“The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland” is a feature-length movie starring the beloved fuzzy monster Elmo. The overall reviews for the 1999 movie were positive with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 77%. I recently re-watched this movie to see if it was as fun and entertaining as I remember. Spoiler alert: It absolutely was.
The plot itself is pretty self-explanatory and easy going. Elmo loses his blanket and must venture into Grouchland to find it. As the movie is meant for children, the plot is very predictable with the main messages being centered around bravery, friendship and sharing. Because no movie based around “Sesame Street” would be complete without something to do with the concept of sharing.
All of the classic “Sesame Street” characters make appearances in the movie, but the main plot focuses on Elmo, with appearances by Bert and Ernie sprinkled throughout, and his journey through Grouchland to find the man who stole his blanket, Huxly. Huxly is one of the only two human residents in the movie with the other being the Queen of Trash. Huxly’s main issue is that he doesn’t share, he steals people’s toys and hoards them in his lair. This villain also has one of the best songs in the movie: “Mine.”
“Mine” has and always will be my favorite song from the movie because of the music, but also because of the set design. The song takes place in Huxly’s toy infested lair as he sings to his henchman, Bug, about why he has all of this stuff and why he deserves it more than anyone else. It’s a standard villains creed song that most musicals have, but this one is a step above the rest. Another song that passed the tests of time is “Take the First Step” sung by a weed aptly named Stuckweed. I hated this song as a child, but as an adult it takes on a new meaning. This musical number is an inspirational piece about how taking the first step is always the hardest, but once you get going the fear melts away.
There are a few things that I did not like about this movie. The first is the chicken. Huxley sends a humongous chicken, named Tiny, after Elmo in an attempt to stop him from retrieving his blanket. The chicken then proceeds to sing “I’m A Little Teapot” and tries to eat Elmo. This scared me as a child, but now as an adult it makes me uncomfortable. Something about a rather large chicken puppet singing “I’m A Little Teapot” and attempting to commit puppet murder doesn’t sit right with me. I also have some questions as to why there are only two human residents of Grouchland. How did they get there? Were their other human residents before them? As there was never a sequel, these questions will, unfortunately, remain unanswered.
Overall, “The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland” was just as, if not more, enjoyable as it was when I was a child. If you’re looking for a simple, lighthearted movie or a movie to show your children I couldn’t recommend it more.