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Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas (Blu-ray Review)

Elf-Buddy's-Musical-ChristmasJust in time for the holidays, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings home Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas, an uplifting story about family, friendship, and the magic of the holiday season. This stop-motion animated holiday musical movie combines the humor and spirit of the beloved holiday film Elf with songs from the Broadway hit Elf: The Musical to create an all-new retelling of Buddy’s delightfully absurd yet heartwarming story.  It will be available on DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack for the first time ever on October 20, 2015. Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas contains 44 minutes of non-stop holiday cheer and includes a behind the scenes episode, “Elf’in All The Way.” Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas.  Featuring a voice cast that includes Jim Parsons, Mark Hamill, Kate Micucci and Ed Asner, Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas first premiered on December 16, 2014, on NBC.

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Film 

Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas tells the story of Buddy the elf, and his quest to reunite with the human father he never knew existed. While Buddy’s sincerity and idealism are commonplace at the North Pole, these attributes are rejected in cynical New York City. But through song, dance, and relentless good cheer, Buddy rekindles the spirit of Christmas for the entire city.

Well, this new animated Elf features is…ELF for sure.  This is pretty much a more kiddy’d up and streamlined version of the Jon Favreau film that starred Will Ferrell.  It also retains Ed Asner as Santa Claus who maybe didn’t realize he was doing the same thing again.  In this version of the film we trade Will Ferrell for Jim Parsons (Barf), Zooey Deschanel for Kate Micucci (Cool) and James Caan for Mark Hamill (Nice).  Everything is just more colorful and silly this time around.

The best thing about this whole ordeal is its animation.  They’ve gone all retro on us here, harkening back to the days of Yukon Cornelius and Jack Frost.  Its a sweet little stop-motion holiday animation from TV special yesteryear.  I’m a sucker for this stuff, so I was enjoying myself enough in that regard.  This is very pleasing to the eyes and keeps the attention of a small child.  Its harmless fun.

While, yeah, I still recommend the live action Elf over this, it isn’t bad.  There are fun songs and moments where this one goes its own route.  It takes the story the film had and makes it into some sort of old-timey humbled classic, which is very fun.  I like the ideas that kids of today’s generation can still get their own newer animated classics to have as a tradition every holiday season in addition to discovering and carrying on the traditions of the past ones.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  This is a cute little throwback to the hey day of stop motion animation holiday specials.  However, here’s a new one and it looks mint.  Detail on all the felt and texture of felt and all materials used in creating these is amazing.  You can just imagine how a drag of your fingers on one might feel.  

Depth:  Plenty of good spacing here between figures and their environments with smooth stop-motion-esque movements.

Black Levels:  Blacks are accurate and detail still comes through quite well on anything with the color.  Some good shadow too.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are  well represented in this sweet little palette.  Greens and blues come across with a great presence.  The filters used on each scene shine through as plenty gorgeous as well.

Flesh Tones:  N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, French

Dynamics:  The 5.1 track here is a pretty one.  This film’s score is seemingly a silent MVP here as it wonderfully weaves in and out and sounds plenty beautiful in the mix.  All the sounds of foley, music and vocals are balanced extremely well, making this a nice open and free sounding experience.

Low Frequency Extension:  Bass on the music is made sweet love to here by your subwoofer.  Action scuffles, doors shutting and other common sounds get a bump too.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Action and placement of sound is expertly placed in this mix.  Rear channels get in on the action too as there are some unique sounds like door knocking that help make this a 360 experience.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud, crisp and clear.  Every breath our sound from a mouth is captured her during song numbers or conversation.

Extras 

Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas comes with a DVD Copy and an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

Elf-in’ All The Way: Inside Buddy’s Recording Sessions (HD, 5:20) – Some of the voice actors (Mark Hamill, Jim Parsons, Ed Asner) and the director discuss the recording process.  Features some behind-the-scenes footage of the recording sessions.

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Summary 

So yeah, this one is pretty much the movie again but…more for kids?  Its harmless fun.  The throwback stop-motion animation is a real treat to endure.  Picture and sound quality for this release are of the top shelf variety.  There’s even a little bonus feature thrown on here for good measure.  I’m all for having some new holiday specials like this to become tradition in addition to the old classics.  You gotta have something for the newer generations to relate to after all.  Its fun enough.

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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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