Movie Games: ELF (2003)

Welcome the second edition of Movie Games a series where we look at a film and then its video game counterparts to not only discuss a games quality but how accurate of an adaptation it is.

In this Christmas episode I will be deep diving into the the 2003 comedy film ELF starring Will Ferrell, this movie only had one videogame adaptation releasing on the Nintendo Gameboy Advance the same year as the film.

First a Recap of the movie and I wont be shy on spoilers so be wary!

On Christmas Eve a baby from an orphanage crawls into Santa’s Sack and is taken to the North Pole, an older Elf agrees to raise the baby and 30 years later the now adult and much taller Buddy is struggling to fit in with the elves, he finds out he is a human and decides to travel to New York City to find his real father Walter Hobbs.

Buddy passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.

Upon arrival in New York Buddy is searching everywhere for his Father, causing havoc along the way, eating discarded gum, running around evolving doors and jumping across zebra crossings.

He finds his father in the Empire state building but is soon thrown out after Security is called by Walter Hobbs himself, the security sarcastically suggests Buddy goes back to Gimbels.

Taking the request literally Buddy goes into the department store and is mistaken for an employee of Santa’s Village here he meets the friendly but unenthusiastic Jovie, Buddy is so excited for Santa coming to visit the store that he stays behind over night to decorate the store. The next morning Santa comes to the store but its an imposter, Buddy rips off his beard and a fight ensues, Buddy is arrested but bailed out by Walter Hobbs who takes him to a doctor for a DNA test which proves a positive match!

Walter reluctantly takes his Son home to meet his wife Emily and his other son Michael, Walter doesn’t warm up to Buddy as quickly as Emily does and wants to throw him out onto the streets but Emily insists that Buddy stays with them until he recovers from his fantasies.

Buddy soon becomes a friend of Michael after he defeats his school bullies in an epic snowball fight, the two mess around the Gimbles department store and bump into Jovie, Michael encourages Buddy to ask her out and she says yes, after the date goes really well Buddy runs to his dads works to tell him that he is in love not knowing that world renowned author Miles Finch is there.

Finch who is short in stature is mistaken for an Elf by Buddy and his extremely offended walking out on his deal with Walter, Walter in a rage tells buddy to stay out of his life, buddy leaves and writes a goodbye letter to his family, while making his way back through New York City he spots Santa’s Sleigh crashed at Central Park, the Sleigh runs on Christmas Spirit but it had finally ran out and Santa asks Buddy to help him get it back.

Meanwhile Walter is now in another meeting with the CEO of the company after he finds Miles Finches notebook which is full of ideas, Michael bursts in and emotionally convinces Walter to choose family over work losing his job in the process, Walter and Michael find buddy in Central Park, the two makeup and help Buddy with his mission, Walter dresses as Santa to try and divert the Park Rangers while Michael takes Santa’s list and reads it on live TV convincing viewers of Santa’s existence.

Jovie remembers when Buddy told her “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear” and begins singing Santa Claus is coming to town, the New Yorkers all join in and even Walter gets in on the action finally giving the sleigh enough power to fly again. In the finale we see Buddy spending Christmas with his family and the following year visiting his Papa Elf in the North Pole along with his Wife Jovie and their baby Susie, a truly happy ending.

The GBA videogame is a 2D platformer and for the most part it controls fine but the game is really bare bones when it comes to its gameplay, this is as generic as 2D platformers can get.

I will give some props to the game for adding various goals into some stages such as collecting all of Christmas Lights and the letters to spell NEWYORK.

Other stages are designed as either top down platformers or minigames, the worst of these stages is easily jumping across the Icebergs, this stage had really bad issues with landing, in most cases you would hit the water when you had definitely landed on the iceberg but because it wasn’t centred the game took that as a miss, the stage is very long and at some points the platforms you need land on are moving which makes it even worse.

Jumping is very floaty in the game in all platforming levels, the iceberg was definitely the worst offender but some other simple platforming such as jumping over the polar bears also proved to be needlessly difficult at times.

The minigame stages are all fine but very generic and extremely easy, examples of what to expect are the usual repeat the button presses, link up the pipes and hit the targets, minigame staples that we see in almost any game.

I’m not going to criticise the game on being generic as that’s almost expected from this, what I will criticise however is how lazy this adaptation actually is they use screenshots from the movie with no dialogue text to give players any idea on what is going on and to top this off the levels are not even accurate to movie.

Small errors such as the snowball fight including elves instead of school bullies,a lack of Walter Hobbs and his family (minus one screenshot at the end of the game) levels with plots including collecting Christmas lights, helping Santa deliver presents and a very small number of movie screenshots which no context make me wonder if this was released either before the movie or developed by a team who had no idea of the plot, needless to say its a pretty lame game and an even worse movie adaptation.

The soundtrack is awful we are only given some very simple audio loops or really bad chiptunes of Christmas songs just another another way to rush development and give the game even less originality.

