A tug-of-war between Elmo and his friend sends his blanket to faraway Grouchland, a place full of grouchy creatures and the villainous Huxley. Elmo embarks on a rescue mission, learning important lessons about sharing and responsibility.
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Elmo loves his fuzzy, blue blanket, and would never let anything happen to it. However, a tug-of-war with his friend Zoe sends his blanket to a faraway land, and Elmo in hot pursuit. Facing life without his cherished blanket, Elmo musters all of his determination and courage and heads off on an action-packed rescue mission that plunges him into Grouchland, a place full of grouchy creatures, stinky garbage and the villainous Huxley. Along the way, Elmo learns an important lesson about sharing, realizing that he was selfish with his friend and responsible for what happened. Written by
The cleverest thing about 'The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (1999)' is the degree of self-reference. The film begins with Sesame Street stalwarts Bert and Ernie, our hosts for the evening, breaking the fourth wall to greet the audience and introduce the feature presentation. We, the audience, are asked to count backwards from ten so that the film may begin; in keeping with the spirit of the viewing, I acquiesced. Our hosts regularly interrupt the main story whenever our hero's predicament is looking particularly dire, probably to remind the younger viewers that a happy ending is just around the corner. Then Bert gets excited about the closing credits.
The meat of the film centres on that adorable reddish monster Elmo (Kevin Clash), who wakes up one morning and begins to sing about his beloved blanket. (Bizarrely, Elmo's bedroom features just one recognisable feature a giant poster of Tiger Woods). When he accidentally travels to the mystical Grouchland (via a '2001'-like wormhole accessed through Oscar the Grouch's bachelor pad), he loses his blanket to the sinister self-proclaimed villain Huxley (Mandy Patinkin), a human with bushy eyebrows and a desire to steal anything that isn't his. A frustrated Elmo strikes out to retrieve his prized blanket, getting occasional help from various creatures and even the audience members.
I know what it's like to lose a treasured possession. In fact, my dad threw away my favourite stuffed toy, for which I have never really forgiven him. Elmo's epic journey through Grouchland helps him to learn that material possessions are not everything, but the heartwarming finale is nevertheless rewarding in a predictable, slightly fluffy way. Movie references are abundant: 'Titanic (1997),' 'Gone with the Wind (1939)' and 'Doctor Zhivago (1965)' are offered by pessimist Bert as movies without a happy ending. They crafty larrikins at Jim Henson Pictures even managed to work in a reference to 'Basic Instinct (1992),' with the Grouchland cinema screening the picture with the title "Basically, It Stinks."
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