Sunday, December 25, 2016

Elf-Man (2012)

“He’s like a superhero who has special powers, but doesn’t know how to use them yet.” –Ryan, Elf-Man

Today is Christmas.  That’s right!  It’s December 25th.  Last night, children around the world impatiently awaited the arrival of their version of Santa Claus.  They wanted their gifts dropped off so that they could play with them.  Except for the bad kids.  They wanted anything but the coal that was coming their way.  The children stayed up as late as possible in an attempt to see the jolly man in red and white, but in most cases, they fell asleep.

What children seem to forget is that Santa Claus has help.  He has elves to help him with getting to every child on time.  No, not Nazi elves like in the movie Elves.  He has small little workers like Hermie in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  The movie today focuses on one such elf who was left behind at a child’s house.

Elf-Man was released in 2012.  Kasey (Carly Robell) and Ryan (Blake Kaiser) were two children living with their single father, Eric (Mackenzie Astin).  They were excited for Christmas to be coming the next day.  They were even more excited when their dad revealed that his new invention was complete.  When their father didn’t come home that night, they wished for help.  It came in the form of Elf-Man (Jason ‘Wee Man’ Acuna).  The three of them, along with their Gramma (Marty Terry) and Eric’s crush Amy (Mirelly Taylor) teamed up to stop a band of thieves led by Mickey (Jeffrey Combs) from stealing the invention.  They also wanted to free their father from Mickey’s captivity.

As we know from Saving Christmas, everybody has a story.  The story in Elf-Man was dependent on the invention that Eric created.  It was some a chip that could heat a house.  For how long?  They don’t say.  How does it work?  They don’t explain that either.  The most that they thought about the chip when writing was to state what it was and show that people wanted it.  It was like The Black Pelican in Road House 2: Last Call.  It was something that people wanted and the writing never built it out beyond that.

Mickey wanted to steal the chip from Eric and make money with it.  The only problems were that he didn’t have the blueprints, so he couldn’t recreate it, and he had no connections that he could use to sell it.  I know that Elf-Man is a kids’ movie, so I shouldn’t be so critical of it in this way, but in the real world, if you go to a company screaming about your new invention, without being invited and without a way to mass produce it, you’ll get thrown out.  Mickey looked like a homeless guy.  There’s no way he was getting in the door of any company that would buy the chip.

That doesn’t truly matter though.  The real moral of the story wasn’t that you shouldn’t steal heating chips from single parents.  The real moral was that you need to think of other people and not just yourself.  That is where Elf-Man came in.  He was a selfish elf trying to work his way up the ranks of Santa’s elves.  When he was left behind, he was worried more about getting home than anything.  It took until the end of the movie for him to realize… Spoilers here… He was the gift all along.  The children asked for help and he was the help.  He also learned how to be a better, more caring elf.  Helping other people can lead to a better world.  That is what Santa does.  He helps out children in need so that he can give them a better life.  Better lives lead to better kids which lead to better adults and a better world.  That is the real meaning behind Elf-Man.

Even with a good lesson, the movie ended up being bad.  The technical stuff isn’t worth getting into because it doesn’t go far enough to be terrible.  It hovers in the meh range.  But there were moments in where the movie went insane for a few seconds then came back to the reality of the world being presented.  Now is the time where these moments get covered in some detail because writing about the movie wouldn’t feel complete without including them.

Gramma showed up near the beginning of the movie.  Her entire introduction was odd.  First off, her car drove down the road so slowly that one of the vampires from Robo Vampire could have hopped faster.  But that’s not even the nuttiest part.  When she got into the house, she gave the kids their annual fruitcake.  They didn’t like fruitcake, as exhibited by the cabinet they had been sticking them into for years.  They disliked fruitcake so much that when they looked at the new one, it had a face and teeth, and growled at them.  The fruitcake became a monster for about three seconds and then was a normal fruitcake for the remainder of the movie.  Talk about bizarre.  The fruitcakes would also make an appearance later in the movie when the family used them as weapons to fight off the intruders.  It was a scene right out of The Christmas Consultant, but with more fruitcakes and more enemies.

The other strange moment was the darkest moment.  During the climactic battle, Mickey found the kryptonite to Elf-Man’s powers.  He brought mistletoe to the battle.  The mistletoe caused Elf-Man to write around in pain.  The family watched in horror.  When Mickey left, he threw the mistletoe onto Elf-Man, leaving him hurt on the floor.  Ryan took hold of the mistletoe and knew the only way to destroy its powers of hurt.  He held it above Eric and Amy’s heads and waited for them to kiss.  When they did, it broke whatever spell it had on Elf-Man and he recovered and took down Mickey’s band of mischievous robbers.

Elf-Man was an interesting little Christmas movie.  It’s not one that I would recommend.  It’s definitely not good, but outside of a few little moments of insanity like the stuff I mentioned, there isn’t a lot to make it entertainingly bad.  It just is.  It doesn’t fill you with the Christmas spirit either.  Looking at it is interesting as you try and figure out why the movie is.  Answers are hard to find.  It just is, and sometimes that happens.
These notes are the same way. They just are:

  • I mentioned a few movies I’ve covered during this post.  I mentioned Robo Vampire, The Christmas Consultant, Elves, Road House 2: Last Call, and Saving Christmas.
  • Jeffrey Combs was the only Sunday “Bad” Movie alumnus to appear in Elf-Man.  He was previously in Robot Jox.
  • Have you seen Elf-Man?  What did you think when you saw it?  You can discuss the movie or this post in the comments section below.
  • The comments are a good place to put any bad movie suggestions.  I’m working on the schedule right now and am always looking for movies to include.  If you want to contact me through Twitter, you can do that too.
  • Sometimes when I’m watching bad movies, I put clips of them up on snapchat.  You can add me if you want to see that kind of thing.  My username is jurassicgriffin.
  • Next week, we ring in the New Year with a horror movie called Antisocial.  I don’t know too much about it, but when I searched New Year movies, it came up.  This could end up being a disastrous week, or I could enjoy it like I enjoyed Money Train.  Who knows?  I’ll see you next week with a post.

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