This Christmas watch the movie but do yourself a favour and skip the GBA game!

2.7/10

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Thank You for all of your support.

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The Origins of the Looney Tunes

Welcome the first official Looney Tunes month over the next few weeks I will be discussing the origins of Looney Tunes, the first three Looney Tunes Movies and three Looney Tunes videos games.

I will admit that is only scratching the surface of Looney Tunes media but in the future I might do more parts depending on how popular this one is, so with out further ado lets get into some of this rather complicated history.

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It all stared with Rudy Ising and Hugh Harman ex animators for Walt Disney in the 1920’s, when Disney’s animation studio moved to California Ising and Harman stayed behind in Kansas City where they attempted to start their own animation studio.

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Unfortunately this plan failed leaving them to work for Walt again on his Alice comedies and their biggest star at the time Oscar the Lucky Rabbit.

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Not long after this Disney’s Producer Charles Mintz (Pictured on the Right) left the studio and took Oscar the Lucky Rabbit With him, along with Ising and Harman who did a lot of work on the previous Oscar shorts, a few very successful shorts came from this decision but ultimately it all went down hill when Universal Pictures who owned the rights to Oscar the Lucky Rabbit started their own animation studio replacing Charles Mintz and leaving Ising and Harman unemployed.

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Ising and Harman in desperation to continue their dream of animating funded a live action- animation hybrid short about a black character named Bosco, this short paid off and got the animators working with Warner Bros.

Eventually Bosco starred in many of his own shorts under the name of Looney Tunes and as well as this the animators also made other various shorts with Warner Bros under the name of Merrie Melodies a name that was a parody of Disney’s popular shorts Silly Symphonies.

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After a disagreement on their contract Ising and Harman left Warner Bros and kept the rights to Bocso.

After losing Bosco Warner Bros made a new character to star in the Looney Tunes named Buddy.

Buddy was not as popular as Bosco was so Warner Bros hired new directors to help increase popularity in the Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes  shorts.

Tex Avery, Friz Freleng and Bob Clampett where chosen and together they helped to make some very memorable shorts including what I consider to be one of the most important animated shorts of all time “I haven’t got a hat” this short introduced us to Beans the Cat and other animal friends including the first ever appearance of Porky Pig.

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Beans the Cat, Porky Pig and the other animal friends went on to star in their own shorts and while these were all very good, Porky Pig remained a fan favourite and the others were very soon forgotten about.

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In 1936 Mel Blanc was hired to voice some new Looney Tunes Characters that became popular between 1936 and 1944, these included Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck as well as others that became popular and beloved over the years. As the years went by more characters were added to the Looney Tunes family such as Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Pie, Wile Coyote, Road Runner and others.

These characters boosted the Looney Tunes to immense popularity making them a serious rival to Disney at the time, four of their shorts are now included in the national film registry which means that they will always be preserved and protected, these films are Porky in Wacky Land, Duck Amuck, One Froggy Evening and my personal favourite Looney Tunes short What’s Opera Doc.

While these characters kept up their popularity and went on to win many academy awards this is the brief history of how they originated and in the future I might discuss the more unique variations of Looney Tunes that came decades later but for now I will leave you some YouTube links to Looney Tunes compilations to check out and I will see you for the next part of Looney Tunes month where I will be tackling one of their many video games.

I hope you enjoyed this look into the origins of the Looney Tunes

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

Thank You for all of your support.

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

ELF (2003) Review

“I’m a cotton headed ninny muggins”

elf-movie-posterBuddy played by funny man Will Ferrell is a human that was accidentally raised by elves after he climbed into Santa’s sack when he was a baby, Buddy stays with the elves until he is an adult which is when he starts to realize that he is a human.

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After pondering the idea of leaving the North Pole, Buddy eventually decides to go on a search for his real Dad (James Caan) in a magical land called New York City, of course his father thinks that Buddy is an absolute nut case and refuses to accept that he really is his son but after a positive DNA match Walter Hobbs doesn’t have much choice and tries to accept the reality of his long lost son who has come to visit him.

ELF is brilliant and that’s not just because its funny and has a perfect cast but its more to do with that fact that it should have sucked, we have seen the cliche of someone/something not from our world trying to fit in with our world far too often and far too often it has failed miserably

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ELF is hilarious it has brilliant writing, the jokes are extremely funny and very well paced, Will Ferrell makes this film and honestly if he wasn’t in it, it wouldn’t be the same.

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Fun Fact did you know that this was the film that helped Will Ferrell start is acting career? it’s hard to believe that a Christmas movie could be so good that it could help make someone extremely famous.

ELF is a fantastic,funny and wonderful Christmas movie for all the family, all of the actors and actresses are absolutely perfect for the film, of course none of them can top Will Ferrell but James Caan comes pretty close with his role as the asshole dad.

Watch ELF its even better than spaghetti with syrup.

Thanks for reading my Review of ELF

The next Christmas movie I will review is

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You can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com