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[caps]I[/caps]’m always a sucker for a new gimmick so when I heard about the Smurf-O-Vision: Second Screen Experience, I knew I had to get involved. Every Blu-ray copy of the new rehash of The Smurfs comes with a free app for your iPhone or iPad which you can sync with the movie. It caters to the multi-task generation where even a recreational activity like a movie requires supplemental distractions like bubble popping and fly swatting.

Syncing the app is a smurfstrating experience. I had to restart my Blu-ray player several times because it froze when attempting to sync via wifi and all menu options were “prohibited.” Finally, I opted for the manual sync, following in the footsteps of my druggy predecessors who carefully synced The Dark Side of the Moon with the lion’s roar in The Wizard of Oz.

When we finally settled back on the sofa with our blue chips and blueberry juice I figured that we’d be playing silly games that corresponded to the action on screen, but I didn’t realize that the “dual screen experience” isn’t ideal for group viewing because it actually plays a different version of the Smurfs movie with weird additions and picture-in-picture elements. For example, in the first minute of the movie the camera follows a white bird as it dives into the Smurfs’ enchanted forest. In the dual screen version a large splat of bird poop lands on the TV screen then lands on the iPad screen too, where you’re supposed to wipe it away with your fingers. But if you watch the normal version of the movie, there is no splat at all.

I wonder if the director had creative control over the handfuls of weird graphics that were added to his film, or whether he figured it just couldn’t get any worse. I had to stop the dual screen action after only a few minutes because it was so obnoxious and distracting. It might appeal to young kids who won’t mind the Smurfs’ anti-Semitic undertones but tech-savvy youngsters will recognize these games as the repackaged freeware garbage that they are.

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