Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas (2014)

elf buddys musical christmas poster review
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Always like claymation specials

Feels like you should just watch Elf

Special Info

Special Name:   Elf:  Buddy’s Musical Christmas

Studio:   New Line Television

Genre(s):   Animated/Seasonal/Comedy

Release Date(s):   December 16, 2014

MPAA Rating:   Not Rated

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The world is alive…with the sound of Buddy!

Buddy the Elf’s world has just been rocked because Buddy has just learned that he’s not an elf.  In addition to learning he isn’t an elf, Buddy discovers that his father lives in New York City and is on Santa’s Naughty List…something that Buddy just cannot have.  Travelling to NYC, Buddy is set out to save his father and restore the Christmas spirit by doing whatever it takes!

Directed by Mark Caballero and Seamus Walsh, Elf:  Buddy’s Musical Christmas is a retelling of 2003’s Elf combined with aspects of the 2010 stage adaptation Elf:  The Musical.  The stop-motion animated special premiered on NBC on December 16, 2014 and has frequently been aired since.

Elf was surprisingly a fun movie.  It was also a movie that was played into the grounds upon its release.  The “new Christmas classic” is now a mainstay on TV during the holiday season.  It feels a little weird to watch Elf:  Buddy’s Musical Christmas when you could just be watching Elf.

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The story is almost identical to the film with a bit more music.  The special kind of streamlines things like Buddy’s father’s boss is the short one and not a potential writer and there is no Papa Elf (Santa Claus does the narration in this version).  The movie loads a lot of the story into songs which sometimes work and sometimes are rather flat.

The cast is quite strong for the special.  Jim Parson is a good substitute for Will Ferrell as Buddy and Mark Hamill provides the voice of his father Walter.  Kate Micucci who also did a stint on The Big Bang Theory provides the voice of Jovie.  Fred Armisen provides the voice of Matthews and NBC regulars Jay Leno and Matt Lauer provide voices in the special.  Gilbert Gottfried gives his scratchy voice to Mr. Greenway and Ed Asner reprises his role of Santa Claus.

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How bad do you want off this list???

I love claymation.  The specials of Rankin/Bass shaped my childhood so any stop-motion animated special always get a bit of a pass just because of their style and look.  The animation for Elf is pretty good (I even liked the animated sequence of the original Elf), and it makes it worth watching just in that aspect.

I would understand Elf:  Buddy’s Musical Christmas more if Elf had been a book that was adapted for the screen.  This special would just be a different telling of the story and a finessing of plot points (which the special does do).  Elf however was a movie and a rather recent movie that has aged well, so it feels odd to have a boiled down remake already.  While Elf:  Buddy’s Musical Christmas isn’t bad, I’d just stick to the original…but Buddy would be happy with both.

Related Links:

Elf (2003)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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