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Anyone who has spent countless hours watching cartoons with children will attest that some of the output made for the younger end of the spectrum can be surprisingly watchable, even mesmerising. Sadly, this German production about plucky elves who decide to help a depressed artisanal baker does not fall into that category.
Visually palatable but as uniform and monotonously predictable as a Mr Kipling cake, The Elfkins posits an underground world where elves live, fearful of the human world above. Elfie, a heavily fringed tween elf (voiced in this English-language version by Rivka Rothstein) decides to explore the human world and persuades portly sidekick Buck (Valentin Beinhold) to accompany her. A misadventure involving a drainpipe and a black pug pup results in them being joined by rule-stickler Kipp (Liam Mockridge) in what looks like a provincial German town. Eventually, they fall in with Theo (Erik Hansen), a skilled maker of baked foodstuffs with the long grey ponytail of an ageing rocker, whose business is on the decline. Luckily, elves like making stuff, as any cobbler could tell him.
The film’s palette is a creamy wash of pastel colours, as if everything were made from royal icing tinted with modest squirts of food colouring. Likewise, all the edges are rounded and soft as rolled marzipan, and that squashy sweetness extends to the character design, giving everyone soft plump cheeks and rounded edges. Filling out the culinary, gastronomic theme the director (the fruitily named Ute von Münchow-Pohl) and screenwriter Jan Strathmann work in an unseemly quantity of fart jokes, with should set the kids giggling if nothing else.
• In cinemas from 2 October.
Source: The Guardian
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