Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
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