“Oh, I didnt run away. Im going back to my real home on Sesame Street where I belong.” – Big Bird
Some kids want to visit Hollywood to meet all their favorite actors and actresses. Some kids want to visit Hollywood so they can be a famous actor or actress themselves. Me? I wanted to go to New York. Not for the tall buildings or the Statue of Liberty or Broadway, no. When I asked my mom the eternal question, “How DO you get to Sesame Street?” She replied, “Thats in New York City, honey.” My mind was made up. I was going to Sesame Street. When Follow That Bird was first released into theaters, I was five years old. Now the movie is 25 years old and Im still rooting for Big Bird just like I was when I was five.
When a meddling social worker named Miss Finch discovers Big Bird living on Sesame Street without other birds around to relate to, she relocates him to a foster family in Oceanview, Illinois: The Dodos. Thats not just a clever name, they really are a family of Dodos in every meaning of the word. Big Bird misses his home on Sesame Street so he runs away, thinking the journey will only take “about three hours”. The big yellow birds escape makes the news and its not long before the gang at Sesame Street deploys on a rescue mission to find their friend. The antics that ensue along the journey involve several guest stars including John Candy, Chevy Chase, Waylon Jennings and Sandra Bernhard.
Its difficult to describe my favorite scenes since the film is so fast paced (as it should be since the target audience is pre-schoolers). On his journey back to Sesame Street, Big Bird makes a stop at a farm and meets the little boy and little girl who live there. They sing a song called “Easy Going Day” that gets stuck in my head for days after I hear it. Oscar the Grouch is forced to join in the search for Big Bird and is teamed up with Maria in his Sloppy Jalopy. They make a stop at a Grouch cafÃ© where Sandra Bernhard is their waitress. Even as a kid I loved that part. At one point, Big Bird is captured by two men who run a traveling carnival. They put him in a cage and paint him blue, calling him the Bluebird of Happiness. During the show, Big Bird sings a song called “Im So Blue” that was heart-wrenching as a child and still makes me teary as an adult. Same goes for the song “One Little Star” sung by Olivia, Big Bird and Snuffleupagus. I cant help but get misty-eyed.
In the end, Big Bird makes his way home to Sesame Street and his friends celebrate his return. Twenty-five years later, Im still trying to get to Sesame Street. At least I know hes there. This 25th Anniversary DVD is the perfect way to celebrate fond memories and share them with the next generation of pre-schoolers.
Presented for the first time in it’s original widescreen, a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This DVD transfer is flawless! I remember watching this on VHS and it being grainy and dull. The colors are brilliant here. It looks like the movie was recently made.
The sound quality is great as well, with the remastered audio track.
Follow That Bird: An Interview with Carroll Spinney – Carroll Spinney (voice of Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch) talks about how he got hired at Sesame Street, and how he came up with the voices for Big Bird and Oscar. At one point, he says that Oscar the Grouch is the most cantankerous character on TV. Then he compares Oscar to the Fonz. When he said cantankerous, my first thought was Archie Bunker from All In the Family…not the Fonz. Then he talks about how children relate to Big Bird, and about the letters they send him. A very sweet interview with a respected man. 9:50
Sing A Long – A follow the bouncing ball sing-a-long to “Easy Goin’ Day”, “Grouch Anthem”, and “One Little Star”.
Jump To A Song – Lists all seven songs so you can view each separately.
Trailers – Scooby Doo Where Are You?, Clone Wars, Smurfs, Peanuts: Snoopy’s Reunion, Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry Tales, The Wiggles Present Dorothy the Dinosaur
DVD-ROM features downloadable coloring sheets.
Obviously there is a lot of nostalgia associated with this movie for me personally. If you grew up with Sesame Street, this is a movie worth checking out. If you have kids who currently watch Sesame Street, this is a movie worth checking out. It captures the show so perfectly, before Elmo came along and changed everything. This is one of my favorites from my early childhood and I will continue to recommend it.
Warner Home Video presents Follow That Bird. Directed by: Ken Kwapis. Starring: Carroll Spinney, Jim Henson, Frank Oz. Written by: Judy Freudberg, Tony Geiss. Running time: 88 minutes. Rating: NR. Released on DVD: March 24, 2009. Available at Amazon.com