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The Smurfs Blu-ray 3D Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: MVC (3D); AVC/MPEG-4 (2D)
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Audio Description, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG
  • Run Time: 103 Mins.
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 2, 2011
  • List Price: $45.99

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BestBuy.com:
The Smurfs -

Also available: The Smurfs 3-Disc Holiday Gift Set Blu-ray (2D)/DVD Combo (Amazon.com)

Purchase The Smurfs on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
2D HD: [Rating:4.5/5]

3D Effect: [Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Living a blissful existence in a hidden village within an enchanted forest The Smurfs are… well, I’m not exactly sure what the hell they are, but they are small and blue and generally inoffensive. Each is named for his defining personality trait, or occupation, or overriding tendency, so we pretty much know what to expect upon first introduction.

An evil wizard named Gargamel wants to capture them and extract their Smurf essence in order to enable his magic, but his most recent attempt ends with him, his cat and a half-dozen of the wee whatsits being sucked through a strange vortex and spat out into New York City’s Central Park.

They’re reluctantly adopted by an eager-to-please marketing executive (Neil Patrick Harris) who, when he’s not doubting his sanity on matters relating to the Smurfs, needs to come up with a new marketing campaign for a cosmetics company. Like most of the on-camera and voice cast, Harris does his best with the material, but Hank Azaria is downright inspired as the gleefully villainous Gargamel. The script packs a lot of asides for the parents that poke fun at the established conventions of Smurfdom, and more than enough silliness to keep the kids thoroughly entertained.

Video Quality

2D HD: [Rating:4.5/5]

3D Effect: [Rating:3/5]

The Blu-ray puts the 3D and 2D versions of the 1:42:43 movie together onto a single disc, and both exhibit tremendous sharpness from start to finish. Pores, the weave of cloth and the insane amount of detail in the little cerulean folks are evident at 1080p/24, despite some noise in the many individual strands of Smurfette’s hair. The movie was not shot in 3D, instead converted in post-production, but except for a few real showoff shots–flying into the vortex, magical energy bolts and other computer-generated elements–the conversion doesn’t add much wonder, rather it enhances the overall punch and involvement of the 16:9 image via its illusion of more significant depth, with some noticeable edge enhancement as a consequence.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack puts plenty of subtle cues all around us, with convincing directionality across the 5.1-channel soundfield. There are plenty of enveloping surround moments that really draw us into this fantastical situation, backed by a touch of bass to convey the relative scale of five-foot-something humans to the three-apples-tall Smurfs. The dialogue is consistently clear.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Director Raja Gosnell flies solo on the first of two audio commentary tracks, while the second unites producer Jordan Kerner, writers J. David Stem, David N. Weiss, Jay Scherick and David Ronn, and visual effects supervisor Richard Hoover. The video extras–all in 2D–bring us five deleted scenes, a look at the transition from the 1950s Belgian comic book by Peyo, assorted cast interviews plus a close-up look at Azaria’s Gargamel. There are also two extremely brief, staged bloopers, and a music video of sorts. Perhaps the most hardcore extra is the collection of “progression reels” that reveal a narrated series of design and rendering passes, showing off the layers of work that went into the digital graphics.

Now, I’ve noticed that for 3D editions of a movie, studios typically add a Blu-ray 3D disc to the 2D release to complete the package, but Sony has opted instead to create two very different editions, extras-wise. The 2D-only version of The Smurfs is being billed as a “Holiday Gift Set” for its inclusion of a new 22-and-a-half-minute retelling of A Christmas Carol, produced in the same style as the movie and presented on DVD. Also exclusive to the 2D Blu-ray and not included anywhere in the 3D release is the “Smurf-O-Vision” second screen feature which displays synchronized content, often in clever ways, on an iPhone or iPad as we watch the movie. So if you or your kids are wanting the 3D experience and all of the bonus content that the vertically-challenged blue scamps have to offer, you’re looking at two separate purchases. There are also more language options on 2D-only Blu-ray. Go figure.

The 3D disc does offer BD-Live connectivity, while Disc Two is a DVD presenting the movie in standard definition along with its own unique interactive game, Find the Smurfs, and a subset of the above-mentioned bonus features. Sony is also supporting the recent Ultra Violet Digital Copy initiative, including here a special code to access the movie in The Cloud. No more iTunes or PSP copies as we knew them.

The supplements:

  • “Blue-pers” (1.78:1; 1080p/60; :25 total)
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes (1.78:1; 1080p/60; 7:41 total)
  • “Happy Music” Montage (1.78:1; 1080p/60; 1:49)
  • Audio Commentary Track by Raja Gosnell
  • Audio Commentary Track by Jordan Kerner, J. David Stem, David N. Weiss, Jay Scherick, David Ronn and Richard Hoover
  • “Going Gargamel” (1.78:1; 1080p/60; 9:47)
  • Smurf Speak: Meet the Cast” (1.78:1; 1080p/60; 9:26)
  • The Smurfs: From Comic Book to the Big Screen” (1.78:1; 1080p/60; 8:15)
  • The Smurfs Fantastic Adventure Game
  • Progression Reels (1.78:1; 1080p/60; 9:14 total)
    • “Smurf-olution”
    • “Growing a Village: Generating Complexity for a Smurf-Sized World”
    • “Building and Lighting a CG Smurf”
    • “Image-Based Set Reconstruction and Lighting
    • “Anatomy of a Portal: Effects and Lighting”
  • Ultra Violet Digital Copy
  • DVD of the movie + Find the Smurfs Game and some extras
  • BD-Live

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

The Smurfs borrows heavily both from recent original hits (Enchanted) and the slew of live-action movies based upon animation or toys or other beloved franchises, complete with frustrated non-believing cityfolk and well-worn messages. It’s a no-brainer for young Smurfans though, and high-quality HD content for the home theater. Looks like it’s going to be a blue Christmas….

[amazon-product]B005IGDW24[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
The Smurfs -

Also available: The Smurfs 3-Disc Holiday Gift Set Blu-ray (2D)/DVD Combo (Amazon.com)

Purchase The Smurfs on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
2D HD: [Rating:4.5/5]

3D Effect: [Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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