ELF: ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
One Christmas, a baby climbed into Santa’s sack while he was delivering toys to an orphanage. Instead of returning the kid to the orphanage, Santa lets one of his elves raise the child as his own. However, when the human child grows to a full-grown adult man named Buddy (Will Ferrell), he soon questions whether he is actually an elf at all. Once he learns the truth about himself, he takes a trip to New York City to meet his real father and bring the magic of Christmas back into his life.
WHAT I LIKED
When “Elf” was released in theaters about seven years ago, it was just another Christmas movie. However, now it has grown to be a holiday classic that can be enjoyed by grown-ups and kids alike. Made at the perfect time in Will Ferrell’s career when he was young enough to play early-middle-aged but far enough along that he was a trusted actor to carry a feature, “Elf” captures a freshness that isn’t always found in modern films.
I like Will Ferrell as a comedian, and he is at his prime here. His hyperactive delivery is perfect for the child-like Buddy the Elf. Plus, with some other great performance by the adorable Zooey Deschanel, James Caan and Peter Dinklage, “Elf” is a charming film that thrusts a strong dose of holiday cheer at you.
My kids have seen the film several times, and it has become required viewing during the holiday season in my house. Now, it’s available as a great gift set in a collector’s tin with plenty of goodies.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I would not recommend “Elf” for a Christmas in July celebration. Rather, this collectable tin makes a good early Christmas present, allowing you to enjoy the movie during the right time of the year. I’m afraid that watching it outside of the month of December would be like listening to a Christmas music station in March.
With as much love as I have for this film, I will admit that there are some pretty cheesy moments, including a corny ending that threatens to be too sweet. Fortunately, director Jon Favreau pushes the film right up to that line of corniess but doesn’t quite cross it (unlike the saccharine sequels to “The Santa Clause”).
The Blu-ray looks great, and it is included in this package, complete with the same encoding and special features from the original release. This includes commentary by Will Ferrell and Jon Favreau, plus a set of deleted an alternate scenes. There’s also “Elf Karaoke,” which allows you to sing along with traditional carols and the theatrical trailer.
There’s also a feature-length compilation of behind-the-scenes featurettes: “Tag Along with Will Ferrell,” “Film School for Kids,’ “How They made the North Pole,” “Lights, Camera, Puffin!,” “That’s a Wrap,” “Kids on Christmas,” “Deck the Halls,” “Santa Mania” and “Christmas in Tinseltown.” These featurettes don’t just cover the production of the film, but also takes a look at how people decorate for Christmas, how Christmas is celebrated in Hollywood and what kids really think about Santa Claus.
Included in the collectable tin is a set of present labels, a magnetic picture frame with Buddy the Elf on it, a soundtrack sampler CD and a elf-themed stocking, suitable for hanging so the big guy can fill it on Christmas Eve.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of the modern Christmas movie.