Thursday, July 13, 2017

Smurfs: The Lost Village 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Make it a family movie night with the beloved blue creatures in the fully animated, all-new take on The Smurfs that follows Smurfette and her friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a rollercoaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history! Smurfs: The Lost Village features the voices of Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer and Julia Roberts. The film is now available to own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and digital.

Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The beloved little blue creatures are back in an all new adventure.  This time, the Smurfs are not co-mingling with the human world.  They are happy in their little village and have tried to stay away from the evil Gargamel (Rainn Wilson).  Smurfette (Demi Lovato) is not as content as her Smurf-friends.  First of all, she is the only girl.  That can be pretty lonely.  She has also come to realize that she is the only smurf whose name doesn’t reveal a personality trait.  Clumsy Smurf (Jack McBrayer) is accident prone, Hefty Smurf (Joe Manganiello) is strong and Brainy Smurf (Danny Pudi) is smart.  Smurfette’s name only confirms that she is a girl Smurf, and that’s just not good enough.  She wants to belong and she wants to know who she is and even Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin) can’t help her with that.

One day, on a walk, Smurfette is captured by Gargamel.  She accidentally leads him towards a lost village of smurfs.  Smurfette and friends must stop Gargamel from reaching the village where he will certainly capture and steal their Smurf essence.  The journey to the lost village will show Smurfette that she’s not the only one who is different and she will also learn how much her new and old friends care about her.

If you are team Gargamel, like so many men seem to be, this movie will be worse than the others.  The Smurf haters I know seem to be especially dissatisfied with Smurfette. This film is very Smurfette-centered.  It is also lacking the humor of the interaction between the Smurfs and the human world.  While I do miss Neil Patrick Harris, I enjoyed the (almost) all Smurf cast.  I also liked the fact that it’s a standalone film, not a continuation of previous films. 

What I did not enjoy was how sad this film gets. The dramatic moments are enough to make many children cry (out of sadness, not fear). Even knowing there is a happy ending coming, it was still really sad for a bit.  I don’t subscribe to the theory that kid-movies need to make you really sad in order to feel happy later. I don’t know if the filmmakers think the parents need that range of emotions or what.  Completely happy movies are fun too. The voice cast is great, even without Hank Azaria as Gargamel. The most important role in my book is Papa Smurf.  Without the right sound for Papa, the whole film could fall apart but Mandy Patinkin fills the bill.  The film is fun, colorful, energetic and is one I will happily re-watch with my son (occasionally).
Video  (5 out of 5 stars)
Blu-ray (5 out of 5 stars)                                                      4K UHD (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The 2160p UHD version of the film offers a small upscale from the Blu-ray.  The UHD shows a bit more texture and clarity.  Most noticeable in Smurf skin and the textures of their hats, you’ll see a slight increase in fine detail.  I preferred the Blu-ray over the UHD because it was brighter and more cheery.  When you’re watching Smurfs, bright blues are key.  The Blu-ray is rich and vibrant and you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.  The features of the village and the forest really come to life on Blu-ray but most families will be satisfied with either edition.
Audio (5 out of 5 stars)
Although the Smurfs: The Lost Village features a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack on Blu-ray and  Dolby Atmos on UHD – both are excellent and deserve 5 out of 5.  The UHD soundtrack simply feels bigger.  Transitions are smoother but both offer full bodied sound.  Dialogue is clear and intelligible with good prioritization.  The Blu-ray feels flawless and the UHD is just a tick better. Sony offers two great choices when it comes to the audio presentation.
Extras (4 out of 5 stars)
Smurfs: The Lost Village contains a healthy list of special features on Blu-ray which include:
  • Audio Commentary - Director Kelly Asbury, Animation Supervisor Alan Hawkins, and Story Head Brandon Jeffords provide a detailed and enjoyable commentary.
  • Deleted Scenes (7:35 total runtime) - Deleted scenes in various levels on completion including Smurfberry Blast, Brainy's Experiment, Bridge Escape, and Gargamel's Lair.
  • Kids at Heart! The Making of Smurfs: The Lost Village (9:12) -  Cast and crew (and child stand ins) discuss making the movie with a look at voice actors and the animation process.  This is a childish (in a good way) featurette.
  • The Lost Auditions (4:14) - See the actors audition for other roles.
  • Demi Lovato Meets Smurfette (1:01) - The actress is interviewed by her character, Smurfette.
  • Lost Village Dance Along (3:10) - Dancing to one of the film’s songs.
  • Smurfify Your Nails (2:23) - Have polished nails to match the story.
  • Baker Smurf's Mini Kitchen (4:07) -  Baker Smurf will see some tiny treats from a human chef.
  • Music Video (2:48) - "I'm a Lady" by Meghan Trainor.
  • Making the Song "You Will Always Find Me In Your Heart" (3:00) - The Composer discusses a key scene with powerful music.
  • The Sound of the Smurfs (3:44) - A look at the Smurfy Sounds and their impact.
  • Draw Your Favorite Smurfs (7:42 total runtime) - Learn how to draw Smurfette, Brainy, and Clumsy.
  • See More Smurfs! (1080p): Trailers for The Smurfs, The Smurfs 2, The Smurfs:  The Legend of Smurfy Hollow, Smurfs: A Christmas Carol and the Smurfs Bubble Story game.
  • Emoji Sneak Peak
  • Previews for other Sony titles.

Summary (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Whether on Blu-ray or UHD, Smurfs:  The Lost Village looks absolutely smurfy. The Blu-ray includes some entertaining extras which includes an informative commentary.  If you’ve been rooting for Gargamel all along, you may find the character less satisfying this time around.  I happen to be team Smurf and I enjoyed the film.  I wished it had stayed happy with a little less Smurf peril but overall, I’m happy with the product.  I recommend the Blu-ray purchase for all and the UHD for the true collector.

Order your copy today!

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