Elf (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

This holiday season, Warner Bros Home Entertainment is upgrading four of their most treasured Christmas classics to the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format. All of them coming with digital copy codes and the previous extras. The lineup includes National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, The Polar Express and Elf. Each of them was released on November 1st. You can order them by using the paid Amazon Associates links that follow at the bottom of their respective reviews. This particular review is covering a comedy classic coming from this end of the millennium, Elf.




This hilarious Christmas film tells the tale of a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts on Christmas Eve and is transported back to the North Pole and raised as an elf. Years later Buddy learns he is not really an elf and goes on a journey to New York City to find his true identity.

It certainly feels like the instant it was released that Elf was a Christmas classic that was never going away. The movie was well received and well loved right away. It also came at during the peak of the DVD collecting era and most people scooped it right up. Will Ferrell was also amid his big breakout and people couldn’t get enough of him. Funny enough, this is a turn for director Favreau that leads to Zathura and then to Iron Man with more all ages affair being his lean after Made.

Elf takes the hallmarks of the Santa Claus mythos as seen by children and spins them in some more real world, meta ways that both can delight an adult and charm or extend said mythos with a child. Toss in a Will Ferrell’s antics amid a fish out of water tale and its a pretty simple road to success if everyone shows up aces. And that’s really what you have here. Supporting Ferrell is important and the likes of James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Bob Newhart and Zooey Deschanel do an excellent work of reacting and never trying to be more than what they need to be, despite the likely temptation of Ferrell’s presence.

Jon Favreau’s more modern (Its been almost 20 years, so maybe not) addition to holiday rotational movies is one very worthy of it. Its one to break up some of the regularity that comes between these, but keeps intact a genuine sentimental touch. In a film that could act above it, its nice to see them giving and embracing some cheesiness. Elf is a nice wild card to the Santa Claus films, but admittedly, its one of the more creative and best of the bunch.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review from the standard Blu-ray included with this release, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Elf debuts on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with a beautiful holiday transfer that’ll knock the previous Blu-ray out of the park. That old one was VC-1 encoded, so it was pretty dated. This one has a lot more texture, clarity and finer details present. The color saturation, depth and black levels also make some nice jumps here in what is the best Elf has looked. There is a look on this image that you can imagine what things feel like if you touched them with ease.

Depth:  Depth of field is pretty strong. This showcases some good pushback in interiors and some scale both inside and outside. Movements are smooth and natural with no issues regarding motion distortion.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural. They showcase a lot of good texture, pattern and detail even in the darkest corners of the frame. There’s good saturation and no crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are well saturated and have a very pretty look to them while also having a great deal of restraint and not bursting or bleeding off the screen. There’s a lot of shades/tints showcased and their appearance almost helps things look good to the touch. HDR helps out with lights, fire, displays and more.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are clear as day and impress from any given distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Elf has moved from its Blu-ray 5.1 of Dolby TrueHD to the DTS-HD MA stylings for its 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray debut. And it sounds quite terrific. It has a great balance to compliment the layering and depth. Its even really impressive in some of the quieter moments with the ambiance capturing some of the regular room sounds.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer really bolsters some of the bumping, hammering, crashing and reindeer hoove clopping and swooping around the room.

Surround Sound Presentation: This track realizes the space all around. There’s a lot up front but plenty of action is captured from behind, be it unique sounds or tracking offscreen activity once it leaves the frame or shot cuts to a different angle.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are crisp and clean.


Elf comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital code. Aside from the commentaries, all bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary

  • by Jon Favreau
  • by Will Ferrell

Documentaries (HD, 1:28:24)

  • Tag Along with Will Ferrell
  • Film School for Kids
  • How They Made the North Pole
  • Lights, Camera, Puffin!
  • That’s a Wrap…
  • Kids on Christmas
  • Deck the Halls
  • Santa Mania
  • Christmas in Tinseltown

Fact Track

Focus Points

Elf Karaoke (HD, 4:37) – We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Deck The Halls, Jingle Bells

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:30)

Deleted/Alternate Scenes with optional commentary by Director Jon Favreau (HD, 11:30)


I’m not as big on Elf as so many others, but I rather do like it. The film makes its debut on the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format, with a lovely new video transfer and a different encoding for the 5.1 track. It makes for a terrific experience. No new bonus materials are included, but all the previous ones are still here. Elf was originally put on Blu-ray back in 2008, so its time for you to make this very easy little upgrade 14 years later

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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