings on their sexual nature, has no place in the modern world?
Sadly, and not completely unexpectedly, The Smurfs proves to be really quite boring. Every episode follows the same formula, opening with the Smurfs picking berries (or some other such chore) before stumbling upon that particular episode's McGuffin that will almost certainly lead to them battling their perennial nemesis, Gargamel. There's a little slapstick along the way—usually at Gargamel's expense—and a magic potion or two. If you're lucky the episode may even feature a few armor-clad knights on horseback racing into battle, but it all just becomes tiresome, very, very quickly. Another thing I'd forgotten, but didn't take long to aggravate me no end, was the unfathomable decision to have the eponymous characters throw in the word "Smurf" randomly into sentences as if it were a verb or noun. Seriously, what the Smurf is that all about? It's Smurfing annoying. Sorry, I'll Smurf off.
All that said: it's hard not to be a little taken aback by how endearing the innocence on show is. My son certainly seemed to enjoy a handful of episodes, particularly one where the Smurfs must confront a fire-breathing dragon, though any kids over the age of five—and most probably raised on a diet of Ben 10 and Kick Buttowski—will find little to entice them back after their initial viewing. Therein lies the problem with this set. Though collectors will no doubt relish the opportunity to grab these classic episodes on DVD, it's questionable how well they'll play to anyone else beyond the preschool crowd.
A Magical Smurf Adventure shows few signs of any real effort having been put into it. Picture quality is disappointing, with no restoration work done to improve the aging transfer. As such colors lack vibrancy, and softness is prevalent. The mono soundtrack is—as one would assume—flat, though dialogue is generally easily discernable. Two extras are included, "Smurf Speak," which teaches the user how to "express yourself the Smurf way," and "Smurftastic Moments," which features the Top Ten moments from Season Two of the show.
Smurf enthusiasts and toddlers should enjoy this collection of episodes, but anyone else is advised to avoid. The DVD itself is equally uninspiring, with only token extras included, and an audio/video presentation that leaves much to be desired.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
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