Greg Tyler

Christmas 2013: Elf

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Christmas Elf-raised Will Ferrell shows Zooey Deschanel his North Pole! etc. etc.

Christmas spirit

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ Elf is – as I see it – primarily a fish-out-of-water comedy, and it's rather good at that role as we see Buddy run havoc around New York City, getting hit by every taxi cab in sight. That mood takes up the middle section of the film, whilst the beginning and end really settle into the Christmas spirit. Mid-range points for this category, as I thought more could've been made of the festive themes during the centre third.

Ho-ho-who's in it?

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Will Ferrell shines in this film, as you'd probably imagine. I'm often amazed at Ferrell's ability to play such over-the-top characters but not feel like he's doing the same role every time. The rest of the cast generally all fit well too, with a particular mention due to Peter Dinklage as an easily wound-up children's book connoisseur.

Of course, with Jon Favreau directing, it features Jon Favreau playing an uncomplicated but perfectly passable role.

Family fun

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ I know others don't agree with me on this, but Elf didn't give me that tingly family feel. Ultimately, I'm not sure how much the youngest of kids would enjoy it, and it doesn't strike me as the sort of film my mum would put up with just because the children wanted to watch it. It's perfectly nice though, and accessible for plenty of ages; just doesn't quite bite my criteria of wholesome family goodness.

Jingle Bells

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ The soundtrack is perfectly nice, and it ends with a pretty solid Christmas carol. However, it doesn't give these the sort of attention required by this entirely arbitrary category.


★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Elf is a fun, silly film with a mostly enjoyable plot. Ferrell is excellent, as are other cast members; the cinematography is impressive and even the stunt work has had just the right treatment. Ultimately, the seasonal criteria rating perhaps don't do this comedy film justice, but that's just about what you expect when the guy behind Iron Man and Cowboys & Aliens makes a Christmas film, right?

Dirk Lawson from Elf

Must be another Dirk Lawson…

The camera work with Will Ferrell and the elves is really well done. Colour me impressed, Greg Gardiner.