German animated film, The Elfkins: Baking a Difference is a bland blend of Gnomeo & Juliet and The Smurfs, and strictly made for pre-teens, with a very on-the-nose message on capitalism and finding one’s purpose in the world to keep this somewhat manageable for parents forced to sit through this.
In true Elfkins of Cologne style, the famous, hard-working Elfkins quickly retell a tale that explains the reason why they’ve been hiding below the surface for the last 200 years. The rather rebellious Elfie can’t stand this restricted life any longer and climbs to the surface to find her true calling. Together with Elfkins Kipp and Buck, she ends up in the bakery of grumpy pastry chef Theo who is feuding with his profit-hungry brother, ready to expand his own empire, no matter the cost. Elfie is determined to help Theo, bringing both happiness and purpose in each other’s lives for once and for all.
Not only does the premise sound like any other film that features an outcast in search for their purpose, it also features a bad-ass duo that ticks all the boxes on the cliché-list, while inevitable fart-jokes and a hint of animal cruelty could come across as slapstick to the youngest of viewers but are quite unfortunate and undermine the quality of the overall film. Luckily the European-style of animation is colourful and easy on the eyes, with a voice cast that dubs the original German version, giving these characters as much life as they possibly can. Somewhere halfway we get a little musical montage with a catchy tune in the form of ‘Elfkin-style’, but in the end The Elfkins: Baking a Difference is just too predictable and safe to be considered memorable.
In Australian Cinemas 14 January
Review – ‘The Elfkins: Baking a Difference’
Reviewed online (screener provided by Rialto Distribution), January 13, 2021. Rating: G. Running time: 78 min.
PRODUCTION: A Rialto Distribution release of an Akkord Film Produktion GmbH production. Producer: Dirk Beinhold. Executive producers: Valentin Greulich, Solveig Langeland, Sebastian Runschke.
CREW: Directors: Ute von Münchow-Pohl. Screenplay: Jan Strathmann. Editing: Erik Stappenbeck, Ute von Münchow-Pohl. Score: Alex Komlew.
CAST: (voices) Rivka Rothstein, Liam Mockridge, Valentin Beinhold, Suzanne Ritter, Erik Hansen, Steve Jacob, Marty Sander, Matthew Burton, Kristen Bush.