Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol (2011)


Did you see that the recent DVD release of last summer's theatrical movie The Smurfs included a bonus disc?  Sony Pictures included a half-hour piece of animation on the bonus disc entitled The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol.

"Smurf the halls with boughs of holly..."
In this version of Charles Dickens’ classic tale, Grouchy Smurf is the curmudgeon that hates Christmas. Papa Smurf concocts a magical brew that gives Grouchy a life-changing dream of being visited by three special Smurfs. 

Grouchy meets the Smurf of Christmases Past
Acting as the Smurf of Christmases Past, Smurfette shows Grouchy that his anger stems from not receiving the gift he's always wanted: a hang glider.  Brainy visits Grouchy as the Smurf of Christmas Present to show him that his bad attitude at Christmas every year negatively affects the other Smurfs. And, Hefty, acting as the Smurf of Christmas Future shows Grouchy a dark future when all the Smurfs are captured by Gargamel while they are in the woods looking for a Christmas tree to inspire Grouchy with the Christmas spirit.  In the end, Grouchy learns to appreciate the one gift he is given each year--a new hat especially handcrafted for him by Papa Smurf. 

Brainy as the Smurf of Christmas Present--created to look like the traditional animation of the Saturday morning cartoon series
Original fans of the 1980s Smurfs TV series will appreciate this new story because it incorporates the flat animated look of that original Saturday morning cartoon show.  Though the story begins and ends using the modern CG technology with the three dimensional visual appeal of the 2011 movie, Grouchy’s dream with the three Smurfs of Christmas is all done in the different style more like the appearance of traditional cel animation. 

Grouchy receives a Christmas gift from Papa Smurf--using the CG three dimensional look of the movie
Don’t expect a faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ original story.  This Smurf version of A Christmas Carol takes great license with the original text yet manages to create a feel-good story aimed at entertaining even the youngest of viewers.

I am antcipating that we will eventually see this animation on television, following the trend set by Dreamworks with Shrek the Halls (2007), Merry Madagascar (2009) and Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special (2010) as well as Blue Sky Studios' Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas (2011).

Did you watch Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas on TV in 2011?
Did you or a family member receive The Smurfs DVD release as a Christmas gift?  Have you seen The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol yet?  What do you think of the animated Christmas entertainments made from the successful film franchises such as Shrek the Halls and Merry Madagascar?

3 comments:

  1. I haven't watched this yet, but am hoping they do air it at Christmastime some year!

    I like Shrek the Halls, the other specials are so-so.

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    1. I think that if you already like the characters in the movie franchises, then you will like the Christmas entertainments. I'm not sure the Christmas programs are strong enough to create new fans for the original movies. What do other people think about it?

      I also see this as a clever trend in marketing--started by The Star Wars Holiday Special. Since the cast and crews are already together working on creating the movies, why not create smaller projects (like a Christmas special) to keep viewers interested in the feature-length films?
      Arguably, the best part of these Christmas programs, including The Star Wars Holiday Special, is that they contain the original cast (or voice cast) so it maintains much of the same quality entertainment viewers expect from the original films.

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  2. Joanna - I agree with you. Definitely appeal to people who already enjoy the characters involved. Sort of a special way to spend time with favored friends.

    As for the reasons for making them, I agree, as well. Why not do it when everyone is there already? And with holiday specials, they have a LONG shelf life! I notice cable shows, like Monk, Eureka, Warehouse 13, they are starting a trend of airing a holiday special out of their normal 'season'. Sort of like a gift to their fans.

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