Elf

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: PG

Starring:
Will Ferrell as Buddy
James Caan as Walter Hobbes
Mary Steenburgen as Mrs. Hobbes
Zooey Deschanel as Jovie
Edward Asner as Santa Claus
Bob Newhart as Papa Elf
Daniel Tay as Michael Hobbes
Peter Dinklage as Miles Finch
Andy Richter
Kyle Gass
Artie Lange
Amy Sedaris

Special Features:
Beyond the Movie™:
Fun holiday featurettes
o “Deck the Halls” – Unusual visits with obsessed holiday decorating fans
o “Christmas in Tinseltown” – Hollywood Christmas Parade
o “Santa Mania” – Profiles of interesting “Santa” fans
o “Kids on Christmas” – Kids say the funniest things – “holiday style”

Fact Track – Trivia Subtitle Track
All Access Pass:
Filmmaker commentary with Director Jon Favreau
Commentary with Will Ferrell
Deleted/Alternate Scenes with optional commentary by Director Jon Favreau
Music from Elf – Jump to Soundtrack Cues with introduction by Jon Favreau
Behind-the-Scenes
o “Tag Along with Will Ferrell” – Will takes you on an exciting tour of the Elf set
o “How They Made the North Pole” – Watch first-hand as they magically turn a Hollywood stage into the North Pole
o “Film School for Kids” – Learn how to produce a Hollywood movie
o “That’s a Wrap” – Learn all about the editing process
o “Lights, Camera, Puffin!” – Discover how those adorable characters were brought to life

Fun ‘N’ Games:
Buddy’s Adventure – Play each game individually or as one big game.
o “The Race Down Mt. Icing”
o “Elf in the City”
o “Snowball Fight”
o “Fix Santa’s Sleigh”
Secret Elevator o’ Fun (to be unlocked after winning Buddy’s Adventure)
Elf Karaoke – Each sing-along song contains two instrumental audio tracks and one with vocals.
o “We Wish you a Merry Christmas”
o “Deck the Halls”
o “Jingle Bells”
Read-along – With or with out accompanying narration
o “Elf – A Short Story of a Tall Tale”

DVD-ROM Content:
Play Movie
Script-to-Screen
Photo Gallery
Link to Original Website
Exclusive on-disc ROM content includes:
o Make Your Own Christmas Book
o I’m an Elf Photo Activity
o Link to Exclusive Content at infinifilm.com
Pop-Up Book Animated Menus
What is infinifilm™?

Other Info:
Full Frame (1.33:1)
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Language
Running Time: 95 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is the official description of the DVD:

“Will Ferrell stars as the ultimate fish out of water, Buddy, who as a baby crawls into Santa’s toy bag and is whisked off to the North Pole, where he is raised as an elf. A cheerful misfit who grows to be three times the size of his elf family, Buddy ultimately heads to his birthplace – New York City – to seek out his roots. Unfortunately, they turn out to be a “Scrooge”-like father (James Caan) and a cynical eight-year-old half-brother who doesn’t believe in Santa. Worst of all, everyone seems to have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. But, using his simple elf ways, Buddy sets out to single-handedly win over his family and save Christmas in New York, hoping to at last find his true place in the world.”

This DVD is rated PG for some mild rude humor and language.

The Movie:
I saw Elf when it first hit theaters and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was able to watch it again on DVD with my family and we all got a kick out of it together. It’s one of those rare comedies that the whole family can enjoy. Adults love the sly sense of humor of the film while kids love the antics of Will Ferrell. Elf is almost three movies in one. The first portion seems to be a Christmas movie parody as we see Buddy in the North Pole. There are a number of stop motion puppets like in the old Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer shows. They add a hilarious touch to the North Pole. It then shifts gears to a more adult comedy as Buddy arrives in New York and starts stalking his father. The final portion where Buddy helps Santa save Christmas is a bit less entertaining as it reverts to a more generic Christmas film with a by-the-book ending. Despite the changes in tone and content, there’s something in this film for everyone to enjoy.

Elf works entirely because of Will Ferrell’s performance. He plays Buddy with such sincerity that you can’t help but believe in his innocence and childlike spirit. While watching him on screen I kept being reminded of similar things that my own kids would do or say. Buddy’s reactions to the various situations are so close to that of a 5 year old that you’d think he studied one specifically for this role. Ferrell still manages to get his wicked sense of humor in here and there, too. When he catches a department store employee posing as Santa, he declares, “You sit on a throne of lies!” You also get to see him in a lot of physical comedy as he runs into things, has an encounter with an escalator, and gets manhandled by Empire State Building security. All in all, Ferrell’s role in this film is landmark because he proves that he can carry a movie on his own.

