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Elf 4K UHD Review

“Elf” is still a charming Christmas movie.

In 2003’s “Elf” (yes, it’s really been 19 years), the story revolves around a human orphan (Buddy) that was raised in the North Pole by Papa Elf. As he becomes a “ginormous” adult, Buddy learns that he’s a not an elf but a human. Moreover, he discovers he has a father in New York. Buddy travels to New York to meet him and to hopefully find a place where he can fit in better, but finds that life in the human world isn’t what he expected. Along the way, the jovial Buddy bonds with a department store employee (Jovie) and maybe, just maybe, might be able to help the waning Christmas spirit in the human world.

Skillfully directed by Jon Favreau (who also has a cameo) and written by David Berenbaum, “Elf” has easily become one of the most beloved Christmas movies from the past 22 years (alongside “Bad Santa”. It’s a fun fish out of water story, it’s a sweet father-son story, it’s a partial homage to the timeless Rankin/Bass specials, it’s a love story, and it’s an uplifting Christmas movie all rolled into one. It’s a movie that can appeal to children and adults alike. 

Admittedly, the script isn’t perfect. The middle act flounders a bit and the third act sort of feels like a different movie entirely (or at least a bit tacked on). Still, “Elf” has so much heart, humor and character that it’s easy to overlook the shortcomings.

On the subject of the characters, the cast is first rate. Will Ferrell is in peak form as the childlike and enthusiastic Buddy, James Caan shines as the grouchy workaholic father with a heart, Zooey Deschanel is positively delightful as Jovie, Bob Newhart is perfectly cast as Papa Elf, and there are memorable supporting performances from Ed Asner, Kyle Gass, Peter Dinklage, Andy Richter, Mary Steenburgen, and Peter Billingsley (yes, of “A Christmas Story” fame) as well.

This review couldn’t end without giving a shout out to the technical departments. The costumes, practical sets/production design, the superb stop-motion animation, the location shooting and the moving score by John Debney all give the movie even more life.


Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p. How does it look? A deeply impressive transfer with rich colors. This is the best the film has looked period.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The 5.1 track does the job. 

* One commentary by Jon Favreau and one by Will Ferrell (on the 4K and Blu-ray)
* Digital copy
* Blu-ray copy
* Blu-ray archival extras- Fact track, theatrical track, 8 added scenes with optional commentary by Jon Favreau, Elf karaoke, the interactive Focus Points, and 9 featurettes that include a behind-the-scenes look at Will Ferrell on set,  a film school documentary, featurettes on the production design, post-production, and stop-motion animation, bonus features about kids talking about Christmas, holiday decorations, Santa and Christmas in Hollywood.


November 23, 2022 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , ,

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