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ADVENTURES OF ELMO IN GROUCHLAND

SYNOPSIS:
Elmo loves nothing more in the whole wide world than his blue blanket. So much so that when his good friend Zoe wants to play with it, Elmo can’t bear to part with it for even the briefest of moments. The ensuing tug-of-war launches the blanket and, hence, Elmo, into the dreaded Grouchland. Here among the stench, garbage, and filthy inhabitants, lives the greediest and possibly ugliest man in the world, Huxley (Mandy Patinkin), who claims Elmo’s blue blanket for himself. As Elmo struggles to reclaim his blue blanket against the villainous Huxley, he learns a vital lesson: greed and selfishness are bad - sharing is best.

"Hi there - it's Gaby here. I'm four now and back reviewing after a little break. I've just seen The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, starring every kid's favourite little red monster, Elmo. I really liked this movie; even though it wasn't as good as The Little Mermaid. There's lots of singing, which is pretty good. Also, along the way, the characters ask us to yell out or sing or clap along. This is really good, because there's lots to do while you're watching the movie. My Daddy said he really liked Huxley, who's the mean man who takes Elmo's blanket. He thought he was funny. Daddy says he's really someone called Mandy Patinkin - some sort of big star on Broadway (wherever that is!). All my favourite characters from Sesame Street are in this movie - Zoe, Telly, Cookie Monster and Oscar - as well as some of the regular people from the show like Bob and Gina. My Daddy was laughing at Bert and Ernie who came on every so often and stopped the movie so they could talk about stuff. He said Bert showed he's 'film savvy' but I don't understand what that means. Daddy said Elmo in Grouchland is a lot like The Wizard of Oz, but for littler kids. He's going to get the video of that movie for me when I'm a little bit older. There's some stuff in the movie about sharing and not being so greedy; but for me it was great to see a movie with all the characters I like, lots of colour and singing and a good story."
Gaby and David Edwards

"If you’ve ever been to a movie with a five year old, you’ll know that the most seemingly innocuous scenes can unexpectedly cause the said five year old nightmares for days and nights on end. The Sesame Street gang has obviously dealt with these little bundles of nerves for long enough to know it can be a problem. So they’ve come up with the most wonderful solution. Old favourites Bert and Ernie introduce the film, explain that it is indeed a movie and, everytime it seems a little frightening, stop the movie and reassure us that sure it’s scary at the moment but movies always have happy endings so not to worry kids. In keeping with such reassurance, they’ve tapped into our society’s current interactive spirit by cleverly extending their television techniques into Elmo’s movie. We’re asked to help count the movie in, cheer when needed, and, possibly to the later regret of parents, blow raspberries to help Elmo through a particularly difficult spot with the Queen of Trash (Vanessa L. Williams). Director Gary Halvorson (from a heavily television background) has ensured that kids feel a part of it, even in a less than full cinema, by adding kids voices to the soundtrack where audience response is required. It’s great stuff. Elmo is as cute as can be. Mandy Patinkin plays a fabulous monobrow villain. The songs are fun. The pace is tight. And there are enough nods and winks to the adult audience to get those who are unable to access their inner child through this sweet little film. Kids from three to 'I’m not a child anymore' will love it, as will those of us adults who still have a special place for our own blue blankets."
Lee Gough

"Now that the children who were watching Sesame Street 30 years ago are starting to have kids of their own it's astute business to keep the loveable Muppets up there on the big screen, safe in the knowledge that the grown ups at least know something about the product before they buy it. This Sesame Street spin off feature can be considered something of a breakaway picture, with Elmo the scruffy red furball taking centre stage while stars Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, Miss Piggy and Kermit are reduced to supporting roles. This sticks closely to the Sesame Street formula; i.e. gentle moral messages wrapped up in the kooky adventures of the gloved ones. The small fry it's aimed at are bound to have a good time although only they can really judge whether the search for a missing blanket is strong enough conceptually. Mums and dads will be able sit through it without too much pain but will be disappointed by the small scale of the production compared to previous Muppet movies. Mandy Patinkin and Vanessa L. Williams are the only significant human roles and it seems more like a television special than a feature film, making it a safe rather than spectacular holiday attraction."
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT|
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

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TRAILER

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

ADVENTURES OF ELMO IN GROUCHLAND (G)
(US)

CAST: Kevin Clash (Elmo), Mandy Patinkin, Vanessa L. Williams, Carroll Spinney

DIRECTOR: Gary Halvorson; Screenwriter: Mitchell Kriegman

PRODUCER: Alex Rockwell, Marjorie Kalins

SCRIPT: Mitchell Kriegman

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Alan Caso

EDITOR: Alan Baumgarten

MUSIC: John Debney, Martin Erskine

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Alan Cassie

RUNNING TIME: 75 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 16, 1999 (Melb, Brisbane; Sept 23, Syd, Adel, Per)

VIDEO RELEASE: February 2, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar







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