The supporting cast is also excellent. James Caan is great as Walter Hobbes, Buddy’s exasperated father. He’s a good Scrooge for the movie and his tough guy persona is a perfect contrast to Buddy’s childlike enthusiasm. Bob Newhart is also fun to see as Papa Elf, Buddy’s adopted father. As soon as he appears on the screen, he immediately sets the tone for the film. He starts off by describing how elves either work as cobblers, cookie makers in trees, or as toy makers. The sight gags of him being so small compared to Buddy are hilarious. There are a number of other great cameos in Elf. You see Ed Asner as Santa Claus, Andy Richter, and Peter Dinklage as Miles Finch. Dinklage has a great fight scene with Ferrell when he calls him an “angry elf”.

The soundtrack is also pretty good. It features a number of traditional Christmas songs, some jazz, and a nice duet between Zooey Deschanel and Will Ferrell. The music perfectly sets the mood of the film and will put you in the holiday spirit.

In the end Elf was a satisfying movie for both kids and adults. If you’re looking for a holiday film full of Christmas cheer and laughs, Elf will fit the bill.

The Extras:
This two disc set is jam packed with extras. Besides including both full screen and wide screen versions for the film, you’ll find bonus features for both kids and adults. This DVD includes New Line’s “Infinifilm” format. Unfortunately, this is nothing more than a way to bury the bonus features even deeper in the menus. There’s nothing really advantageous or appealing about this setup. Here are the highlights of what you will find:

Fun holiday featurettes – There are a number of short documentaries included that celebrate Christmas. “Deck the Halls” features a number of people obsessed with Christmas. There’s one neighborhood from California shown where all the houses decorate elaborately for the holidays. Other fans who decorate their homes are also shown. “Christmas in Tinseltown” shows how Christmas is celebrated in Hollywood. They also feature the Christmas Parade. “Santa Mania” profiles a group of interesting “Santa” fans while “Kids on Christmas” includes kids giving their take on Santa, reindeer, and Christmas in general. They are fun features, but nothing really relating to Elf. I could have done without them.

Filmmaker commentary with Director Jon Favreau – Favreau delivers a pretty good commentary. He keeps the discussion rolling and offers up trivia about the story, why he picked certain shots, and more.

Commentary with Will Ferrell – Oddly enough, Ferrell isn’t quite the psycho in real life that he is on film. He’s so quiet and reserved on this commentary that you wonder if he’s heavily medicated. Still, he has a lot of interesting things to say about the roles, the extras (one of which is his brother), and other things relating to the film. I kind of wish he had been teamed with Favereau for this, though.

Deleted/Alternate Scenes with optional commentary by Director Jon Favreau – Several deleted scenes are included. One shows Buddy playing ice hockey with the elves and wreaking havoc. Then there are more scenes of him with Bob Newhart, more of him learning about his background, and other stuff. There’s even a brief alternate version of his fight with the “angry elf”. You’ll find these well worth checking out.

“Tag Along with Will Ferrell” – Will Ferrell takes you around the set on a day of shooting. He escorts the viewers to hair, makeup, costume, the shooting stage, and more. Again, he’s oddly reserved in these scenes and isn’t the crazy man-child that he is in the film.

“How They Made the North Pole” – This feature shows how they turned a sound stage into the North Pole with Styrofoam, fake snow, and clever props.

“Film School for Kids” – In this feature you get to meet pretty much every crew member from the film and learn their job. They talk to everyone from the production assistant to the director. It’s quite a detailed look at how they make movies.

“That’s a Wrap” – This feature shows everything that happens after principal photography. This includes creating sound effects, recording the score, editing, and more.

“Lights, Camera, Puffin!” – This featurette shows how the stop motion creatures were designed, constructed, and animated.

Fun ‘N’ Games – There are a number of games that you can play all together as one adventure or individually. You have “The Race Down Mt. Icing”, “Elf in the City”, “Snowball Fight”, and “Fix Santa’s Sleigh”. After winning each level, you get to access the Secret Elevator o’ Fun. It’s a cool way to present the games and they are fun for the kiddies. Then you also have Elf Karaoke where you can sing along with songs like “We Wish you a Merry Christmas”, “Deck the Halls”, and “Jingle Bells”. Finally, there’s a read along feature of the storybook “Elf – A Short Story of a Tall Tale”.

The Bottom Line:
From the movie to the bonus features, Elf is a fun film for the whole family. Will Ferrell and the supporting cast are hilarious and really make this a modern Christmas classic.

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