Elf – Ultimate Collector’s Edition (2003/Warner Blu-ray in Tin Package)
B- Sound: B Extras: B- Film: B
frankly I find Will Ferrell’s films formulaic and not very inventive, but every
now and then he strikes gold. So with
this it is no surprise that he just appeared on the “Most Over Paid Actors”
list. He does bring numbers at the box
office, but at the same time he has had a number of flops as well. I did enjoy his voice work on The Oblongs, his independent work on
FunnyorDie.com, and even thoroughly enjoyed
Anchor Man. Overall,
however, the problem with Will Ferrell is he doesn’t know how to play anything
but Will Ferrell; with the same mannerisms and goofy demeanor, without any true
depth or substance. Even the deeper, darker
Stranger than Fiction was a flop as he faded in and out of his
standard Will Ferrell formula. The film
reviewed here, however, someone how lent itself perfectly to Ferrell’s
personality. Elf is a brilliant film that overflows with holiday spirit and this
reviewer is more than certain that it will join the not so long list of films
that are Christmas standards.
of Elf chronicles a the life of
Buddy (Will Ferrell), who as a baby snuck into Santa’s (Ed Asner) sack when he
was delivering presents and in turn was raised by elves at the North Pole. The elf that Buddy lovingly calls papa is
played by the brilliant Bob Newhart, who loved Buddy even through the toughest
of times. You see, since Buddy was NOT
an elf and instead a human boy being raised as an elf he quickly outgrew his
peers and even with a big heart and overwhelming holiday spirit, Buddy just
never measured up (down?) to his fellow elves.
Once Buddy is old enough Papa informs him that his real father (James
Caan) lives in New York City
as a wealthy publishing executive named Walter Hobbs. Buddy sets out on an adventure to New York to reconnect
with his true father with the hope of finally finding his place in the world. Along the way Buddy has a number of odd and
humorous encounters including plenty of misunderstandings and finding a holiday
job in a department store. Zooey Deschanel
stars as Will Ferrell’s fellow employee and love interest.
is hilariously funny and manages to combine a creative story along with fresh
comedy. Will Ferrell may be up to his
old tricks, but it works and Buddy the Elf’s dimwitted, yet lovable demeanor is
brought to life. A future Christmas
classic for the whole family.
like to report that this “Ultimate Edition” is an upgrade from the previous
release, but sadly it is just the former release in a cheap cookie tin. The picture has its issues in its 1080p AV-1
encoded format, but overall has bright colors, solid blacks, and crisp
detail. There are artifacts here and
there along with certain soft scenes, the shadowing is off as is the use of
DNR. The sound is a Dolby 5.1 TrueHD
that is impressive compared to other nauseating Dolby Digital releases, but
still does not compare to DTS. Dialogue
is crisp, clean and always prioritized but fails to impress as the soundscape
is lacking often times sounding messy rather than immersive. At best I can call the sound limited by
extras include two Audio Commentaries that respectively feature director Jon
Favreau and the other Will Ferrell that are adequate at best, but would have
been better as a round table discussion.
There are a plethora of featurettes including “How they met at the North
Pole”; “Tag Along with Will Ferrell”; “That’s a Wrap”; “Lights Camera Puffin”;
“Film School for Kids”; “Kids on Christmas”;
“Deck the Halls”; “Santa Mania”; “Christmas in Tinseltown.” The featurettes are a mix of short “Behind
the Scenes” looks and other bits of how the magic of Elf was brought to life.
Other extras include Deleted/Alternate Scenes, Elf Karaoke, Trivia
Track, Trailer, Focus Points (behind the scenes info). Overall, the extras aren’t the best ever, but
they are plentiful and offer plenty to enjoy.
no real reason to upgrade to this set and the items included inside the tin
(To/From Stickers, CD soundtrack demo, Buddy the Elf Stocking and Magnet) are
pretty useless to boot. If you did not
purchase the previous release, then perhaps this will please the collector in
you, but otherwise stick with the previous release.
- Michael P. Dougherty II