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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Book Review: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Please sir can I have some more?

1402754256So I have always wanted to read a classic Christmas story around this time of year and since the many Oliver Twist films always air near the end of December the original novel seemed to be the perfect choice but honestly after reading it I don’t think this is a Christmas story at all or at least I don’t recall the book ever referring to Christmas so it makes we wonder why so many people associate it with the holiday but unfortunately I read the entire thing so……. Merry Christmas?

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This beautiful man is none other than Charles Dickens the world beloved author of such classics as A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations and well Oliver Twist

yhobpdnesiupuajk5pjrOliver Twist was released in 1838 and it follows the adventures of a young Orphan called Oliver who is sent to a private juvenile home after his mother dies in child birth, any one who has seen one of the many films based on the novel knows that Oliver is met with a lot of bad luck throughout his adventure and a lot of this bad luck causes him to seem like a bad kid which results in him being sent to live with many different characters throughout the book since each one of his new masters eventually dumps him on someone else but none of these people are as manipulative and genuinely cruel as the homeless man Fagin who has taken on homeless children to steal goods for him to sell for profit, one of these children is none other than the Artful Dodger who is fan favorite character of the many renditions of the classic tale, the book does have some very graphic scenes, one scene where the character Sikes Murders his prostitute girlfriend Nancy is very grizzly and I have been told that it is one of the most terrifying scenes that Charles Dickens ever wrote.

To be honest apart from two characters Oliver and an old man he gets caught stealing from, I didn’t care for any of the other characters in the book, now just because these two are some of the only nice people in the story that is not the reason why I didn’t care for the others, every one else I found to be boring and not very interesting which is a shame because I love a good villain and I just couldn’t bring myself to love any of the sadistic or more horrible characters in the book and before anyone goes nuts in the comments I am aware that a lot of people love Fagin and Sikes and I do like them in the made for TV movies I just found that they work better on TV than they do on paper but that is only my opinion so take it with a pinch of salt and please take this next opinion with that in mind, I dont like this book very much, I was really bored throughout my entire reading and honestly I think it might have been Charles Dickens writing style that didn’t work for me but I wont really know that until I read another one of his books so until then, Merry Christmas and I hope that you have an amazing day, remember to think of those less fortunate than yourselves when you are opening all of your presents and eating your home made Christmas Dinners because just like Oliver there are children out in their in world who have nothing to live for and would give anything to have just a bed to sleep on and someone to love them so this year lets make a toast to all of those amazing people who are making the most out of their lives even though they they have suffered such hard times.

Thanks for reading this review of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

By the way my two favorite versions of this story are Oliver and Company and the 1968 musical Oliver so if you get the chance this year I highly recommend you check them out also in Oliver in Company instead of an orphan its a kitten which is just adorable and its Disney so you know its gonna be good

Happy Holidays from Raggle Fraggle

Walt Disney’s Mickeys Once Upon a Christmas (1999) Review

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Mickeys Once Upon a Christmas was a massive deal when it came out in 1999 and I fondly remember my mother fighting her way through our local Tesco’s (Our version of Target for you Americans) to get it for me so we could watch it together on Christmas Eve that very year.

By the way this is not the Christmas Carol with Disney Characters, that movie came out in 1983, this is an anthology of three Disney cartoons which all share a similar Christmas theme and have slightly altered morals for the kids to learn from

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The first cartoon titled Donald Duck stuck on Christmas is a holiday classic. Huey, Dewey and Louie wake up on Christmas morning and act like little dirt bags throughout the day, they open their presents before the family arrive, they go outside on their new sleds without reading the card from Uncle Donald and Aunt Daisy and when the family sings Christmas carols they play with their toys instead, later on that night the boys wish upon a star that it could be Christmas every day, their wish is granted and a massive time loop begins where they are repeating the same Christmas over and over again until they eventually learn to stop being so selfish.

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A Very Goofy Christmas is the next cartoon to be shown and whats particularly cool about this one is that its actually a cartoon which takes place in the Goof Troop universe but the catch is that Goofy’s son Max is still a young child here so its actually a prequel to Goof Troops first episode, in the cartoon Goofy and Max are having relationship problems after their neighbor Pete tells Max that Santa doesn’t exist and its up to Goofy to prove to his Son that Santa is real, but Max is so torn up about what Pete told him that he manages to convince Goofy that Santa being real is an impossibility which leads Goofy down a path of pretty major depression and its up to Max to cheer his Dad up, about mid way through the cartoon Goofy makes Christmas dinner for a poor family who could never afford to do it themselves so this segment actually has two messages the first is to always respect and be charitable to those less fortunate than yourself and the other is to quite simply not be a complete arse by telling an eight year old that Santa doesn’t exist, honestly I don’t why Goofy didn’t just pelt Pete in the nose.

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The final segment Mickey and Minnie’s Gift of the Magi is based on the classic short story by William Sydney Porter where a couple go to extreme lengths to get Christmas gifts for each other and both of them even go as far as selling their prized possessions just so they can afford the perfect gift, this cartoon follows that same idea and also has a very similar ending, this may sound like the most boring cartoon out of the three of them but to be honest its probably the best one, its short, simple and it has the most Christmas themed message of them all which is that the greatest gift you can give on Christmas is yourself and you can give that by simply spending time with your family and loved ones.

So is Mickeys Once Upon a Christmas the greatest Christmas movie to be based on classic Disney characters? no its not even close but its still pretty good,  I can’t consider any of the cartoons to be bad but at the same time apart from the last one the first two are not great but they are still entertaining and with voice talents such as Jim Cummings and Bill Farmer involved its definitely worth a watch, even Kelsey Grammer is in this movie voicing the narrator and that in itself makes it worth your time to sit by the fireplace and watch these silly but wonderful Disney cartoons.

Thanks for reading

you can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Are Christmas movies worth owning?

Yes I went there 😉

Home Alone

I love Christmas movies and I love December because it’s the one month of the year that is appropriate for me sit down and watch some of my favourite Christmas Classics such as Elf, Its a wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, a Christmas Story and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, but as much as I love all of these movies I always have to ask my self, are they worth owning if they are going to collect dust for 11 months of the year for a few days use during December?

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Of course for some people this wont be the case, I personally remember watching Christmas movies all year round when I was a child and I even know some adults who will also watch Christmas movies through out the year, but the number of people I know who do this is very small as most of my friends and family save their favourite Christmas classics for just December alone.

You may be thinking if only a few people watch Christmas movies all year then why do a lot of people watch Horror movies all year round instead of saving them for October?

Well maybe because even though Horror movies are scary, the majority of them are not Halloween themed and don’t even take place in October so technically this does not make them Halloween movies minus a select few, so society wont judge them for watching Saw in July but they may judge them for watching John Carpenters Halloween in April.

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So is it worth owning Christmas Movies?

To be completely honest I don’t know and I cant provide an answer, but when I look at my movie collection I always find Christmas movies and the fact that I own them makes me think that maybe they are worth owning even if I will only watch them once a year.

I believe that one of the biggest reasons why people love Christmas movies is because we don’t get to see them that often, but maybe that’s what helps make them that little bit more special.

I hope you enjoyed this blog

Do you think its worth owning Christmas movies? comment below.

Merry Christmas

From Padawan