Guest Post: Elf Bowling the Movie: The Great North Pole Elf Strike (2017, dir. Dave Kim & Rex Piano)

Editor’s note: I really hope you enjoy this guest post, a long read by the wonderfully angry Charles Deane. If you aren’t familiar with the Deane storytelling method, buckle in!

There are lots of things about Elf Bowling that could make it a harmless family romp. The cast includes Tom Kenny, the voice of Spongebob Squarepants, and Joe Alaskey, who has voiced many of the Looney Tunes classic characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck since 2003. How bad could it be?

Elf Bowling is based on the “popular” early 2000s flash game of the same name. The general premise of the game is that the Elves are on strike (LIKE IN BOWLING) and Santa gets his own back by using them as bowling pins. So naturally the film starts with Santa as a pirate.

You know, the classic Santa mythos where he’s a pirate.

It transpires that Santa has been stealing toys with his crew, establishing early on that rather than being a jolly, loveable guy, he’s an asshole. Santa and his crew also apparently enjoy bowling.

You know, the classic stereotype of bowling pirates.

We soon meet Santa’s brother Dingle Kringle, establishing that Santa’s full name is neither Santa Claus or Kris Kringle but must be SANTA KRINGLE. Santa and Dingle get thrown overboard and frozen in ice. They are found by three elves who unfreeze them using a magic orb. It is not explained where the magic orb came from or what the limits of its power are, but it is conspicuously the approximate size of a bowling ball.

To cut to the chase, one of the Elves (Lex) determines that Santa must be part of a prophecy that he will do… something. The Elves are constantly making toys, playing with them and then STORING THEM INSIDE SOME MOUNTAINS. Somewhere within all this Santa accidentally throws the magic orb at a bunch of elves and knocks them down like bowling pins.

To recap, having already invented its own origin of Santa and pirates, Elf Bowling elects to create a new origin of Elf Bowling because these Elves flipping well love getting bowled. They love it so much they celebrate with armpit farts.

This is also where we are introduced to a character I am going to refer to as Sexy Elf.

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Sexy Elf is an elf Santa wants to have sex with. She shows up and offers him some strudel and Santa fucking loves strudel so much he immediately wants to put his dick in this elf. This is so unsettling to take in because Santa is like a 6 foot enormously fat pirate and she’s like 3 feet tall and inexplicably German. I say inexplicable because all the other Elves (And Santa, and Dingle) have assorted, movie-American accents, whereas she is German presumably to make her seem exotic.

Did I mention this was also a musical? Elf Bowling is a musical.

To the credit of Elf Bowling, the first song is arguably one of the highlights of the film. There are some clever jokes and interesting lyrical choices. It’s passably entertaining. To the discredit of Elf Bowling, every other song is a vehicle for Dingle Kringle, and Dingle Kringle is terrible at singing.

The jist of the first musical number is that the Elves will help Santa make presents to deliver around the world to children as long he keeps them happy.  They measure Elf happiness using the “Bum-o-meter” which is to indicate how “bummed” they are and I hope that means sad.

We then get a flash-forward narrated by Santa about how he’s been delivering presents to children for 1400 years.

1400 YEARS? That is such a long period of time! Assuming the rest of the film is set in contemporary times, that means Santa was a pirate in the 600s, which is about a thousand years before ACTUAL PIRATES WERE AROUND.

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ANYWAY it’s been 1400 years, the Elves have granted Santa and Dingle immortality and Santa is constantly having to get Dingle out of jail. Santa and Sexy Elf have been married for 600 years (JESUS CHRIST SANTA YOU HAD AN 800 YEAR COURTSHIP HOW MUCH DO YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR DICK WET BEFORE YOU MAKE A COMMITMENT) and she is sick of Dingle being a freeloader and demands he moves out.

Editor’s note: I’d really like to apologise for the phrase “get your dick wet”

Dingle decides now is the time to enact a plan to steal Christmas by challenging Santa to a bowling contest, and cheat with the help of his two penguin henchmen.

To be honest, the penguin henchmen are fairly harmless narrative tools in the grand scheme of Elf Bowling but I just have to mention that one of the penguins has a gold necklace that says “Luigi” on it and neither of them are called Luigi. Why do you hate me, Elf Bowling? There’s no reason for either of them to not be called Luigi so if you are going to give them a Luigi necklace why the fuck not just call him Luigi?

