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Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (2010)

Being Elmo Director: Constance Marks
Starring: Bill Barretta, Fran Brill, Kevin Clash, Joan Ganz Cooney, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O'Donnell, Frank Oz, Martin P. Robinson, Caroll Spinney

I'll admit I didn't really have a lot of time for Elmo in the past, he always seemed like just the new kid on the block at best and an irritating money-grabbing cash in at worst designed to suck as much money in from the kids as possible and you can't say anything bad as he's a Muppet and HE WUVS YOU.

Some friends were going to see this doco and I agreed to go as I had a movie to see later in the evening and didn't want a four hour gap. As I said I haven't really followed the more recent history of Sesame Street and thought it would be interesting to find out.

They did pick the right subject in Kevin Clash for the documentary as most people would not know him even though his red furry counterpart is world famous. It was a bit of a shock to see him do Elmo's voice the first few times you see it, but as Kevin said himself he is projecting it to make it come from the Muppet so you get used to it.

I enjoyed the Elmo bloopers and wished there could have been more of them in the doco "You want a piece of me!", but understand they problem they would have with Elmo being out of character.

A lot of children grew up watching Sesame Street and the Muppets but not many would have made their own puppets and even fewer still would get to meet the people they idolise and work with them. It is a fairytale made real and one of the things that makes the film so good to watch.

I enjoyed the older footage and hopefully some more of it ends up on the extras of the DVD as I had not seen much of Captain Kangaroo or the Great Space Coaster. I couldn't believe how the audience cheered at the mention of the Dark Crystal, really? Most of them wouldn't have been born when that film was being made.

The other interviews from members of the Sesame Street crew were great, with the highlight being Frank Oz revealing the inspiration for Miss Piggy.

There were quite a few "I think I got something in my eye" moments, especially the scene with all the Muppets singing "Just One Person" at Jim Henson's memorial, twenty one years already and it still seems like yesterday.

After hearing Kevin's story and seeing him mentor a younger generation of puppeteers, you have to at least respect his vision and talent and I understand where Elmo fits in the grand scheme of things.

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