The Smurfs and the Magic Flute (French: La Flûte à six schtroumpfs, lit. The Flute of Six Smurfs) is a 1976 Belgian animated film starring the Smurfs, directed by their creator, Peyo. Although the film premiered in 1976 in Belgium, and 1979 in the United Kingdom, an English-language version was not released in the United States until 1983, in the wake of the characters’ newfound popularity.
Although the Smurfs play a major part in the film, they do not appear until 35 minutes into the film. The film, set in the Middle Ages, mainly surrounds Johan and Peewit, a young squire and his jester sidekick. Johan and Peewit had also been created by Peyo in 1952 and it was in their adventures that the Smurfs were first introduced in 1958.
The film was not produced by Hanna-Barbera, the creators of The Smurfs television series, but by Brussels’ Belvision Studios and Éditions Dupuis. The voice talent from that show was not present in the English version either; instead, the work was handled by a non-union crew whose members had previously appeared in anime dubs for U.S. television.
A presentation of independent film company Atlantic Releasing in the United States, The Smurfs and the Magic Flute grossed over US$19 million. The film’s success led to the creation of Clubhouse Pictures, Atlantic’s children’s film division
The English dub of the film was presented in Dolby Stereo sound.
Yeah, this is probably one of the oddest feature film adaptations you will ever see because this was made a good 5 years before The Smurfs made their debut in the US and as you watch the film, there are definitely a lot of changes you can note right away with the film even with the beginning credits:
Because this was made long ago, nobody from the Hanna-Barbera series was invovlved in this right down to the cast to which everybody’s voices for the English dubbing are mostly anime actors with the biggest name of the cast being Cam Clarke, who would later go on to more notable voice roles such as Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Kaneda in the 1989 dubbing of Akira among other things.
The animation in the film is also rather odd, at times it’s right down to looking like the style of the TV show but the movements and design are rather simplistic and the Smurfs themselves have no real personality traits to them, they all look the same except for Papa Smurf and Brainy, it’s like the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics where you couldn’t really tell them apart and it wasn’t until the cartoon in 87 where their unique personality traits come into full swing.
As far as the movie itself, The Smurfs & The Magic Flute is passable. There’s nothing really offensively bad about it but there’s nothing really good about it, it’s kind of just a bland forgettable movie, even if you like the original Smurfs animated series, you will still find yourself kind of bored by what you’re seeing, nothing really flies here, it tries to be something but it just never reaches that tier to make it worth watching, it’s just a mediocre movie for the most part….
…but hey….it certainly beats the crap out of the live-action Smurfs movies.
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