Blu-ray Review: Elf: The Ultimate Collection

Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Caan, Peter Dinklage
Warner Bros Home Entertainment
Release date: October 26, 2010

Ask any Will Ferrell fan about his movies, and they most definitely will be able to quote lines from it, almost verbatim. Some like his wacky turn as news reporter/lothario Ron Burgundy in Anchorman. Other prefers him as Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights. For me, my favorite movie from the Ferrell library is Elf, his first major movie and box office success. So, with the holidays right around the corner, it is no surprise that the movie would be re-released on Blu-ray as an Ultimate Collector’s Edition.

Elf stars Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human who when he was just a baby, hopped into Santa’s sleigh and was whisked to the North Pole. Because he was an orphan, an old wise elf (Bob Newhart) decides to raise him as his own. Fast forward 30 years, when Buddy discovers that not only is he not an elf, but his real human father is in New York City. Hoping to reconnect with the father he never knew he had, Buddy embarks on a quest to the Big Apple one special Christmas season.

Now there are many reasons why this film could have failed. The premise alone, while entertaining, has one note written all over it. I mean, how many times can you laugh at a grown man dressed like an elf? A lesser actor would have made Buddy unbearable but Ferrell’s comedic talents and youth-like exuberance helps sell the concept. His portrayal of Buddy hits all the right spots. Whether it is watching Buddy devour a plate of spaghetti with maple syrup, or smiling in awe at his crush (Zooey Deschanel), you can’t help but root for the guy. He is so uncannily likable and genuine, it is contagious.

The Blu-ray comes with your standard special features. Everything from feature-length audio commentaries, a trivia track, and Elf Karaoke, to deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes looks areincluded. There is even a handful of featurettes on the making of the film that are pretty insightful. Aside from the Blu-ray content, there’s also additional items that come along with this ultimate collection, like gift stickers with lines from the movie, a magnetic picture frame, an Elf-inspired Christmas stocking, and a 5-song Christmas sampler, all packaged together in a collectible tin.

Now the big question is: is it worth it? In my opinion, while the extras in the box are cute and festive, the regular moviegoer will not miss out on any of these if they decide to buy the regular edition. But, it’s a great gift for the ultimate Elf fan, or for a family with young kids who’d appreciate the little extras. My only complaint with the extras is the song sampler. For the life of me, I have no clue as to why these songs are even on the CD. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of these songs in the movie.

Elf is definitely a movie to watch during the holiday season and can proudly sit next to other Christmas classics like A Christmas Story. Ferrell has never been more of a star as he is in this film. Without him, the movie is just a one note joke. The Ultimate Collection Blu-ray should definitely be on the list for any Elf-fanatics out there.

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