Saturday, March 28, 2009
The Smurfs: True Blue Friends (Warner, $14.98) brings us five episodes from the second season of the classic Saturday morning animated series that lasted nearly a decade on DVD. Handy, Hefty, Grouchy, Brainy, Jokey, Clumsy, Lazy, Dreamy, Smurfette, Papa Smurf and more of your favorite little blue people bring you the greatest show on Smurf are all back in more fun adventures. For some reason they are going away from the season sets that of The Smurfs, to a single disc set of five episodes. The Smurfs, home of the powder-blue pixies who have a way with words and have way-out adventures as they come face to face with Gargamel, a marsh monster, and an evil potion maker!
The previous two sets was a season set of the first season, split into two volumes. But for some reason now they are going with just a one-disc set with five episodes from season two. It doesn't make sense to me, since the second season has even more episodes than the first season! Anyway, the episodes we get on this set are "S-Shivering S-Smurfs," "Turncoat Smurf," "The Smurf Who Couldn't Say No," "The Haunted Castle," and "The Black Hellebore." They are not even in any order it seems...just five randomly picked episodes from season two. Come on Warner!
Let's now move on to the packaging. We have a very thin keep case. The front cover sees a big mushroom with Papa Smurf and some of the other Smurfs around it. The title of the show is on the top, with a mention below that that this "True Blue Friends." To the back of the case we go, we get a nice synopsis of the series, along with details on the "5 Cartoons" and "Enchanting Extra." We see three Smurfs, including Smurfette in the green grass as the evil Gargamel is watching. When we open the case, on the right side we see the disc. The disc is in a red background with four Smurf characters. Compared to the first season sets, this is very cheap.
The menu screens are very nice. We see the land of Smurf in the background with Azrael the cat watching. It is very colorful. The catchy theme is playing in the background. Auto trailer for not pirating DVDs starts off the disc before the main menu comes, along with trailers for Snoopy's Reunion and Scooby Doo. Options for the main menu are: Play, Episodes, Special Features, and Languages. A flower is out selector. Languages has an option to turn on English or French subtitles. Episodes have a list of episodes obviously. And Special Features list the one featurette and Trailers for other Warner Home Video sets like the Charlie Brown Holiday Collection.
The video and audio is OK...it is not as good as the first season sets to me. They have cheapened this set. The packaging doesn't state that the episodes are remastered like they were with the first season sets. I am very disappointed, since the first season sets were remastered. One good thing they have added on this set are chapter stops. At least they added that. The first two episodes on this set are mini episodes (as some Smurfs half-hours had two stories per episode) that run 13:48 with 3 chapter stops. The last three on this set are full episodes that run 24:04, 25:39, and 25:33 with 5 chapter stops. You know on the first season, volume two review, I said season two should be on one set...but they have made it worse now. They should go back to the splitting of the season into two volumes. That is certainly better than this!
As for special features, we get the "Meet the Smurfs!" Basically this is a character profile of a Smurf. We get three of them. Papa Smurf (1:27), Grouchy (1:00) and Tracker (1:17). You select each character to view their profile. Next to Papa Smurf, there is a green bag. Looks like that is an Easter egg, because if you select that, you get "Smurfy Storyboards: Gormandizing Greedy." It runs 2:19. And of course we get Trailers for other Warner Home Video DVDs.
I am not sure if I do recommend this set for any Smurfs fan. The set is not Smurftastic, as the first season sets. I hope they are just marketing this for non-fans or casual fans and continue with the season sets soon. Because this is not good to give a popular show that has many episodes and ran 9 long seasons a one-disc set. The special features are not as good either. I wasn't too pleased with the episode situation being split in two volumes, but now I will take that back in a heartbeat. The episodes on this set are of course great but don't look great, especially "The Smurf Who Couldn't Say No," that looks terrible in video. I hope the full season two is out very soon and we get it all in one shot rather than two volumes...but I'll take two volumes anyway over this one-disc crap. They better Smurf to it and get the job done. Anyway, any die-hard would click below to order this DVD, if you haven't already. So Smurf to it!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
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