Before I get into this review, I have to start with a little story. Once upon a time, there was a boy who believed that Jim Henson was a god among men. He had the Midas touch combining storytelling with lovable puppets. And things were good. The Muppets were amazing and still have the magic Henson gave them at birth. The Dark Crystal was a movie that would affect me as a child and stay with me as an adult. My two girls still love Sesame Street and are in love with Elmo. And things are good.
So keep that in mind when I say that to see the Jim Henson name on this movie kind of makes me cringe.
With all of the great animated films that have come out in the last few years, including Horton Hears a Who and Wall-E, you’d think that the people controlling the Jim Henson name would at least want the brand to appear on a great product. Wouldn’t you think that was the case?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be.
The only thing I can say that worked for the film was the story. Khan is a young elephant who goes on a quest to find his father, gets lost, and has an adventure with some new friends while learning some important lessons about family, love, and courage.
The cast includes voices from Carl Reiner, Martin Short, and Miranda Cosgrove. Martin Short does a fun job as the messenger bird who is Khan’s friend. And in typical Martin Short fashion, he was a bit over the top in a fun way. 🙂
So what didn’t work? The animation. With all the amazing animated features coming out these days from Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age, Ice Age 2, Horton Hears a Who?, Robots), Pixar (Wall-E, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo), and others, I was kind of shocked by the so-so CGI animation.
And beyond the animation there were the transitions. Or rather the lack thereof. We went from one scene to a black screen and then to the next scene. Not the worst transitions, but I’ve seen better.
Did I hate this film? No. My girls (ages 3 and 7) really seemed to enjoy it. But I don’t look forward to any of the other titles arriving from this joint Jim Henson Company and Weinstein Company combination. (One of them was an update of the Tortoise and the Hare. The trailer didn’t do much for me.)
Am I being hard on this film? Maybe. In an era of Veggie Tales, Backyardigans, and Bob the Builder, I’d expect more from the Jim Henson Company.
If you have young children, it’s probably worth renting when it becomes available on September 2nd. But I’d rent it before you bought it.
This gets a 2/4. Not much to make it stand out from the back of the crowd unfortunately.
So until next time, go see a movie!