"THE SMURFS: A MAGICAL
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)
Studio: Warner Bros.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
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With the new 3D feature film “The Smurfs” taking charge at the box office, Warner Bros. has released a new compilation of the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon series “The Smurfs,” based on the original stories by Peyo. This double-disc DVD includes ten episodes from the second season of the Saturday morning cartoon which ran from 1981 to 1989.
Episodes include “Smurf Van Winkle,’ “Revenge of the Smurfs,” “The Magic Fountain,” “Smurf Me No Flowers” and “A Cursed Country” on Disc 1. “The Blue Plague,” “The Ring of Castellac,” “A Mere Truffle,” “Gormandizing Greedy” and “Sister Smurf” are found on Disc 2.
WHAT I LIKED
I have a bizarre love-hate relationship with the Saturday morning cartoons of the 80s. While I grew up watching many of these shows, even then I recognized that the spirit and quality of the series had taken a step down from the 60s and 70s. That’s not to say that Hanna-Barbera productions were flawless in the previous decades (because anyone who’s watched a couple episode of “Top Cat” or “Quick Draw McGraw” will confirm otherwise). Rather, there was a distinct 80s feel that doesn’t quite hold the nostalgia for me of other shows.
“The Smurfs” are unique, though. While they still have that mass-market 80s feel to them, that’s where they originated for me (even though I know they’ve been around in comic strip form since the 50s). The previous release of “The Smurfs” cartoon that I perused was “True Blue Friends” from two years ago.
This release is superior simply because it has more selection. Ten episodes on two discs amassing 190 minutes of Smurfiness. It’s a neat way to provide several hours of entertainment for the kids, or to dip a little into the nostalgia with them. It’s not the complete second season, but it gives more than the first season disc did.
What’s also nice about these cartoons, as opposed to many I have seen on Boomerang with the kids, is the range. I suppose this shows more how the show went through changes in its second season than anything else. For example, the theme song changes (from using the full lyrics of the theme song to just using musical accompaniment to lead into a more Gargamel-heavy opening) and it still features the original Peyo characters of Johan and Peewit, giving a fair sampling of the characters.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
While I enjoy the range shown in these cartoons in terms of the mythos, they do just seem to be haphazardly thrown onto the disc. They’re not even presented in the order in which they aired in season two. I’m not sure why these episodes were chosen over others, but there isn’t really a flow among them. Even the way the shows open, especially on the first disc, it’s presented with a “And now we return to The Smurfs” intro, which is odd because it’s at the start of the program.
There are two short features on this DVD. One is “Smurf Speak,” a bit that describes the use of the term “Smurf” to mean almost anything. The other feature is “Smurftastic Moments,” which offer the top 10 moments of season 2 of “The Smurfs.”
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Smurf fans who liked the cartoon and most kids.