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So Dingle challenges Santa to bowl for Christmas and Santa accepts for no reason other than the film being called Elf Bowling. It’s finally time for some ELF BOWLING!

The Elf Bowling is commentated by two elves, one of whom is called Wrapple. Wrapple is an Elf who raps, and wraps! He is also black and says and does many racist black stereotypes. He is voiced by Tom Kenny, aka Spongebob Squarepants, aka a white man. I don’t want to get on my high horse but URRRRRRGH.

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Dingle cheats, momentarily wins but is then swiftly outed and Christmas is saved. The End.

We are so, so far from the end.

I’ll try to explain the rest as briefly as possible but I make no promises: Dingle and the Penguins sabotage the workshop and frame Lex for the mayhem. Santa gets angry and Lex runs off. Dingle tells Santa that Lex has floated out to sea on some ice, and out of guilt Santa goes after him, but it was a trick and the Penguins freeze Santa out at sea. Dingle destroys the workshop and forges a note that says Santa hates the elves. Dingle then convinces the elves to go with him and build a new workshop in Fiji.

Dingle does this with another musical number where his point can be summed up with “There are lots of sexy women you can have sex with in Fiji.”

They get on a cargo plane to Fiji and a terrifyingly busty woman, Veronica, meets Dingle and gets the idea to steal Christmas from HIM and turn it into a business enterprise. They land in Fiji, horrifically racist Fijian stereotypes ensue and Dingle hypnotises the elves into making toys for him.

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There are so many things wrong with Dingle’s plan (FIJI?) but I am going to pick on the hypnotism. Why does Dingle have to hypnotise the Elves? They WANT to make toys. They are HAPPY to be in Fiji. They walked into the workshop in Fiji of their own FREE WILL because THEY HAVE ALREADY AGREED TO WORK FOR DINGLE TO MAKE TOYS FOR HIM IN FIJI. Dingle justifies his plan with a song called “Slavery Makes The World Go Round” which besides being a questionable decision is also  A BAD JUSTIFICATION FOR HYPNOTISING A BUNCH OF WILLING PARTICIPANTS.

Anyway, Sexy Elf flies the reindeer to Santa and unfreezes him. Santa then flies to Fiji to stop Dingle, ABANDONING HIS WIFE OF 600 YEARS ON AN ICE SHELF FLOATING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEA.

Blah blah blah, Santa and Lex team up and rescue everyone, and Sexy Elf and Busty Woman have a fight where Sexy Elf wins by feeding Busty Woman strudel (Sexy Elf gets to Fiji in a taxi. Honestly the best joke in the film.) Dingle tries to steal the sleigh and Christmas once and for all, but Santa stops him SO SURELY THE FILM IS DONE NOW RIGHT?

NO.

DINGLE CHALLENGES SANTA TO ANOTHER BOWLING GAME FOR CHRISTMAS, AND DESPITE THE FACT THAT DINGLE CHEATED LAST TIME THEY DID THIS SANTA ACCEPTS HIS CHALLENGE.

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AND WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT DINGLE CHEATS AGAIN BECAUSE WHY WOULDN’T HE, IT IS LITERALLY HIS MODUS OPERANDI TO DO ANY NEFARIOUS THING HE CAN IN ORDER TO STEAL CHRISTMAS. BUT THE CHIEF OF FIJI (THE CHIEF OF FIJI) THANKFULLY HAD A RECORDING OF ALL OF DINGLE’S CHEATING SO THE DAY IS SAVED AND FINALLY THE FILM IS DONE.

I think the biggest question about Elf Bowling is “Who is this film for?” The cheap animation, armpit farts and musical numbers can’t possibly be appealing to anyone older than about 8, yet the racist jokes, heavy sexual themes (Dingle calls Veronica “me funbag wielding wench”) and SONG ABOUT SLAVERY are inappropriate for… anyone. It even has a 12 rating in the UK. It isn’t a positive representation of the game. It isn’t a positive representation of Fiji. The only thing that comes out in a positive light at all is strudel, and even then only as an aphrodisiac.

So there you have it. The moral of Elf Bowling is that if you can’t get it up, have some strudel. God bless us, every one.

Rating: Ho/HoHoHo

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