Elf is genuinely good. Not just Saturday Night Live-movie good, when the movie has some funny bits but is basically an insult to humanity; Elf is a smartly written, skillfully directed, and deftly acted story of a human being adopted by Christmas elves who returns to the human world to find his father. And because the writing, directing, and acting are all genuinely good, Elf is also genuinely funny. Will Ferrell, as Buddy the adopted elf, is hysterically sincere. James Caan, as his rediscovered father, executes his surly dumbfoundedness with perfect aplomb. Zooey Deschanel, as a department store worker with whom Buddy falls in love, is adorably sardonic. Director Jon Favreau (Swingers) shepherds the movie through all the obligatory Christmas cliches and focuses on material that’s sometimes subtle and consistently surprising. Frankly, Elf feels miraculous. Also featuring Mary Steenburgen, Bob Newhart, Peter Dinklage, and Ed Asner as Santa Claus .

Studio: New Line Cinema
Year: 2009
Release Date: October 26, 2010
Run time: 95 minutes
Rating: R

Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Disc Spec: 2 BD50
Region: A

‘Saturday Night Live’ has produced a lot of talent which would go on to greater success in Hollywood. One of those talents is Will Ferrell, whom spent parts of his early career in a supporting role on television and in films. In 2003, Ferrell would get the big break he needed with a film called ‘Elf’. ‘Elf’ would be such a success that it delivered a total of $220 million dollars worldwide at the box office.

The story of ‘Elf’ isn’t complex, yet very simple and enjoyable. Buddy (Will Ferrell) is an infant in an orphanage that finds himself in Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve when Santa pays a visit to the orphanage. Once Santa and the elves notice that a baby has been brought back to the North Pole, the decision is to keep him with the rest of the group. Buddy is adopted by Papa Elf (Bob Newhart) to live as an elf, but as he continues to grow older so does his size. This causes Buddy to wonder as to why he isn’t like the rest of the elves, so he learns that he was adopted. Buddy heads back to New York to find his real family.

Buddy makes his way to New York on an iceberg/raft. Once Buddy gets to New York, he is in disbelief how cruel the people are in the city. Things do not go so well for Buddy when he stops at a department store going berserk on the fake Santa Claus (Artie Lange). This is where he also meets the department store elf, Jovie (Zooey Deschannel), whom he quickly falls in love with. This sidetracks Buddy a bit from his original goal now that he has fallen in love, but it won’t stop him from finding his father.

After a stroll in New York, Buddy finds his father Walter (James Caan) and he tries to gain his acceptance and build a relationship. While Buddy is looking for a loving father, he meets a father that is like Scrooge. All Walter wants to do is bury himself in his work and he has treated his wife Emily (Mary Steenburgen) and son Michael (Daniel Tay) as a non priority all their lives. Things are about to change once Buddy becomes a bigger part of the family.

‘Elf’ is a rather enjoyable holiday film which has some darker scenes, but is something that the whole family can enjoy. Will Ferrell takes a simple holiday tale and makes it a success with his comedic act. Ferrell is one of those actors that can make movies with mediocre scripts turn out to be good due to it just being Will Ferrell. Ferrell has something about him when he is on screen that he captivates audiences no matter how off the wall he is acting.
Movie Quality: 9.5/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/VC-1 with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The film is very colorful throughout the entire presentation with excellent details. Colors popped and were vibrant which resulted in a detailed image. There were a few scenes where the camera was panned out which gave that particular scene a lack of focus bringing the level of detail to a lower grade. There is some subtle hints of grain throughout the print, but mainly occurs during scenes at the beginning of the film at the North Pole.
Video Quality: 9/10

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The new TrueHD mix for the film is a good addition giving the soundtrack more life than the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix of the DVD. With ‘Elf’ being a comedy, it breaks the norm having more special effects and sound coming from the background than your usual comedic releases. Dialogue is also clear from the center channel and is a well balanced mix with the films soundtrack.
Audio Quality: 9/10

Special Features

All features are in standard definition, except for the theatrical trailer which is in HD. There is a plethora of deleted scenes which are also available with additional commentary. Both commentaries with Will Ferrell and Jon Favreau are very informative.

  • Collector’s Tin
  • Audio CD
  • Commentaries with Will Ferrell and Director Jon Favreau
  • Deleted/Alternate Scenes
  • Behind-the-Scenes Documentaries: 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; Christmas in Tinseltown
  • Elf Karaoke
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD)
  • Digital Copy

Special Features: 9/10

Final Thoughts

If you are a fan of Will Ferrell, ‘Elf’ is a film that will keep you entertained from start to finish. If it weren’t for Ferrell, I would be hard pressed to see anyone else to play the part due to his goofy comedic nature. The Blu-ray version offers excellent video and audio with a load of special features.
Overall Quality: 9/10