DVD Review: Smurfs and the Magic Flute

The Smurfs are back. After being a Saturday morning sensation in the ’80s, the race of magical little blue creatures in white pants and caps returned to the big screen thanks to CGI and Neil Patrick Harris. Contrary to what some movie critics want you to believe, this wasn’t the first time Papa Smurf was a movie star. They had made an animated featured in Belgium. The Smurfs and the Magic Flute came out in Europe back in 1976, but didn’t reach America until 1983.

Why the delay? What’s the point in putting out an American theatrical release for characters that were only familiar to Army brats that grew up in West Germany? After Hanna-Barbera made the Smurfs a TV hit on Saturday mornings, it was finally time to make a few bucks off the kiddie matinee crowd. Lazy movie critics that slept in on Saturdays scoffed this animated film as merely episodes strung together for a quick cash grab. Little did they know the movie didn’t reflect the American version of the series. The script is based off a 1958 comic strip created by Peyo. There is no Gargamel, Azrael and Smurfette in the cast. The Smurfs don’t appear until after the first reel. The film was still a hit with its delayed arrival. People can’t get enough of big screen Smurfin’.

Peewit is the court jester to the king. He’s given a magical flute with six holes that inspires people to dance uncontrollably. The evil McCreep wants the powerful instrument to aid his life of crime. He steals it from Peewit. The jester teams up with Johan, a young knight, to retrieve his flute. Their only hope involves finding Smurfland. Seems the little blue guys made it. The Smurfs create a new flute for Peewit to blow in an equal fight against McCreep. The humans dominate the screen. The Smurfs are supporting characters in this tale even with their names in the title

They didn’t scrimp on the music by hiring Oscar winning composer Michel Legrand (Thomas Crown Affair and Never Say Never Again). The soundtrack should delight youngsters. The version on the DVD has the 1979 English dub instead of the American dub that was featured on a VHS tape back in 1984. This means the Smurfs don’t sound like you remember them from the TV series. Don’t become disoriented. Just breathe in your Cap’n Crunch and enjoy the blue weirdness. The Smurfs and the Magic Flute is short and enjoyable like the namesake creatures.

The video is 1.85 letterboxed on a full frame. There are rough spots on the animation, but nothing too distracting. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. This is the English dub so characters sound a bit more formal.

The Smurfs Story and About the Smurfs are texts about the history of the magical little blue men.

About the Characters identifies the non-blue creatures in the film.

Gallery has promotion photos and publicity pictures from the original release.

The Smurfs and the Magic Flute brings the start of the Smurfs in animated form to DVD. This is so much better than the CGI dud dumped onto us by Jordan Kerner. It also helps that the Smurfs are supporting characters so they don’t get too annoying with their Smurf speak.

Shout! Factory presents The Smurfs and the Magic Flute. Starring: Cam Clarke, Mike Reynolds, Ron Gans and Durga McBroom. Running Time: 70 minutes. Rated: Rated G. Released: August 7, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.