I found The Smurfs & The Magic Flute at the store today. It’s the British version of the theatrical release. The dub is pretty terrible, but better than the American version in many ways. For whatever reason Johan and Peewit are called John and William throughout the movie. All the DVD features and even the box refer to them by their given names. I guess the Brits decided their names were unacceptable and changed them.
It’s fairly cheap animation, typical of the day. That said, it’s not a bad interpetation of the original Smurfs story. It’s all but a scene for scene retelling of the comic. They updated the design of the Smurfs themselves thankfully. In the first comic they looked a little odd. The story was meant to be just another tale in the Adventures of Johan and Peewit, but people really liked them, and eventually George Lopez was Grumpy Smurf. So happy ever after?
The music is really dated. It was dated even when I saw it the first time. The film is actually as old as I am, but didn’t make it to America for 7 years. Of course I was already all about the Smurfs by then since the series was on TV for two years prior to the release of the film. At that time the cartoon hadn’t ever explained who the hell Johan and Peewit were so the movie was kind of an oddity to me. I don’t actually remember the cartoon EVER really explaining what the deal was with those guys. They were just around sometimes. Once the comics started getting published here, and I got some of them, it made a lot more sense.
Strangely, the DVD features speak about the creator of the series as if he was still alive. As far as I know he died a long time ago. Long before DVDs at any rate. It makes me wonder where these guys got the copy for the special features. It all seems a little slapdash. Of course they probably understand that they need to capatalize on this property right now, since they are kind of back in the public eye again, even if they are just a tad offensive to said eye… and ear, if we’re honest.
Anyway, if you’re a fan of old animation it’s not a bad addition to a collection. It’s right up there with Asterix the Gaul or what have you. Although if you want to see some exceptional animation find a copy of Asterix & the Vikings.