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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Mark Caballero and Seamus Walsh
Cast:
Jim Parsons, Mark Hamill, Rachel MacFarlane, Max Charles, Kate Micucci, Gilbert Gottfried, Jay Leno, Ed Asner
Writing Credits:
David Berenbaum

Synopsis:
An elf leaves the North Pole to find his dad, who is on the naughty list.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 44 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 11/3/2015

Bonus:
• “Elfin’ All the Way: Inside Buddy’s Recording Sessions” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 29, 2015)

Although 2003’s Elf never spawned a theatrical sequel, it did generate other related properties. Elf: The Musical played Broadway, and the film also spawned an animated special, 2014’s Buddy’s Musical Christmas.

Buddy the elf (voiced by Jim Parsons) doesn’t really fit in at Santa’s workshop. Santa (Ed Asner) tells him that he’s actually human; Buddy lived at an orphanage and landed at the North Pole after baby Buddy crawled into Santa’s bag years earlier.

Armed with this new information, Buddy heads to New York to meet his biological dad, Walter Hobbs (Mark Hamill). Buddy encounters resistance but he tries his best to win over Walter – and remove his dad from a seemingly permanent spot on Santa’s “Naughty List”.

If that synopsis sounds familiar, it’s because Musical Christmas largely retells the original movie’s plot. Some variations come along the way –and obviously the TV special offers songs not present in the film – but both share an awful lot of similarities.

That comes as a disappointment. Elf already exists as a movie – why not create a TV special that gives us a new story? Given that Musical Adventure mocks attempts to rehash other successful holiday themes, it becomes bizarre and ironic that it does so little to create its own niche. Surely the world of Buddy could generate an actual brand-new tale, and that makes the choice to simply redo the original movie perplexing.

Of course, Musical Adventure adds songs, and those bring some entertainment value. I’m not a fan of musicals in general, but the tunes here offer clever lyrics and go down painlessly.

For the most part, the voice actors do nice work as well, though Parsons becomes a weak link. His Buddy sounds an awful lot like his Oh from Home, and I don’t regard that as a good thing. Parsons becomes hyperactive and annoying.

Others fare much better, though, and I like the choice to make Musical Adventure a stop-motion animation project. Many of us fondly remember the old Rankin-Bass specials, so it's a kick to see that format embraced here.

Really, Buddy’s Musical Adventure has its positives, and it remains enjoyable enough. I just think it lacks much reason to exist, and the original movie tells the same story in a more satisfying manner. This becomes a likable diversion but it would’ve been better if it told a new tale.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio B-/ Bonus D

Elf: Buddy’s Musical Adventure appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The special offered appealing visuals.

Sharpness always excelled. If any softness interfered with the image, I didn’t see it, as I thought the show provided solid clarity and delineation. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and I witnessed no edge haloes. Source flaws didn’t create any distractions.

Like most Christmas specials, Musical Adventure delivered a broad palette. The disc reproduced the hues in a lively, vivid manner. Blacks were deep and dark, while shadows seemed smooth and clear. Everything about the image satisfied.

As for the show’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it provided acceptable accompaniment. Given the special’s title, it came as no surprise that music dominated the soundscape. Songs and score broadened to the side front speakers and also made decent use of the surrounds.

Effects had less to do. Even more “action-oriented” scenes like those with Santa’s sleigh remained concentrated in the forward channels. They showed decent movement but didn't do a whole lot to open up the situations.

Audio quality pleased. Music was peppy and full, and effects came across as accurate and tight. Speech appeared natural and distinctive as well. Nothing here impressed, but the soundtrack worked fine for the material.

A featurette called Elf-in’ All the Way: Inside Buddy’s Recording Sessions runs five minutes, 20 seconds and involves comments from co-director Mark Caballero and actors Mark Hamill, Ed Asner, Jay Leno and Jim Parsons. We get a few notes about characters, cast and performances. Some of the shots from the studio are fun, but we don’t learn a lot here.

The disc opens with ads for Lego Dimensions and Lego: Justice League – Attack of the Legion of Doom. Trailers add promos for Peanuts Holiday Collection, Scooby-Doo and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery and Lego Ninjago.

A second disc brings us a DVD copy of Musical Christmas. It offers the same extras as the Blu-ray.

As a holiday special, Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas provides painless – if redundant – entertainment. The show delivers decent charm, though it lacks much reason to exist since it so heavily echoes the original movie. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals along with acceptable audio but it skimps on supplements. Musical Christmas ends up as a passable holiday diversion

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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