• Smurfs and the Magic Flute, The



    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: August 14, 2012.
    Director: Peyo
    Cast: Various
    Year: 1976
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    The Movie:

    Peyo’s The Smurfs and the Magic Flute was originally released in Belgium in 1976. It was re-released theatrically in the US in 1983 to cash in on the Smurf craze of the early 80s thanks to the super popular 90-minute Saturday morning cartoon series from Hanna-Barbera, titled simply, Smurfs. The series ran for nine successful seasons from 1981-1989. The Smurfs and the Magic Flute follows the lives of Johan and Peewit, who live at a castle visited by a salesman of musical instruments. Looking for Peewit–musician-non-extraordinaire, the seller is quickly sent away by Johan and the king. Much to their dismay, the seller has dropped an unusual flute - a flute with only six holes. They throw the flute in the fire to save their ears from Peewit finding it, but soon find out the flute cannot be burned. It is, as you would expect from the film’s title, a magic flute. The flute, once in the fire, causes a noxious green smoke and all in the castle rush to the aid of the choking king and Johan. After the fire is put out, Peewit finds the flute and soon realizes it has powers greater than anyone had yet realized. When played, it causes all listeners to dance to the point of exhaustion. Local bad guy, McCreep, finds out about the magic flute and steals it from Peewit, with plans to use it to rob people. Johan and Peewit must therefore find a way to retrieve the flute and destroy it.

    After visiting their wizard friend, Homnibus, they find out that the flute was made by mysterious blue woodland creatures named Smurfs. They also find out the flute cannot be destroyed, which is why it would not burn. With Homnibus’ wizarding powers of hypnokinesis, he is able to transport Johan and Peewit to the land of the Smurfs to ask for their help. Papa Smurf confirms that the flute can’t be destroyed so they can’t help with that, but he tells them that the Smurfs will work together to make a new flute that Johan and Peewit can hopefully use to battle the dastardly McCreep.

    The Smurfs and the Magic Flute is a fun, colorful bit of nostalgia for an 80’s kid like me. The story and music pull you in and make for a fun seventy minutes. With a rebirth in Smurf popularity thanks to the 2011 CGI/live action movie, The Smurfs, this Shout! Factory release of The Smurfs and the Magic Flute should hopefully do well, attracting both old and new fans. Though the animation is a bit more simplistic than the Hanna-Barbera of the 80s, we still have a lot of the old characters we knew and loved; no Smurfette or Gargamel though. Although the characters had appeared in Smurf comic books before the release of this film, they did not make the cut. For Smurf fans though, there really is nothing lacking when it comes to The Smurfs and the Magic Flute and the movie can only be described as smurftastic! I loved this film as a kid and thirty years after it was released, I still love it and remember so many of the songs and so much of the dialogue fondly. Animation had so much more personality back then.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    This “original uncut theatrical release” is presented in 1:85:1 widescreen letterboxed format - don’t know why the film wouldn’t have been shown in anamorphic widescreen though. The US DVD version, while having a lesser quality picture than the UK BD released a few years ago, shows more of the picture than that release which is slightly cropped. Picture quality is far from perfect with lots of scratches and such, but it’s stable and it’s just nice this is finally on DVD domestically.

    Shout Factory’s DVD release of The Smurfs and the Magic Flute contains the UK English audio track in Stereo. Levels are balanced and dialogue and music are crisp and clear. No subtitles are available.

    Extras on this disc include an image gallery with film art and behind the scenes photos, random Smurf drawings, and comic book pages. Also included as extras are several static text informational screens such as:

    -Glossary of Smurf Terms: A dictionary on the many uses for the word “Smurf.”
    -The Smurfs’ Story: A one page introduction to who the Smurfs are.
    -Character Guide: Just that… a guide to the characters in the film, with pictures.
    -About The Smurfs and the Magic Flute: Again, pretty self-explanatory… a five page history on the people that made the Smurfs and the Magic Flute possible, both overseas and in the U.S.

    Overall

    I would’ve been more excited about this release if the film hadn’t been released in the UK on Blu-ray a few years ago. The thing I was most looking forward to with this US release was having the US audio track, which is the one that was used on the US VHS back in the 80’s. Unfortunately though, the audio track included on this disc is the UK English track. There are small and probably insignificant differences that most people wouldn’t notice or care about, but since that was the audio track I grew up hearing, I was looking forward to it. I find the US English track much more light-hearted and cartoonish, with voices more similar to those from the Smurfs television series, and the UK track a bit less exciting and the songs not nearly as fun. For someone who does not have the UK BD or the ability to even play it, this disc will be received quite nicely and for current day kids, they’ve probably never even seen the movie before let alone heard any alternate audio tracks. For someone who does have the means of playing region B Blu-rays, they might as well import the UK release as the picture quality is much better even if it is a bit cropped. I’m glad this was released here as the Smurfs were such a big part of my childhood and it’s a series that has fared well over the years, plus the resurgence of the popularity of the Smurfs has led to books being re-released and toys showing up on toy store shelves again. And that, and everything Smurf-related, makes me feel just smurfy!























    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I saw this when i was a kid, after seeing the show....I remember the movie being very different in aesthetics than the weekly cartoon. Good review. :-)
    1. Randy G's Avatar
      Randy G -
      I wonder what the original French comic books are like.