Though Muppet movies keep reaching the big screen, it has been some time since FOLLOW THAT BIRD, the last movie featuring the Sesame Street characters. A few years ago, the red lovable Muppet, Tickle Me Elmo, became a huge Christmas sale item. Naturally, a big star such as this would have his eventual movie debut.
THE ADVENTURES OF ELMO IN GROUCHLAND is that vehicle. It feature lots of Sesame Street Muppet Characters including Big Bird and Bert & Ernie, silly songs, a few jokes that parents can even appreciate, and, of course, Elmo. Teaching basic lessons of sharing and caring, it is not too long and should keep the young at heart more than entertained.
The hosts and narrator of the movie are none other than Bert & Ernie. They introduce Elmo and occasionally interrupt the action to help explain some of the plot twists (a good move to help the very littlest ones). Elmo loves his fuzzy, well-worn blue blanket better than anything in the whole world. (Doesn’t almost every child have a favorite blanket? Well, this one is animated – kind of like the flying carpet in ALADDIN.) One day, Elmo’s friend Zoe holds onto Elmo’s blanket a little too closely. A tug-of-war causes both to let go. The blanket is apprehended by Oscar the Grouch, who throws it into his garbage can home.
Elmo goes after his blanket but accidentally falls down another porthole into Grouchland. In Grouchland, all the Grouch inhabitants wish Elmo an “unwelcome” and garbage is everywhere. Elmo confronts a big problem since his blanket is stolen by the villainous Huxley (Mandy Patinkin). In fact, Huxley steals lots of things and is very, very greedy. Undaunted, Elmo goes on a journey to Huxley’s castle to retrieve his beloved blanket, culminating in a climax involving Huxley’s henchman and Muppets from Sesame Street who come to Elmo’s aid.
There is very little objectionable material in this movie. The villain isn’t too mean or villainous, and his henchmen are actually benevolent bugs. The creatures in Grouchland, while backwards, are pleasant and tuneful despite their grouchy demeanor. There is very, very little violence, and whatever violence there is, is all action oriented. Of course, anything sexual is completely absent, but foul language is limited to a few flatulent type noises. Vanessa Williams, who plays The Queen of Trash, wears a leotard type outfit, but it has lots of bobbles and accessories and isn’t very provocative.
The lesson here is loud and clear: share your possessions and don’t be greedy. There are also a few statements like “you can do it” and “you are able” which are mainly said as a motivation for Elmo to go to the top of the mountain to get his prize. A few jokes are said for the adults, such as one that mentions a grown-up word, “cholesterol.” A well-produced movie with adequate special effects, nice but not extravagant music and a clearly explained plot, THE ADVENTURES OF ELMO IN GROUCHLAND is fine viewing for those who already enjoy Elmo and Sesame Street.
Mainly moral worldview promoting sharing & caring & rebuking greed; no foul language but a few burps & a few characters make flatulent noises with their mouth; mild action including an out of control skater, a few collisions, a big chicken chases after Elmo, & Elmo breaks into Oscar the Grouch's home; no sex or nudity but the "Queen of Junk" wears an unrevealing leotard outfit; and, stealing rebuked & lying rebuked.