2013: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow

I was going to review the new Sleepy Hollow TV series, but I decided I'd wait for a few more episodes. So far, it seems like Inspector Spacetime landed in Twin Peaks during Season 2, the one where things spun out of control and made very little sense. I mean this in a nice way, and all, but I'm not sure what to say about it yet.

So, instead, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on the Smurfs' first proper Halloween special, a straight-to-DVD half hour cartoon entitled The Legend of Smurfy Hollow. It's in stores now.

I suppose we can now expect that every toy we remember is going to be revived for the big screen sooner or later. He-Man hasn't happened yet, but it's in the works. We may not see movies of I Vant to Bite Your Finger or The Wuzzles any time soon, but nothing shocks me anymore. The way the movie business works now, a lot revolves around opening week gross (more than it used to), and "stuff you've heard of" is a safe risk, no matter how bad the movie is.

So after disappearing from pop culture for about 20 years, a couple of years back the Smurfs came back in a big way with a poorly-received movie that did well enough to spawn a poorly-received sequel. I haven't seen either one of them, so I really shouldn't comment. Even in the 80s, I had a few smurfs and all, and I vaguely remember seeing The Smurfs and the Magic Flute in a theater, but I wasn't all that into them.

Still, after a few minutes, when The Legend of Smurfy Hollow turned from its CGI framing device of a bunch of smurfs telling ghost stories and morphed into a cell-animated cartoon, I was filled with a warm, fuzzy feeling. A new Smurfs cartoon! After all this time!

The story is really nothing like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at all. Here, we have the Smurfs gearing up for their annual berry-picking competetion, which Brainy Smurf wins every year. Another Smurf (I forget his name) follows Brainy into Smurfy Hollow, which most Smurfs avoid because of several signs saying "Beware of the Headless Horseman." Brainy put them up himself to scare others away from Smurfy Hollow, which is by far the best place to pick berries.

There's a funny sequence in which Brainy talks to himself about the general absurdity about a headless horseman. "What would he do if it rained?" he asks. But then, of course, a REAL headless horseman shows up, Brainy runs, a rescue party is formed, and sooner or later three smurfs are trapped in Gargamel's cages.

Now, maybe I don't remember well enough, but I don't think Gargamel used to be particularly funny. He's more self-deprecating now; he gets a funny line here in which he exists that his personal hygiene is perfectly in line with 16th century standards.  Then, again, the Headless Horseman shows up and chases everyone away. Gargamel is vanquished, and the Smurfs learn some valuable lessons. Spoiler alert: the horseman is really a goat the Papa Smurf magically disguised as a ghost (implying that he's known Brainy was cheating all along, I suppose).

The Legend of Smurfy Hollow isn't bad. Heck, it's nice just to see a new cell-animated Halloween special at all. The plot only makes a little bit of sense, but it's probably better than the average episode of The Smurfs from the 80s, and it sure made me hungry for a bowl of SmurfBerry Crunch. That was a some good cereal, right there. I suppose a box of Cap'n Crunch's Oops All Berries will have to do...until I can get my hands on the re-released versions of Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy, for which I'm checking Target daily. That's where I was when I found this new Smurf DVD, which was only five bucks.

I'll leave you with Tom Smith's "Smurfin' Safari"

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