Elf: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #43

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

As it’s Christmas very soon, I decided to review one of the most festive movies around. Usually, when you say Christmas movies, the first films that pop into people’s minds are Die Hard (review here), Home Alone and Elf. Seeing as I reviewed Die Hard last week, Elf was next in line to be reviewed.

Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man and next year’s The Lion King), Elf tells the story of Buddy, a human who is accidentally taken to the North Pole as a baby and raised as an elf. When Buddy grows up, it is revealed to him that he is actually a human. Buddy’s decides to travel to New York to meet his father, Walter Hobbs, who is a grinch. What follows is a sweet and hilarious story about family and Christmas.

Will Ferrell plays Buddy the Elf and one of Ferrell’s most notorious roles to date. He brings a sweet charm and enthusiasm combined with a childlike naivety to Buddy’s character that makes him lovable and a hilarious character. It does reach a point of Buddy being a bit of a nuisance in places, but nonetheless, Buddy is a great character who is brilliantly played by Will Ferrell. Walter Hobbs, Buddy’s grinchy father, is played wonderfully by James Caan. Though Walter Hobbs was the main antagonist in Elf, the way that Caan played Hobbs was done well and his acting ability was put to good use in the film. Of course, there was a love interest in this film, and it was Jovie, a shop assistant at Gimbels, who was played by Zooey Deschanel. Jovie was a good character and all, but I felt she was just put in to lengthen the run-time and create a few more comedic moments in the film. Elf also featured Peter Dinklage, who played Miles Finch. Honestly, I’ve seen Elf about 10 times and can’t remember who he has. All I can remember is Buddy chasing him and mistaking him for an elf. Dinklage did a great job playing Miles Finch, but he was just a forgettable character.

The music was classic Christmas stuff (Let it Snow, Rocking Around the Christmas tree, Sleigh ride and so forth) which was well suited to the film. I liked the song choices throughout the film as it made the movie more enjoyable to watch. There’s nothing to criticise here.

ELF, Will Ferrell and Artie Lange, 2003 (screen grab)CR: New Line Cinema

Buddy discovers​ that the Gimbel’s Santa is not the real Santa.

Elf’s storyline is one that is quite smart and straightforward, a human who is raised as an elf is sent to reconnect with his human family but his dad is a grinch. The human tries to convince his dad to enjoy Christmas time and hijinks occur. It’s where additional parts are thrown into the film that it starts to deteriorate. You have so many subplots squeezed in to get more laughs out of the audience, and it worked in some places but flopped in others. It’s evident that Will Ferrell really enjoyed making this film and he really put everything into making this a great film, but I felt that too much was packed into what was an already good film. The comedy was well done by Ferrell, and it’s clear that he’s mastered the art of making people laugh. It was mainly the additional subplots that ruined the film.

Overall, Elf gets a 7.2/10 from me. It was a good movie that featured great comedy from Will Ferrell but threw too much into the film to make it longer. Admittedly, Elf is not Jon Favreau’s greatest work but nonetheless is a good film. To get you in the festive feeling, Elf is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, follow my blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. I hope you all have a merry Christmas and join me next week for a yearly look at the best movies and TV shows we were treated to in 2018. See you then!

Die Hard: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #42

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

There are some age-old questions in life. Is there a God? Do aliens exist? What is the meaning of life? Then in 1988, John McTiernan created another that would divide humanity; is ‘Die Hard’ a Christmas movie? Seeing as we are in the festive season, I decided to answer this question and review Die Hard.

Directed by John McTiernan and starring Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman is the notorious movie, Die Hard. New York cop John McClane travels to Los Angeles to reconcile with his wife at the Christmas party, held at the Nakatomi Plaza. The party is disrupted by German terrorist Hans Gruber and his crew who are holding the guest’s hostage. It’s now down to McClane to save the hostages and defeat Hans Gruber.

John McClane was played by Bruce Willis and, though I’m not the biggest Bruce Willis fan, he was awesome in Die Hard. His character was witty and fun and smart and Willis immersed himself in this role so much so that John McClane is one of the most notorious characters in cinema history. Similarly, Hans Gruber is one of cinema’s greatest villains who was brilliantly played by Alan Rickman brilliantly. Despite the odd “German” accent, Rickman was the perfect choice for Hans Gruber. Rickman demonstrates his phenomenal acting ability in Die Hard and makes the film so much more enjoyable. Holly Gennaro, John’s wife, was played by Bonnie Bedelia and I liked her character. I felt that there could have been a bit more from her but generally, her role in the film was good. Sergeant Al Powell, played by Reginald VelJohnson and he did a great job of playing the character, and the amount of screen time he had was perfect. There was also Harry Ellis, played by Hart Bochner, who is killed by Gruber. Though he was an unlikeable character, Bochner’s acting was commendable and he did a good job playing Ellis. Along with Hans Gruber, my other favourite character in Die Hard was Argyle, played fantastically by De’voreaux White. He was funny and an interesting character that made the film more enjoyable. One of Hans’ crew was Karl, a tough German hitman, played by Alexander Godunov. Godunov was amazing in this role and really made the film more fun to watch.

die-hard-walkie-talkie-21

Hans Gruber talks to John McClane over walkie-talkie .

The plot is pretty straightforward, but once the action is added into the film, you have more of a movie. The action was beautifully executed, and there were so many awesome scenes that were amazing to watch in the film. Admittedly, my favourite stunt scene was when James and Alexander were killed by McClane with the C4 attached to the office chair. It was a smart idea that was great fun to watch.

Die Hard has become one of those iconic movies like The Shining, where it gets spoofed and imitated regularly by other movies and TV shows. It’s because McTiernan took the film to new heights (both figuratively and literally) and brought something both entertaining and awesome to movie screens everywhere in 1988. As the film’s tagline says, it’s 40 stories of sheer adventure, and the film delivered on this. It’s also because of the incredible acting from Willis and Rickman, combined with great dialogue from the novel’s writer, Roderick Thorp, and screenplay writers, Jeb Stuart and Steven de Souza, that makes the film more epic and memorable. As mentioned earlier, John McClane and Hans Gruber are some of the most notable names in cinema, and this is because of how brilliant Die Hard was. It’s no wonder that the film was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry, as it is a defining and iconic movie that will stand the test of time and be lived for generations to come.

To answer the age-old question, of course Die Hard is a Christmas movie! It’s set at Christmas, has Christmas music, and basically is an adult’s version of Home Alone. Why shouldn’t it be? Despite Bruce Willis claiming that it isn’t, Die Hard is loved by many and enjoyed over the festive period.

Overall, Die Hard was a fantastic film that I loved watching. I give it an 7.9/10.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, follow my blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow @Ryans.Movie.Reviews on Instagram to have your say on what Christmas film I review for next week. See you then!