Christmas Movie Countdown: #20 & 19
#20: Elf (2003)
I actually didn't see this movie until recently, I'm not really sure why but that's just how it goes.
Buddy (Will Ferrell) was born human but was raised by elves. He grew up not really fitting in and one day when he was old enough he learned of his origins and ventured off to New York to seek out his biological father Walter Hobbs (James Caan). Along the way he falls in love with Jovie (Zooey Deschanel), a girl working as a department store elf. Then it's the usually holiday movie ending and Buddy has to do something to save Christmas.
Will Ferrell does what he does best, he acts immature and is gleefully wonderful doing so. It's weird to see James Caan in this sort of role when I'm used to watching him in more serious roles like Sonny in The Godfather. Mary Steenburgen does great in a supporting role as Walter's wife, Emily. Also, despite seeing the trailers and knowing exactly who to expect when I heard Peter Dinklage's voice I thought it sounded an awful lot like John Malkovich. I love Zooey Deschanel, I'm really a big fan, mainly because she always seems very real, honest and genuine, you know what I mean? That being said I'm glad she's not blonde anymore, that was a weird phase. Lastly, I would like to point out that there is a small uncredited cameo near the start by Peter Billingsley who is better known as Ralphie from A Christmas Story (1983), see if you can spot him when you watch it (you can check on IMDb but he's uncredited as 'Elf' which doesn't help)
Elf is a great family movie, it's nothing that stands out too much but I think the strong cast help to bring it to a nice wide range of audiences for the holiday season.
I was thinking about what to say about this movie but there really isn't a whole lot too say.
One sentence can pretty much sum it up. One night, a boy who has his doubts about Christmas finds himself aboard a magical train to the North Pole.
I thought the film started a little slow but overall the plot was decent, predictable but I mean holiday movies should be predictable. The major draw was the computer graphics involved. They were indeed stellar and made it also a little creepy to see Tom Hanks morphed in so many different ways. Tom pulled a Mike Myers or Peter Sellers in this film and is billed as playing six different characters. Albeit easier when it's animated, I'm pretty sure this movie used motion trackers so he still had to actually do things.
This film was directed by Robert Zemeckis who both wrote and directed one of all-time favourite movie series' Back to the Future. Bob also directed A Christmas Carol (2009) starring Jim Carrey although I have not seen it nor do I intend to in the near future. I'll stick with the dozens of film adaptations already made based on Dickens' famous novella.
It's a movie that has stunning graphics and Tom definitely brings enough to the movie to keep everyone watching.