So browsing around Netflix Instant can get pretty lonely sometimes, but like any addict you need a daily fix and mine came in the form of Elf Bowling the Movie: The Great North Pole Elf Strike.
Like any of these straight to DVD animated films you go in with no expectations and just buy them off the shelf. I mean it's not like anything in it will be dated, right?
Where to start with this epic? And yes I said epic. Because in this film before we see Santa become Santa he is a captain of a pirate ship called The Filthy Toe. Also, his name is actually Santamaria and he has a brother by the name of Dingle Kringle who is just hanging on his coattails to mooch off him as much as possible. And the film starts in 600 A.D.
On The Filthy Toe, they love to loot and plunder for childrens toys just because the captain loves to. As for you wondering why, it shows that Santamaria is actually righting wrongs he made and send the toys off into the ocean completely oblivious to his crew why they are leaving behind a trail of toys in their path.
One day like any other, Santa does his normal duties and calls his brother to assemble his crew for their favorite sport, bowling. When bowling it's found out that Dingle is cheating by marking up scores wrong and thus begins a fight between Santa and Dingle and also his crew.
In the middle of the fight, Santa and Dingle move to the plank for no reason than it was close by and they needed to get on it for a sword fight and promptly fall off into the ocean by the crew poking swords into them as if they were Sasha Grey (You don't have to google her, just take my word, but if you do, use virus protection then triple it).
As they are in the ocean, they freeze in a block of ice and wash upon the North Pole. On the north pole, a group of elves find them and their leader Lex unfreezes them with his ball of power. As he unfreezes them, Lex notices that Santa looks like the one man on the statue they have that was prophesied long ago and was only known by white beard.
As they are unfrozen and shown around the town they see that the elves have built near ten trillion toys and play with them and then store them in mountains. Dingle wants to steal for obvious reasons and Santa wants to remain calm and try to convince them to make them a ship so they can go back for the old Filthy Toe. Dingle agrees.
God, can this be over yet?
Santa agrees to become leader but he must remember that in order for elves to be his slaves, he must let them have be happy and filled with brim and joy so they can make toys for him. Santa understands again and the elves are happy.
The next 1400 years goes incredibly smooth (The rest of the film takes place in 2000) for Santa and the elves, but Dingle is caught in a few mishaps and won't change his ways as Santa has finally come into his own as a well renowned good guy.
Come 2000, Santa finally wants to teach Dingle a lesson and make him become something more so he kicks him out of his place with he and Mrs. Claus. Dingle is unhappy by this and concocts a scheme to take over the throne.
Dingle asks the elves how much fun have they really had working for his brother and the elves second think about their past. Going along with Dingle's line of thinking, he tricks them into going to Fiji and then he brings them into his funhouse which is actually a disguise for...
Now Santa must try and stop this and get back his reign for the North Pole and save the elves.
Now we can start the review after such a plot heavy first 20 minutes. Believe it or not, though the film is extremely boring at parts and has all the lame jokes and tired cliches you come to expect, I laughed at times.
The story was funny and throwing in some adult jokes never hurts in children's movies.
Now for the bad, which was everything else and by everything else I do mean EVERYTHING ELSE.
The voice acting is voice acting and the animation is animation. Or I should say, it's nothing to ride home about or look away from the computer for a minute to think about life in a profound manner. I mean it's a children's movie, right?
Here is the problem and that's that though there are more "mature" jokes sprinkled in, it all feels a bit too much at times and you wonder exactly who the film is for. I mean I was laughing my head off at some things, but for seven year olds, it would fly over their heads.
Also, you're probably wondering why it's called Elf Bowling, right?
Well at one point Santa grabs the ball that Lex has before agreeing to become new owner of slaves and it shocks him which makes him let go of the ball. The ball coincidentally goes straight into a group of elves who just so happen to be walking in a manner like pins and all get knocked down.
The elves are fascinated by their broken sternums and ask what that was and Santa calls it Elf Bowling, hence the title which really kind of has a big thing to do with the plot but not at the same time. By that I mean Dingle does challenge Santa to bowl for Christmas in the film but it's mostly like a throw away point for something big.
The worst part of the film though is not plot, but a character voiced by Tom Kenny. Now why would a character be so bad when he barely has any lines and is voiced by Tom Kenny? Well that's because, the character is black. And done like The Twins from Transformers 2: Electric Boogaloo. Which were also voiced by (drumroll please...) Tom Kenny. If you liked those horrible characters then you'll find Tom Kenny a riot as the hip urban elf!
If you're family enjoys discussing political issues and the current state of our country as a way for fun, then Elf Bowling is the movie for you. For the rest of the folks, just put it on when you want your kid to shut up for an hour so you can get a nap in.
Or Just give them LSD and have them go the laser show at the planetarium, it would be a bit more expensive but would leave more of a mark than this movie.
(The views in the above review do not reflect examiner.com's way of thinking and are of those of the author and the author alone. Further more, it's obvious you should not give your kid LSD or any drug altering stimulants of any kind because if you do, then why do you have children?)