A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although the famous blue gnomes have a title role in The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, they don't make an appearance until nearly halfway through the movie, which could be frustrating to young fans. The story uses the characters' actions to highlight positive choices and show the repercussions of negative behavior, letting you draw your kids' attention to the consequences of selfishness, haste, and short-sightedness, for instance. There's a seedy-looking villain and some playful violence (thumps to the head, slapping and hitting), plus the unremarkable presence of beer and wine in a few places, but none of this is worrisome for kids. This '70s cartoon moves at a notably slower pace than most modern kids' movies and shows do, but if kids can hang in there for the duration, it's a well-rounded, wholesome pick.
What's the story?
Set in the Middle Ages, THE SMURFS AND THE MAGIC FLUTE tells the story of a unique flute that finds its way into the hands of William (voiced by Cam Clarke), a court jester in the king's castle. William discovers that the instrument's music forces people to dance and eventually fall asleep, so he has great fun working its magic on those around him. But when the flute is stolen by a thief named McCreep (Mike Reynolds), who uses it to rob the town citizens, William and his friend Johan set out to the elusive land of the Smurfs to ask for their help in recovering it and saving the kingdom.
Is it any good?
This classic cartoon is a must-see for Smurf fans, to be sure, and it's a pleasant enough way for most families to while away an hour in front of the TV if that's what you're looking to do. But The Smurfs and the Magic Flute does show its age, and, for better or for worse, by today's entertainment standards, it's a fairly bland offering. It's driven less by action and more by dialogue -- and even at times plods along without any of that, either -- and kids who are used to the Smurf TV series' 30-minute format will find the movie's production value subpar and the story a little long, especially considering that nearly half of it is spent without the friendly blue gnomes in sight.
That's the bad news. The good news is that the lengthy format offers kids a chance to exercise their attention span beyond that 30-minute window, and the story is rich in positive messages. There are admonishments against greed and selfishness, examples of the benefits of patience, and some deference to the wisdom of elders, among others. There's a commercial tie-in to consider, of course, but it's not as much of a consideration as it may have been during the Smurfs' '80s heyday.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the lessons William learns The Smurfs and the Magic Flute. Does seeing the flute misused by McCreep change how William feels about it? Why is it still tempting to use it on people? Why is the flute considered dangerous?
Kids: How does The Smurfs and the Magic Flute compare to the modern Smurfs movies? What differences did you notice between the two productions? In what ways can you tell this movie's age? Does that affect how much you like it?
What other classic cartoons have you seen? How do they rate compared to more modern offerings? Do you notice any content that might not be acceptable in today's shows?
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