Back in June, I was invited to the Sony Pictures Animation facility to get an early look at The Smurfs, so it's only fitting that I came back to SPA for an event celebrating The Smurfs on three-disc Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD December 2. The three-disc Blu-ray includes the brand new animated short The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol, a smurfy version of the classic Charles Dickens story. The short centers on Grouchy (George Lopez), who is normally rather happy during Christmas, but is his usually cantankerous self this year. Papa Smurf brews up a potion to get Grouchy back into the Christmas spirit, which features the Smurfs of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.
I got to watch this animated short at SPA, which is a lot of fun, especially for longtime fans of the original animated series, since most of the short is done in the traditional hand-drawn style fans of the original animated series will recognize. It's a wonderful trip down memory lane for those like me who grew up on the original show, with many of the voice actors returning from the The Smurfs movie such as George Lopez as Grouchy, Anton Yelchin as Clumsy, Fred Armisen as Brainy, and Hank Azaria as Gargamel. It was interesting watching the old-school version of Gargamel with the new-school voice of Hank Azaria.
We also had the chance to preview some of the special features on Blu-ray, including the Smurf-O-Vision Second Screen Experience, which allows users an interactive experience in sync with the movie on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. When you watch the movie and have Smurf-O-Vision synced in with the movie, you can open Jokey Smurf's presents, fill up your screen with Smurfberries or mushroom houses, pop popcorn, or even zap Gargamel with a lightning strike. If the young boy sitting next to me was any indication, kids will love these activities, especially the Gargamel lightning strike. That kid must have zapped Gargamel 100 times in just a few minutes, and he was having a blast doing it. CLICK HERE to download this app for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
There are also several other interactive activities the kids will love on this Blu-ray, including the GoldRun app for your iPhone or iPad, where you can literally take a picture with one of the Smurfs. There are six different Smurfs, such as Brainy, Grouchy, and Papa Smurf, which you can add into your own photos with this app. You can CLICK HERE to download this app from the Apple store. If the kids loved zapping Gargamel, I have to imagine they'd get a kick out of a Smurf standing next to them in a photo.
This Blu-ray set also includes a holiday-themed add-on for the popular Smurfs Village game, which is available for Apple and Android devices. This add-on can only be accessed through the Blu-ray, which includes new holiday quests and characters from The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol.
The Smurfs Blu-ray will also be the first title to feature Sony's new UltraViolet Digital Copy, an innovative new version of the digital copy which puts your movies in "the cloud." Users can sign up for a free account at UVVU.com, and then you can either stream The Smurfs directly from their servers, or download your own copy onto your laptop or smartphone. Here's what Jeremy Glassman had to say about this emerging technology.
"What you do is, your Blu-ray disc comes with a code, and you're actually able to add the digital rights for The Smurfs to your UltraViolet digital library, and you're able to stream the movie, or download a copy to your PC or Mac. It's an entirely new way to watch a movie. You can watch it at home streaming or on the go."
Jeremy Glassman also mentioned that you can add up to six friends or family members to your UltraViolet account, who can access your library. This UltraViolet Digital Copy really takes your viewing experience to the next level, with this Cloud-based platform that allows the flexibility to stream the movie from the UltraViolet servers, or download a copy to watch on various devices. Other upcoming titles which will feature UltraViolet Digital Copy are The Hangover Part II on December 6, Colombiana on December 20, and Final Destination 5 on December 27.
That about wraps it up from my day at Sony Pictures Animation for The Smurfs, which arrives on three-disc Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD December 2.