19 September 1999 | ataraxia
A musical story about sharing
This was a happy film concerning the red furball from Sesame St, Elmo and how he learns about unselfishness from the negative example of a "greedy selfish villain" called Huxley, played by Mandy Patinkin.
Elmo loves his blanket but won't allow Zoe to hold it, and through a series of misfortunes ends up in Grouchland ("Positively NO Smiling!") where everyone is very unfriendly and Huxley (singing "I Make It Mine") is the most selfish of all. Elmo needs to retrieve his blanket from Huxley's castle and encounters a series of difficulties along the way, including a meeting with the "Queen of Trash", played by Vanessa Williams, who teaches him about giving.
I am 22 and I enjoyed it, particularly the musical parts, especially the signs in Grouchland, e.g. a movie theatre "Sharon Groan in Basically It Stinks", and the self-deprecating comments about the show - Huxley, "I bet you have a grand old time together just saying the alphabet and counting *all day long*." Grouchland saying - "you look like a million yuks." In jail, some people are told, "you have the right to scream you head off, and if you don't exercise that right, you can have someone scream their head off for you."
Grouchland is like a ghetto, so the producers had to be careful to avoid any racist suggestions at that point (witness outcry over Phantom Menace). The background music is a Latin/ South American rhythm. Also the Queen of Trash's dump has an African/Andean rhythm with the pipes in the background.
More disturbing was the incipient bourgeois mentality displayed; apparently we are supposed to not like the ghetto dwellers or the people who have everything (i.e. the socialist, Huxley). If this film was made in any country except the US, recycling would have been mentioned...
Postmodernist views are also blatantly promulgated in the Queen of Trash's song concerning her dump (or creation?) "It's all about your point of view".
Bert and Ernie often break in and get the audience to "participate". They are very fond of using each others names in their conversation, e.g. in just about every sentence. Another strange thing is that Elmo refers to himself in the third person all the time. But overall this is funny & a good commentary on commandments 8 & 10
for all ages.