“An All New Smurf-Tacular Adventure!”
Don’t let the case fool you. The Smurfs: Legend of Smurfy Hollow isn’t an all-new adventure in the animation style of the latest batch of Smurf movies. There is some in the form of a setup that bookends the main portion of the show, and it serves to get us in and out of the story. However the main story is presented in classic hand-drawn animation.
I don’t have a problem with rewriting classic works of literature in order to fit them within the parameters of a modern show. My issue with The Smurfs: Legend of Smurfy Hollow is the story isn’t compelling. And sure, I’m not the target audience, but if this is someone’s first introduction to the legend of Sleep Hollow, they’ll be sorely surprised when they see a more faithful adaptation.
Brainy Smurf (Fred Armisen, Portlandia) has been the Smurfberry Picking Champion for too many years. At least, that’s what Gutsy Smurf (Alan Cumming, The Good Wife) thinks. Determined to win this year’s contest, he follows Brainy in order to learn his secret. Turns out Brainy’s secret is simply going over to Smurfy Hollow, an area feared by the rest of the Smurf population; thus, it’s become ripe with Smurfberries. When Gutsy learns the truth he is (unfairly) incensed and sets out to teach Brainy a lesson by playing a prank on him. This prank leads to an unfortunate encounter with Gargamel (Hank Azaria, The Simpsons) and it threatens any sort of celebration, to say the least. It is only through the assistance of an unlikely ally that everyone is seen safely back to Smurf Village.
Technical specs are a mixed bag as you might expect with a show which delves into more than one animation style. The video transfer is the standard 1.78:1 ratio of today’s TV shows but the two animation styles don’t share the same palette. In terms of coloring the CGI is far more suited for a Halloween-type story with much richer blacks and an appealing glow to the oranges. On the other hand the hand-drawn animation has a look and feel which may be more appropriate for the younger end of the target audience which could be scared by the material, however briefly. The audio track is consistent throughout, a Dolby 2.0 which is offered in three languages and is serviceable if not outstanding. Don’t expect a full soundscape here.
I rarely recommend anything with less than an hour’s runtime making an exception for classics, which this is sadly not. Skip The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow. It’ll be on TV during October, if you really need to watch it.