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Category:    Home > Reviews > Shorts > LIterature > Comedy > Animals > Holiday > Animated > Fairy Tale > Fantasy > Merry Christmas, Splat (2013/Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVD)/Snow Queen (animated/2012/Vertical Entertainment DVD)/The Smurfs 2 in 3D (2013/Sony Blu-ray 3D 2/Blu-ray 2D & DVD)

Merry Christmas, Splat (2013/Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVD)/Snow Queen (animated/2012/Vertical Entertainment DVD)/The Smurfs 2 in 3D (2013/Sony Blu-ray 3D 2/Blu-ray 2D & DVD)

3D Picture: B 2D Picture: C+/C+/B- & C+ Sound: C+/C+/B & C+ Extras: C/C-/C Main Programs: C+/C/C-

Here are three animated children's offerings with slight differences, but revisiting charterers we have met before...

Merry Christmas, Splat reunites us with the mischievous, hilarious, silly black cat we have seen in earlier Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVD releases and is one of four shorts on this new DVD single from the series. It is also easily one of the best holiday releases we have seen in a major glut of them. It is accompanied by Snowflake Bentley (narrated by Sean Astin), Fleischer & The Snowflake Christmas and Owl Moon. The best release on this list keeps it simple and delivers some fun for all ages, even only running 37 minutes in total.

Extras include Read-Along captions and a behind the scenes look at making Fleischer.

All the sudden, we have several versions of the Hans Christian Anderson tale Snow Queen, but this time, we have an animated 2012 version to go with the disappointing BBC edition we just covered at this link:


This version issued on DVD by Vertical Entertainment is not that much better and wants to compete with larger animated features, but his one did not stay with me and only outdoes the other production by not being pretentious, but it is not very memorable and the unknown voice actors don't add anything special.

Extras include a copy of the film via VUDU, plus trailers for this and a few other Vertical releases.

Last and sadly least is Raja Gosnell's The Smurfs 2 in 3D (2013) which should have built on the first CG Animation/Live Action combo 2011 Smurfs outing we covered in Blu-ray 3D at this link:


Instead, we get dumb origins angles and a silly boo hiss villain (Hank Azaria) taking on the gang in a really dreary, boring, dull plot that plays it way too safe, thinks it can coast on the love of the characters and even Neil Patrick Harris cannot change that meaning a good amount of money was spent overproducing a package deal with no point and shows the makers have no idea why the first release or the original TV show in the first place worked. Young children and fans might like this, but the lack of energy or point is shocking and now I see why it did not fare so well at the box office.

Extras include three Blu-ray exclusive featurettes and Smurf-O-Vision 2 functions, Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices, two more making of featurettes also on the included DVD, Deleted Scenes and the previously reviewed The Legend Of Smurfy Hollow mini-movie we reviewed in its DVD debut at this link:


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image on Smurfs is Mastered in 4K like the new series of Blu-rays Sony has issued of key catalog titles, outperforming the 2D 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image version of also Mastered in 4K because it was shot with Sony HD 3D cameras and just plays best that way. In 2D, the colder nature of the Sony cameras are obvious and the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is just flat out too soft and limited. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image (and sometimes 1.33 X 1 on Splat) can more than compete

As for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on both Smurfs Blu-rays are the sonic champs here with solid soundfields, some impressive surrounds and the occasionally imaginative sound effect. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD version is not as impressive and on the weak side, as weak as the same kind of 5.1 on Snow Queen, both so much so that the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the Splat shorts can more than compete when it should not be able to.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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