For a 23 minute thinly veiled cash grab advertising an expensive auxiliary Christmas disciplinary deterrent ruthlessly marketed as an adorable Christmas tradition that also subtly indoctrinates the youth of today to be comfortable living within an overt surveillance state, “An Elf’s Story” actually isn’t all that bad.
The cheap and cheerful computer animation is decent enough and the voice cast bring the characters likeably to life. Of course, the whole ‘movie’ exists to promote and reinforce the rules for the Elf On The Shelf: never expose them to bright light, never get them wet and never, ever feed them after midnight. Oh – wait, no that’s the wrong rules. Basically, be good, do as you’re told and never, ever touch the elf otherwise you might steal his magic and he won’t be able to get back to The North Pole.
The film, complete with peppy songs including such catchy numbers as ‘Extravaganzalorious’, tells the story of newly qualified elves setting out on their first assignments. Our hero, Chippie, is assigned to a family where the oldest child is starting to not believe in Santa. Through a series of misadventures, a bit of guilt and a few too many songs about ‘forgiveness’ for comfort, everything works out in the end and the children agree to submit to Santa’s omniscient oversight in return for meeting their moderate Christmas requests.
If you’re already playing host to an Elf on the Shelf of your very own, this twee festive fable won’t teach you anything you don’t already know but if you’re contemplating inviting a North Pole Narc to surveil your family, there’s stuff here that will delight and possibly disturb in equal measure.