Genius Products // 2008 // 45 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // June 4th, 2008
Elmo: Do you know why dogs love trees?
Papa Bear: I'm afraid to ask.
Elmo: Because the bark is "ruff"! Hahahahahahaha!
He is a fearsome beast with the capability of destroying a children's television show. Subtly using the secret weapon of Unbearable Cuteness, he has infiltrated our popular culture. His mission: to infiltrate the hearts and minds of our children. Who knows what he plans to do from there? Perhaps he wants to corrupt them and turn them into an army of Unbearably Cute soldiers. Perhaps he wants to teach them how to take over the world...or maybe even the universe. For now, he is content to simply teach them the difference between "Up" and "Down," lulling parents into a distracted sleep before he makes his diabolical move. Who is this terrifying creature? He's a small, furry red thing known as "Elmo." Though there is no proof for my accusations, it's obvious that Elmo is one tough guy. Ever since he moved into the formerly nice neighborhood known as "Sesame Street," former vigilantes such as Cookie Monster, The Count, and Oscar the Grouch have been turned into meek and mild do-gooders. Elmo's mind control powers must be overwhelming.
With that warning established, I'll continue with this DVD review. We meet up with my fuzzy nemesis out in the middle of the woods, where Elmo is hanging out with some friends. His gal pal Zoe is there, along with the cute Baby Bear (who sounds suspiciously like Junior Gorg) and the wise Papa Bear. They meet up with Ranger Squirrel, who informs them that they should never litter. Ranger Squirrel's inspiring speech is enough to make Baby Bear promise to never, ever litter again. Well done, Ranger Squirrel. But wait, that's not all he has to say. When the gang is trying to throw trash away, Ranger Squirrel stops them and teaches them the value of recycling. Apparently not all trash is just trash. Well done again, Ranger Squirrel.
He won't quit, though. Ranger Squirrel comes back to tell our protagonists that there are two sides on a sheet of paper, and they can draw on both sides instead of one. That's nice, but a bit obvious, Ranger Squirrel. Elmo takes a drink of water from a fountain, and then decides to just keep pressing the button. "Elmo loves to watch water go down the drain...hahahahaha!" Sure enough, Ranger Squirrel shows up again, to inform Elmo that this is a bad thing. We know, pal. Give it a rest. Meanwhile, the gang is also searching for the mysterious Blue-Feathered Swallowing Swallow. Will they be able to find it? I'll never tell.
We break away from the puppets on a regular basis to spend time with ordinary human beings. A nice lady named Ranger Roseanne hangs out with a group of children and teaches them a little bit about all the different animals that live inside a national park. A young girl shows us how she recycles newspapers...that can later be turned into cool comic books! Alan Moore thanks you, young lady. A montage of footage from around the world shows people from many different cultures finding ways to recycle. A country song called "Don't Waste Water" accompanies a montage of water-related images. The loveable Big Bird makes a cameo appearance to sing to some children, telling them to be kind to animals. Then a lady sings to some animals, informing them that "We Are All Earthlings." She sings this while sitting next to lions and crocodiles, and I would encourage youngsters to stay at a safe distance while singing this tune to such fellow earthlings.
Some enjoyable animated sequences add some additional color to the proceedings. I particularly enjoyed a song from a soda bottle who has an identity crisis and undergoes recycling surgery in order to become a wild and crazy cookie jar. Another fun sequence shows us the journey that mayonnaise jars take from the factory to a house. Once the mayonnaise is gone, people use the jars for all kinds of cool things.
Picture quality is fine, if nothing spectacular. It looks more or less the same as it would on television. The simple 2.0 stereo sound is adequate for this simple little special. There are no extras of any sort on the disc, unless you count previews for other Sesame Street products.
While watching this only reminds me of how far Sesame Street has fallen since the passing of Jim Henson, it's perfectly pleasant and harmless on its own terms. I mean, how much sweeter can you get than a film that ends with a montage of children hugging trees? It's so sweet that it's almost suspicious...I don't know what your game is, Elmo, but I'm watching you. Meanwhile, I have no damning evidence, so not guilty. Court is adjourned.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Genius Products
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 45 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* IMDb: Sesame Street