Follow that Bird (1985)

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?

So my son's most recent TV fascination is Sesame Street. We don't have TV, but we do have this film and a SS book. I saw this film when I was 12 or 13 and really enjoyed it because these were my muppet friends that I had grown up with.

The film itself sort of marks the end of an era. Sesame Street is Sesame Park now and the politically correct and liability issues have taken the joy out of what was the standard for children's television. The film retains all the old characters and insensitivities that the old show had.

Now, as a film critic, I can't honestly take apart a film that's geared for children. Things like continuity, logic, and reality don't really figure too well in this story. What does figure in very well is the adept writing that included the dozens of characters in the story. Everyone stars somewhere in the film, though I could have used more Ernie. They managed to include some bigger names like John Candy and two other SCTV alumni Joe Flaherty and Dave Thomas.

We follow Big Bird as he tries with his 4-year-old mind to return to Sesame Street after running away from his foster placement with the Dodo's in the midwestern USA. His friends, knowing the naïve Bird will only be taken advantage of and probably won't be able to find his way back, decide to track him down in several teams. Meanwhile, the foster director searches for Big and a couple villains decide this could be an opportunity to exploit this freak of nature too. Let the hunt begin.

Though it's for kids, I found myself laughing out loud. At Big Bird's farewell, everyone is reminding him what not to forget and Grover helpfully suggests "don't forget to breath." The Count starts counting keys out loud at a crucial moment when they are breaking Bird out of a cage. Dave Thomas announcing the freak of nature at his carnival "You've seen the invisible gorilla, now see the giant blue bird!" And of course there was Ernie throughout.

What I didn't enjoy was the sad sappy parts with Big Bird at centre. The Muppets were like this too and I always found them overly melodramatic. Some of the music was pretty annoying too.


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