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Now I know why Elmo is so popular
on 12 January 2004
Never let it be said that I've forgotten the way to Sesame Street. It had been quite a while since my last visit, but it was great to see all of the familiar faces again: Bert & Ernie, The Count, Grover, Oscar, Big Bird, etc. I was rather surprised to see that some of the human actors I remember are still Sesame Street regulars, as well. Then there's Elmo. Up until now, I only knew Elmo from all the commercials for Elmo-related products, so it was good to finally see just what all the fuss has been about. He's a cool little monster, and it's easy to see how he has become so popular with the youngsters; I especially love the way he always refers to himself in the third person. I also was gratified to find out just what lies inside and beneath Oscar's garbage can after all these years. Throw in some music and dancing as well as a couple of notable guest appearances, and you've got yourself a movie I really enjoyed.
Elmo really loves his blanket, and he could never bear to part with it. He loves it so much that he doesn't want to share it, even for a few minutes, with one of his little friends. About this time, a series of humorous mishaps occur to land Blanket (it's essentially a character rather than an object) inside Oscar's garbage can. Elmo dives it to get it, only to be transported (along with Blanket) to Grouchland. This is a strange new world for Elmo, a place where you aren't supposed to ask for help or be kind to others. Elmo's beloved blanket ends up in the hands of the mean and greedy Huxley (Mandy Patinkin), a man who lives by the creed "Whatever I touch is mine." In order to get to Huxley's house and reclaim what is his, Elmo must overcome a number of challenges placed in his way and must even pass the ultimate challenge of the Queen of Garbage (Vanessa Williams). There is of course a message to the whole story, with children (and adults) seeing why it is important to share what you have rather than be greedy.
I'm not sure I would have wanted to see The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland at the theatre, but youngsters would surely have loved such an experience. Elmo asks the audience for help on several occasions, so parents should be prepared for having their kids yell out helpful words and sounds from time to time (FYI - I wouldn't recommend sitting directly in front of your children during the Queen of Trash sequence). Parents also shouldn't worry too much about children becoming too upset over Elmo's misfortunes. Whenever things start to look bad, Bert comes out and has the movie stopped and Ernie explains to him that there's still time for a happy ending.
I have to say I really loved this movie. It is funny, the musical scenes are quite good, and I can't get enough of seeing Elmo getting down with his bad self. This movie has everything that makes Sesame Street so great, and now I'm wishing I would have bought the DVD instead of just renting it.