“Disney Prep & Landing” (2009): The slick artistry of Disney, spies and a great plot make the animated Christmas special a lot of fun. The logistics of just how Santa makes it around the world and wiggles his girth down all of those chimneys on one night troubles some of the more literal-minded children. This fun special shows how the elves use the sort of high-tech gadgets that even James Bond would envy. Listen for the familiar voices of Dave Foley and Sarah Chalke.
“Elf” (2003): Will Ferrell as Buddy, the world’s tallest elf foundling, and Bob Newhart as Papa Elf, are funny. Clearly, Buddy is not a typical elf. He heads south from Santa’s (Ed Asner) workshop, looking for his biological dad (James Caan). “I passed through the seven layers of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly, twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel,” Buddy says. It’s a great cast and a fun movie, even if it does mean watching Ferrell in tights.
“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1964): The story about how being different can be wonderful remains delightful. While Rudolph deals with his glowing nose, Hermey the Elf must contend with job dissatisfaction. Hermey, inept at painting toys, says, “I’m not happy in my work, I guess. I just don’t like to make toys.
“Someday, I would like to be a dentist. We need one up here.”
“Babes in Toyland” (1934): Oliver Hardy as an elf is a huge stretch, but this chestnut of a movie that opens in the magical Toyland still captivates those who love Laurel and Hardy. There’s an innocence to this movie, and the look of it, in early color, is reason enough to watch. Stan Laurel’s sweet befuddlement and Oliver Hardy’s blowhard bossiness are amusing. In one scene, Santa is surprised by the batch of toy soldiers the two made. “I ordered 600 soldiers, 1-foot high,” Santa says. “Oh,” says Stannie Dum (Laurel). “I thought you said 100 soldiers 6-feet high.” Tune into this whenever it’s on.