tek's rating: meh and three quarters

Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas, on NBC
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This stop-motion animated special first aired in 2014. It's based on a Broadway musical which itself is based on the live-action movie Elf. The main character, Buddy, is voiced by Jim Parsons. Other voices in the special are provided by Ed Asner (Santa Claus), Kate Micucci (Jovie), Mark Hamill (Walter Hobbs), and other familiar people. I was never really a fan of the movie, but I wanted to check out the special, anyway. And I didn't really like it much, though it wasn't terrible. I thought everyone involved did a good job with the acting and whatnot, but I still can't help but find it all kind of annoying.

Anyway, it's basically the same story as the movie, with a few minor changes that aren't even worth mentioning. There's a human named Buddy who was raised by Santa's elves, and when he grows up, he learns that he's not actually an elf, himself. So he goes to New York City to find his real father, Walter Hobbs. Ironically enough, Walter has long since lost his own Christmas spirit, so Buddy has to change that. Walter also has a wife and a young son (Buddy's half brother), both of whom wish Walter would spend more time with them instead of spending all his time at work. When he first meets Buddy, Walter thinks he's crazy, and doubts that he's his son. But eventually he accepts Buddy and the family gets closer together. Also Buddy meets a girl named Jovie, who was dressed as an elf for some seasonal job, and I guess they fall in love, though that part of the story seems even less believable to me than... well, everything else. But there's a happy ending for everyone. And there were a bunch of songs that were sort of okay, as long as I never have to hear them again. And I guess some bits of the story were mildly amusing or whatever. But this is definitely the one and only time I'm ever going to watch this special.

So... the movie's a lot better than the special, which is definitely saying something, considering I barely liked the movie. Although... I'm actually a bit torn on a certain point. Because this is animated, Buddy is able to be way more spastic than he is in the movie. On the other hand, it might be a bit less annoying for an animated character to act so cartoonish than seeing an actual human actor behaving the way he does in the movie. I mean, in the movie it's clear that Buddy is human, but the way he looks in this movie... he really could be just a tall elf. I really don't think he looked much like any of the other human characters in the special. Still, I guess all that balances out, so I'm left to concentrate on the actual story... which was definitely handled better in the movie. As wacky as it was, at least it's not as wacky as the special. (Not that I have anything against wacky, necessarily... I just think it's sometimes done much better in other stories than it is in either version of "Elf.")


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