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The Strange Things Boutique




DVD. Arrow Films / Fabulous Films

The Smurfs Springtime SpecialThe Smurfs seem to have been around forever, and the fact that the recent movie took $600 million at the box office is a sobering reminder that they are not going away any time soon. If you have kids who loved that film, then they might enjoy this disc of Hanna Barbera cartoons from 1981.

As well as the Springtime Special, a 23-minute Smurf epic, the disc contains another five episodes, some of which have a Springtime theme, some less so. The stories are slight – in the special, evil wizard Gargamel tries to kidnap Smurfs in order to turn them into gold (apparently you can do that), as well as drugging Mother Nature to prevent the arrival of spring. What a fiend! Though perhaps we shouldn’t judge him too harshly – a disc full of these Seven Dwarf imitators frolicking around and saying ‘smurf’ every other word is enough to make even the most tolerant person start to look up smurf recipes.

The other episodes see Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Angry Smurf, Lazy Smurf, Nazi Smurf (okay, I admit it, I wasn’t paying attention to their names) engaged in adventures that result in what the BBFC no doubt will describe as ‘mild peril’ from assorted villains (Gargamel, the witch Hogatha, Chlorohydris) before everything turns out fine.

With a painfully off-key theme song (instrumental in the special, horribly vocalised in the regular episodes) and the efficiently basic animation style that you’d expect from cheap kiddie cartoons of the era, this is strictly for the nippers – there’s no subtle adult humour here to keep the grown-ups amused (though you can’t help wondering about a society that has only one female in it) so you might want to park the sprogs in front of this while you go to the pub or something - that’s good parenting, right? I don't know about these things.

At a bargain price for 100 minutes of smurf action, it’s probably ideal for undemanding kids, unless today’s five year olds are too sophisticated for such simple pleasures… in which case I recommend it to middle-aged nostalgia buffs instead.





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