Fans of the 1980s animated fantasy comedy TV series “The Smurfs” have something new to share with their kids with a half hour animated Halloween special: “The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow.” The new production opens with CGI segments, but the rest is beautifully hand drawn 2D traditional animation that fans remember from the old weekly show.
The original TV series was based on the comics by Belgian artist Peyo. It was a joint Belgian and American production, and ran in the U.S. on NBC from 1981-1989. The show delighted children with its vision of Faerie, its magic, and the silly, charming little blue fairies. Each week, the peaceful little smurfs had to defend themselves against the constant evil plots of the wizard Gargamel and his feline familiar Azreal.
The fans of the old series are all grown up now and have kids of their own. In 2011Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation resurrected the fairies in a combination live action/3D CGI feature film “The Smurfs” starring Neil Patrick Harris, with Hank Azaria as Gargamel. It was funny and enjoyable, and successful enough to get a sequel this past summer.
While the new movies were quite fun, nostalgic fans of the TV series missed the feel and look of their old favorite. This new Halloween story brings back the classic smurfs that everyone remembers, set in the universe of the new movies. Hank Azaria reprises the role of Gargamel from the feature films, so it’s not the old Gargamel that people remember, but he’s very funny. Azreal works so much better in the traditional 2D animation and Frank Welker does a great job on his voice. He’s much more like the original Azreal, with lots of personality.
In “The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow,” a small group of smurfs sit around a camp fire and listen to the “Legend of Smurfy Hollow” story. The smurfs are having their annual smurfberry gathering contest, which Brainy Smurf always wins. Gutsy Smurf is sick of losing and decided to spy on Brainy to see where he finds so many smurfberries. It turns out that Brainy is venturing into the haunted woods of Smurfy Hollow where no other smurfs dare to go because of the Headless Horseman. Gutsy plays dirty in order to get the smurfberries for himself and beat Brainy. Just like in the old series, the smurfs must work together to defend themselves against Gargamel. Along the way they learn lessons in teamwork, kindness, and friendship.
This new special is great for kids and their nostalgic parents with its humor, classic animation, and gentleness. This is a fun Halloween treat that’s not too scary. “The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow” is available on DVD from Amazon.com for the bargain price of $4.99.