Sesame Street: Lights, Cameras, Imagination!
Shane Keating - In 2003, a 3D Sesame Street show premièred at Universal Studios in Japan. That’s a tad unfair, since the show is American-made! But, in 2009, the show made its way across the Atlantic Ocean and most of the US to get to Williamsburg, Virginia and Tampa Bay, Florida to play at Busch Gardens when Sesame Street began to make its way into the parks.
I went to the Busch Gardens in Virginia and it was the first thing I wanted to do (though I didn’t get to it until the next day). It was shown in England’s Globe Theater (which was rectangular in actuality), replacing a Goosebumps 3D show that was there on my last visit (trust me, it won’t be missed). The main foyer was a big room with a big sign, some posters and a table for 3D glasses, in other words, pretty bland. After waiting fifteen minutes for something to happen (I got there a little too early), I sat through an ad for Sesame Place (shameless, Sesame Workshop) and the show began…
In the pre-show, all the characters have gathered into a room for the “Sesame Street Film Festival”, a series of films they all made themselves using their imaginations (along with what Bert considered the most important thing – “Electrical tape!”) They view trailers for The Count’s “The Counting Kid Counts Again” and Prairie Dawn’s “Prairie and the Pretty Space Ponies”, where Prairie hams it up with her unenthused cast of monsters. Telly is especially excited to show off his chicken stunt movie (much to his stunt chicken’s dismay). However, the film project malfunctions, spreading film all over the room and ruining their movies. Oscar’s delighted, but Elmo still thinks there’s a chance to still show their movies and heads in after the crowd.
The main show starts with Big Bird announcing the sponsors (the number 4 and letter D) and heads to the street singing a pretty forgettable song. He finds all his friends sad that they can’t play their movies. Elmo appears and shows them they can use their imagination to play their movies. Grover starts off imagining himself as a cowboy, a firefighter (spraying the crowd with his hose) and Super Grover, who is crushed by a falling meteor.
Ernie then takes Bert on a wild ride while imagining their movie. First they go to the Sahara Desert, but Bert demands something more wet, so Ernie imagines them in their bathtub. Next, Ernie images them underwater, where an octopus begins to dance the tango with Bert. Cookie Monster imagines his movie where a giant monster cookie terrorizes the city and Cookie Monster is the only one who can stop it.
Oscar has had enough of the cuteness and decides to imagine his own movie, where Sesame Street is covered with trash, Pesties roam free, stinky socks form a chorus line, and it rains. Elmo thinks he’s ruined the film festival, where Big Bird tells him he can use his imagination to make things better. Elmo gives it a try and the street is now covered with light, balloons, confetti and Telly is finally able to do his final stunt – shooting a chicken out of a tuba while wearing a bungee chord.
So, the movie was pretty good. The pacing was a little fast and it wasn’t as funny as most Sesame productions (which is odd because Joey Mazzarino wrote this). I didn’t really hear anyone laughing at the jokes. I thought for sure Bert’s line “I can see it now, INTERIOR: LAUNDROMAT” was gonna slay ‘em. The 3D effects were well done, as well as other things (like Grover climbing off the stoop). The seats had some vibrators in them, which would go off whenever something slammed, like Oscar’s can lid. It was a short buzz, so it kinda felt unnecessary. What I did like was when the Pesties came out and little whips below the seat starting moving, simulating vermin running through our legs. There was also water and wind sprayed at the crowd (as well as some bubbles for Ernie’s bathtub scene), but I sat too far away to experience them. Some wind also blew in our faces when Oscar’s can slammed at one point too.
I didn’t visit the Sesame Street Forest of Fun area, but I could see a lot as I walked by. There’s also a lot of Sesame merch in the stores, including dolls of Telly and Prairie Dawn (seriously, how often do you see them in cuddly plush form?). One store was even playing a classic episode on their TV (episode 0926 to be exact), but no DVDs were available.
So, it was a good experience. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would, but it was still a fun movie. The 3D effects were great, the interactive theater was fun and the movie is pretty funny. So, if you go to Busch Gardens, make sure this is the first thing you do! Unless you get there late and have to wait for another showing.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier