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The Smurfs (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Ahh…the Smurfs. That song; La la la-la la la, Sing a happy song. La la la-la la la, Smurf it all day long. La la la-la la la. Smurf along with me! La la la-la la la. Simple as can be. Next time you’re feeling blue just let a smile begin, Happy things will come to you..So smurf yourself a grin! La la la-la la la, Now you know the tune, You’ll be Smurfing soon! When I was a kid, I was singing along, but after this movie, maybe I’m more in tuned to what cartoon Gargamel said during that opening sequence in the animated (Well, 2D television cartoon animated)  “Oooooo I hate Smurfs! I’ll get you, I’ll get all of you if it’s the last thing I ever do! hehehehe!” Oh yeah, we’re here reviewing the debut of the 2011 film on 4K UHD Blu-ray.  The sequel to the film is already available on the format (One of the launch titles), but this one is jumping in on March 28th.

Film 

When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world and into ours — in fact, smack dab in the middle of Central Park. Just three apples high and stuck in the Big Apple, the Smurfs must find a way to get back to their village before Gargamel tracks them down.

Woof. Not that I had any real nostalgia for the Smurfs at all, but if there was any its gone. This film is full of tired jokes and narratives.  It tells a fish out of water story that feels a dated structure that would have been kosher, but still boring and a disappointment back in the late 1970s through to the 1990s where this was commonplace to take children’s characters to the big screen.  I really don’t recall that I felt any sort of excitement with the news it was coming with a new adaptation to the big screen.

Say something nice, Brandon. Okay, let me see. I’ve been a big Jayma Mays fan ever since I saw her in Wes Craven’s Red Eye 2005 (Give me a Blu-ray of THAT movie please!!). She’s presented here in a fun role that highlights some of her better strengths.  She’s a fun presence and I enjoyed whenever she was on screen. Neil Patrick Harris is all right, but unfortunately for him, he’s bogged down with some really trite stuff and bad lines that you know he probably didn’t enjoy saying. The Smurf voices are all okay.  Its just the narrative and gags that don’t really work for this at all.   Hank Azaria goes “full retard” (I’m quoting Tropic Thunder, not being an asshole) on his Gargamel and is almost unbearable at times on the screen.

Since this one obviously plays for the kids, we’ll play the game I always do with these, as I’m not the intended audience; what did my kids think of it? Well, my son got some big belly laughs out of the slapstick gags and my 2 year old daughter decided she would rather duck out and go watch Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes (Yes, seriously. I’m raising her well).  My son said he liked it and wants to see the second one (Ugh…, luckily that won’t be a review as its already out, so he can go it alone), but didn’t seem incredibly pumped afterward like they were after Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them the day before.  So there you have have it; I hated it and the kids were positive indifferent on it.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail:  Smurfs gets a nice 4K boost in a picture that looks really different from its Blu-ray counterpart. Its almost as if the color timing has been altered/improved.  The image is much more fresh looking, airy and free. This handles blacks a bit better and has a more refined look to the picture.  It could be construed as a little darker of an image. That’s not the case, as its the color saturation looking much better and a picture able to handle the details and palette better.

Depth:  Characters and objects looks nice, 3 dimensional and free in this 4K transfer. Movements are very clean and confident.  Camera movements really impress with the backgrounds and foregrounds appearing real distant from one another with backgrounds giving a decent “pushed back” look at times. The animated characters especially look good and 3 dimensional here in the image.

Black Levels: Blacks look deep and rich, with good nuances and still keeping good attention to detail even in the darkest corners.  No crushing was witnessed during my review for this release.

Color Reproduction: Colors look absolutely beautiful in a neat palette. The HDR kicks in quite good. An early moment has a purple explosion coming from Gargamel’s roof that looks really good. As mention above, compared to the Blu-ray it looks like they have done something new with the color timing on it.  Greens, reds and blues all have many different tones and solid variations on their palettes.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural with a consistent appearance throughout the duration of the film’s runtime.  Facial features come through pretty clear with wrinkles, make-up, stubble and blemishes really come through quite well in medium and close-ups.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD ready), English Audio Descriptive Service, Catalan 5.1 Dolby Digital, French (Parisian) 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French (Canadian) 5.1 DTS-HD MA, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin American) 5.1 Dolby Digital,

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, Thai, Turkish

Dynamics: Smurfs updates its audio to a Dolby Atmos track and it really does pack a good wallop.  From whishing water travels to mischief around a house, this captures territories very well and makes good to fulfill your space with sound.  The mix is well thought out and individualized to the speakers with good care. It also features a healthy balance in the vocals, effects and score. Smurfs sounds fresh and new here in this mix.

Height: There are some solid ambient moments to go along with some action sounds where applicable in the film.  It doesn’t go crazy but there are some decent areas with which it does well.

Low Frequency Extension:  Engines humming, spells casting, poofs, stomps, crashing and more bump the subwoofer through this little excursion of a movie.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Smurfing happens from all 7 channels surrounding the room. There are plenty of surprises that pop out of the rear and side speakers that will have you appreciating this mix. Motion is tracked really well and come to and from with satisfactory speaker participation.  Volume placement is precise and accurate to on screen behavior.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is crisp and clear. Narration and voice overs get a nice little boom and bump in audio volume.

Extras 

The Smurfs comes with the Blu-ray edition and an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film. Aside from the “Moments” feature, all the supplemental material is on the Blu-ray disc.

Moments

  • Gargamel & Azrael (4K, 6:03)
  • Memorable Moments (4K, 5:35) 
  • Smurfy Moments (4K, 8:05) 
  • Magic (4K, 6:51) 

Blu-ray

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Raja Gosnell
  • With Producer Jordan Kerner, Writers J. David Stem & David N. Weiss and Jay Scherick & David Ronn, and VFX Supervisor Richard Hoover

Smurf-O-Vision Second Screen Experience

What Is Smurf-O-Vision Second Screen? (HD, 1:21)

The Smurfs Fantastic Adventure Game

Deleted & Extended Scenes (HD, 7:41)

The Smurfs: Comic Book To The Big Screen (HD, 8:15) 

Smurf Speak: Meet the Cast (HD, 9:26)

Going Gargamel (HD, 9:57) 

Blue-Pers (HD, :25) 

Happy Music Montage (HD, 1:49) 

Progression Reels (HD, 9:14)

Summary 

Yup, this movie was torture and I pretty much hated it.  This 4K UHD version of it looks and sounds very good though.  And for those of you Smurfites or Smurfees, Smurfheads or whatever you are called are worried about extras or that old Blu-ray you have, its included here. You’ve got it. I’m not going to recommend it, but if you like to burn your money, you’re getting a solid product.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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