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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Smurfs
Complete 1st Season


Starring (voice): Don Messick, Paul Winchell, Danny Goldman, Lucille Bliss, June Foray and Michael Bell
Arrow Films & Fabulous Films
RRP: £39.99
Certificate: U
Available 05 July 2010

Far, far away, in a little mushroom village, live a group of little blue pixies called Smurfs who wear short trousers and white bonnets. Only as tall as three apples, they speak in 'Smurf', a language that only they understand. The Smurfs are carefree, peaceful creatures that live in harmony with nature. But they have a nasty habit of wanting to act like man, which causes them 1,001 problems...

The Smurfs: Complete 1st Season collects the first 26 episodes (and spring special) of the '80s Hanna-Barbera animated TV series. Each episode ran for 22 minutes with about half of these split into two different stories of 11 minutes each.

Sadly, for Smurf aficionados, this collection is not run in the original broadcast order. And while for most this won't be a huge problem, there are a number of occasions where the continuity doesn't make any sense. For example we first meet Big Mouth in Smurf-Colored Glasses as though we should know who he is. Then in the next episode, Soup a la Smurf, neither Gargamel or the Smurfs know who he is. But then, to be fair, the original broadcast order makes little sense. Originally The Smurfette was broadcast towards the end of season one - which makes no sense as Smurfette is a regular character in all the episodes, so her creation has to be the first episode (as presented on this DVD).

It was obvious that the animators were having a problem getting a style that was uniform in these early episodes and in quite a few scenes the Smurfs look a little out of proportion. However, it's not long before a more uniform look is implemented and the quality of the animation improves rapidly.

Highlights in this collection include:

The Smurfette: This episodes explains the origins of Smurfette. She was originally created by Gargamel in order to bring chaos to the Smurf village. However, Papa Smurf soon figures out what is going on and uses a spell to make her normal.

King Smurf: This 11-minute story is based on the King Smurf comic book. However, in this version it is Brainy who becomes King Smurf, in the original it was a plain old Smurf. This was the first Smurf comic book I read when I was younger. The animation isn't a patch on the original, but it's still entertaining.

Fuzzle Trouble: An 11-minute story that's main storyline pays homage to Star Trek's The Trouble With Tribbles.

The Baby Smurf: Another 11-minute story. This sees Gargamel turning himself into a baby Smurf in order to get access to the Smurf village.

The Purple Smurfs: While out in the forest Lazy Smurf is bitten by a purple fly, in this 11-minute tale. This makes him turn purple as well as act strangely. The disease is contagious to anyone that is bitten by a purple Smurf. Can Papa Smurf find a cure before there are no Smurfs left?

Gargamel, The Generous: An 11-minute story in which Gargamel pretends to have had a change of heart and appears to want to be the Smurfs friend. This is a ploy in order to gain access to their recently found diamond mine.

The Clockwork Smurf: Handy invents a clockwork Smurf to help around the village. Brainy's curiosity gets the better of him, and when he tries to see how it works he ends up breaking it. The clockwork Smurf is soon out of control and eventually leaves the village and ends up rescuing an imprisoned prince.

Extras include I Smurf the Smurfs (16 min, 45 sec feature that interviews z-list celebrity fans and experts about the Smurfs. There are also interviews with cast and crew from the series); Character Biographies (text based); and Smurf Info (12 min text based featurette where text, that covers just about every aspect of The Smurfs, scrolls up the screen).

While I loved watching The Smurfs when I was younger, I have to admit that this was not as easy to watch in one sitting as I was expecting. However, for the young viewers that this is aimed at this will be relished for all the Smurfy goodness it contains.


Darren Rea

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