I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Connor Bynum // Film Critic
The fate of 4K UHD Blu-ray in the home video market has still yet to be decided. On the one hand, gritty action movies like HACKSAW RIDGE and SICARIO are simply perfect for the medium. But on the other hand, these movies are hardly suitable for younger audiences. Enter SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE, a perfectly suitable (although forgettable) family adventure that is sure to tide the little ones over while we all wait for Disney to get it together and jump in already.
Movie Quality: C
If you skipped this one in theaters, it’s worth noting that THE LOST VILLAGE is not connected to the 2011 and 2013 live-action films in any way. This animated feature focuses on the only girl smurf in Smurf Village, Smurfette (Demi Lovato), who struggles to find her purpose in a world where every other smurf is special at one thing in life. Brainy Smurf (Dani Puti) is really smart, Hefty Smurf (Joe Manganiello) is really strong, and Clumsy Smurf (Jack McBrayer) is really clumsy. You get the idea. But Smurfette, besides being the only girl smurf in the village, has nothing special about her. She then decides to find purpose in saving a newly discovered all girl smurf village. It’s a simple story about finding value in what makes us all unique, but at times the film comes across as hollow when other animated films (cough, FROZEN) have already touched on this issue and in more meaningful ways. Make no mistake, there are better animated films out there. However, not a lot of them are presented in 4K UHD which thankfully is superb in this release.
Video/Audio Quality: A-
Upscaled for a 2K Digital Intermediate, SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE still looks stunning in 4K. Little textures from the stitching in the smurfs’ hats, to Smurfette’s individual strands of hair all pop out in noticeable clarity. Some textures are still a little hazy here and there, but this is mostly a solid transfer. The color palette is greatly enhanced with the added depth of HDR and the audio track is crystal clear. You are sure to get your money’s worth if you’ve also invested in a fancy Dolby Atmos system.
Supplemental features are generous but can all be found on the standard Blu-ray version of the film. These include an audio commentary track, some deleted scenes, a 9 minute making-of featurette, and more.
Final Score: B
While this disc is certainly a worthy entry into any family’s 4K library, it should be noted that my recommendation is heavily influenced by the general lack of kid-friendly content currently available in the format. If you’re still looking to justify your early investment in the latest and greatest in home entertainment for you and the whole family, go right ahead. Let’s just hope we soon see more family 4K UHD releases where the increase in video quality compliments the film rather than just your TV Screen.
The Blu-ray/4K UHD extras include:
- Filmmaker Commentary
- Meghan Trainor “I’m A Lady” Music Video
- Deleted Scenes
- The Emoji Movie Sneak Peek
- The Lost Auditions
- Kids at Heart! The Making of Smurfs: The Lost Village
- Demi Lovato Meets Smurfette
- Lost Village Dance Along
- Smurfify Your Nails
- Baker Smurf’s Mini Kitchen
- How To Draw Smurfette
- How To Draw Brainy
- How To Draw Clumsy
- Making The Song ‘You Will Always Find Me In Your Heart’
- The Sound Of The Smurfs