Review by Elliott
Leon the Snowman: Why the long face, Buddy?
Buddy: It seems I’m not an elf.
Leon the Snowman: Of course you’re not an elf. You’re six-foot-three and had a beard since you were fifteen.
Gimbel’s Manager: Why are you smiling like that?
Buddy: I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite
Buddy: “I’m sorry I ruined your lives, and crammed eleven cookies into the VCR.”
A week ago, my whole family was together to celebrate mom’s birthday. After dinner we decided to watch a Christmas movie. We consider several classics, but then I found out that most of them hadn’t seen Elf. I wasn’t too surprised, but this was still a tragedy that needed fixing. Although I’m not a fan of Will Ferrell, I can’t help but love this movie. So hopefully my family liked it as well.
Will Ferrell as Buddy
James Caan as Walter
Bob Newhart as Papa Elf
Zooey Deschanel as Jovie
Directed by Jon Favrue (also directed the Iron Man movies)
-Will Ferrell caused several minor traffic accidents when walking through the Lincoln Tunnel in his costume because people were so surprised to see him wearing an elf outfit.
-Will Ferrell suffered from headaches throughout filming, as he had to actually eat all of the sugar infested foodstuffs in the Elf food pyramid on camera.
-The cotton balls Buddy eats while in the Doctors office were actually Cotton Candy that had not been dyed.
The story begins one late Christmas night in an orphanage. While Santa is dropping off his presents, a little toddler crawls out of his crib and into Santas bag. The little stow away makes it back to the North Pole, where he is adopted by one of the elves(Papa Elf). The only thing the baby is wearing is a diaper so, logically they name him Buddy, after the name on the diaper. Over the next 30 years, he grows up in the North Pole with Santa’s elves and comes to believe that he is one of them. Unfortunately, he’s not much of an elf. He isn’t good at making toys, which results in him getting rotated from one job to the next. One day in Santa’s Workshop he overhears two of the elves talking. From their discussion he find out the truth, he’s not an elf. After learning this he talks to Papa Elf, who tells him that his real father lives in New York City. Buddy decides to set out on a quest to meet his true father in New York City. He passes through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then walks through the Lincoln Tunnel. Things in New York aren’t at all what he expects, it’s a new, exciting, and sometimes confusing place. He quickly learns that he doesn’t fit in here anymore than he did at the North Pole. He meets his real dad and family but things don’t go well with them either. Near the end of the movie, there is a scene which harkens back to “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Buddy is walking across a bridge, he stops and stares down into the water as if contemplating jumping. But at that instant there’s a loud bang and Santa’s Sled suddenly appears and crashes into Central Park. Buddy rushes to help Santa and in the end saves Christmas and unites his family.
There are two main themes from the movie that I’d like to examine.
A considerable focus is placed on Buddy’s real Dad(Walter). Walter is a workaholic and has never been a good father to his other son. This is evident from the get go and is reiterated until the end of the movie. However, in the scene just before the bridge, Walter is forced to make the decision between work and his family. This is a great scene because it demonstrates that even if you’ve made bad decisions in the past, you can choose to change and do the right thing. In our society so much emphasis is placed on physical possessions and our own personal status, that it is refreshing to see them show the importance of choosing your family.
The second theme that we observe is that Buddy wants to fit in and find a place where he belongs. He thinks he fits in with the elves but learns that he’s human and can’t meet the expectations of the other elves. This leads to him seek out his human family, but once he meets them, he discovers that he doesn’t fit in with them any better. Growing up I always wanted to fit in with whomever I was around. I’d guess that the majority of us have wanted this. Most of us don’t want to be the odd one or the loner. To look at this from a spiritual point of view, we aren’t always suppose to fit in. In John 17, Jesus prays that we will be “in the world, but not of the world.” This doesn’t mean that we isolate ourselves from everyone that doesn’t believe the same thing as us or that we don’t have non-christian friends. The point is that we don’t act like or look like the world. We are to stand out and to be different than the world. Sometimes this means we won’t fit in and that is ok. Throughout my teenage years I struggled with this everyday. I tend to be a people pleaser and so I found it difficult to be different. Unfortunately, I most often chose to ignore my values and do whatever I needed to fit in. But this isn’t the plan God has for us. God outlines His plan for us in 1 Peter 2: 9-12:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
Elf is a great Christmas movie, one of my favorites. It’s not that it has great acting, although Will Ferrell does an excellent job of playing his character. It also isn’t that it has some profound story. What makes this one of my favorites is that it is so much fun to watch. The movie is chock full of hilarious dialogue that will keep you laughing constantly. When you’re not laughing at the dialogue you’re laughing at the ridiculous things that Buddy is doing. The humor might not be for everyone, but even my Mom, who typically doesn’t care for that humor, was laughing throughout the movie. My main issue with Will Ferrell is that most of his movies are full of crude/lewd humor. Elf sets itself apart from his other movies by being funny without all the crudeness. So now that there’s only 7 more days before Christmas, do yourself a favor and check out this great, classic Christmas movie and remember…. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.