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Elf: Ultimate Collector Elf: Ultimate Collector's Edition
Movie Rating:
DVD Rating:
Overall Rating:

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Will Ferrell
James Caan
Mary Steenburgen
Zooey Deschanel
Edward Asner
Bob Newhart

Special Features:
* Elf 2-Disc DVD With Fun Special Features - Elf Karaoke, Behind The Scenes And More!
* 5x7 Magnetic Elf Picture Frame With 4x6 Magnet
* 15 Elf Gift Tags
* 5-Track Elf Soundtrack Sampler Featuring Holiday Classics
* 14" Plush Elf Holiday Stocking
* All Packed In A Collectible Tin Box!

Other Info:
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Standard 1.33:1 Color
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
Spanish: Dolby Digital Stereo
Run Time: 95 min
Rating: PG

Synopsis from DVD Cover:
Once upon a Christmas Eve, an orphan baby crawled into Santa's bag of gifts and was taken to the North Pole. Raised by Papa Elf (Bob Newhart), Buddy (Will Ferrell) comes to realize he doesn't fit in with the other elves. Determined to find a place where he belongs, Buddy searches for his real dad - in New York City! In the Big Apple, Buddy finds out why his dad (James Caan) is on the Naughty list! But most importantly, he sees that the world is seriously lacking in Christmas spirit. Which causes Santa all kinds of problems! So with the help of a beautiful department store elf (Zooey Deschanel), Buddy tries to teach his dad and the world the true meaning of Christmas spirit and to prove to everyone that Santa (Ed Asner) really exists!

Quick Review:
Holiday movies often fall into one of two categories: painfully unfunny or treacly. "Elf" is a happy exception, a legitimately funny and heartwarming film with a core of charming innocence. This was one of Will Ferrell's first starring roles after leaving "Saturday Night Live," and no one was really sure how his schtick would play out, but he wisely teamed with director Jon Favreau (who went on to direct "Iron Man") to create this kid-and-grownup-friendly tale of a human man who grows up with elves, then journeys to the big city to find his father, an adorably crotchety James Caan. The fish-out-of-water scenario unfolds, as Buddy finds himself among regular people, to whom his skill at all things Christmas (tree decorating, paper-chain-cutting and the like) is nearly a superpower. Buddy's delight at everything he sees and experiences is played just right by Ferrell so as to be sweet without being annoying.

Ferrell brings absolutely commitment to Buddy the Elf's naivete and commitment to all things happy, sparkly and sugary. Without it, the film wouldn't work. My one disenchantment with the film is that I'm not such a fan of Zooey Deschanel's performance as Buddy's sardonic love interest. Mary Steenburgen is criminally underutilized as Buddy's father's good-hearted wife, and the reclusive Bob Newhart makes a rare film appearance in a delightfully dry turn as an elf and Buddy's adoptive father. Another memorable supporting turn is put in by Ed Asner as Santa Claus.

The I-do-believe-in-fairies ending could fall flat, but is played with a refreshing minimum of schmaltz and therefore works. It's really the sort of film Frank Capra might make if he were working today. Even without all that, the entire movie is worth it for Peter Dinklage's single scene as a mercenary kids' book author who is mistaken for an elf by Buddy. A must-have for any family's holiday video library.

Studio double dipping (and triple dipping, and quadruple) is nothing new, but it seems as though they're getting more and more shameless about it. This new edition of "Elf" comes in a collector's tin with some trinkets tossed in (a stocking, a magnet) but it's no different than the existing Blu-Ray. The one additional item that comes with this edition that might be worth it is the soundtrack CD. Other than that, it's the same film edition we've seen before with the same extras. It does have two audio commentaries, one each with Favreau and Farrell, which are both good and worth a listen. There are deleted scenes and a surprisingly lengthy Making Of featurette. One thing the "Elf" Blu-Ray does have in spades is some fun interactive games that actually do eat up some kid attention span, if that's what you're looking for. The Elf Karaoke and read-along storybook are imaginative features as well. The Blu-Ray edition was pretty rich with extras. Just like it was when it was released the first time. I'm not sure this edition adds much value except a giant box, and perhaps the soundtrack.

In Conclusion:
If you've never owned this movie before, springing for the Ultimate Collector's Edition really isn't worth the money unless you're really jonesing for the soundtrack or a souvenir Christmas stocking and a tin box that'll take up way too much room on your DVD shelf. Otherwise, get one the existing Blu-Ray, which has the same extras. If you already own the film, there isn't much inducement here to trade up.

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