The Blue Elephant is Coming to DVD on September 2!

Hi all!

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.

[rating:2/4]

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!

–Fitz

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Comments

  1. I don’t understand why they are wanting to put Jim Henson’s name on something that has nothing to do with his original creation. This is not “jim henson’s muppets in…the blue elephant.” To me its like putting Orville Reddenbacher’s name on BBQ sauce or waterbeds.

    If this is something Brian Henson’s involved with, he could have easily said “Brian Henson presents…” and people know his name enough for it to be worth mentioning.

    Does Disney still own the Muppets or was that spun off…

    HoundsGoods last blog post..A Tale of Three Puppies

  2. Yes, Disney still owns the Muppets. And they’re finally starting to do things with them, albeit cheesy TV shows pairing them with their other properties like High School Musical and Hannah Montana. I do hear tell there might be another Muppet movie in the works, though. I’d be nice to see Kermit do something other than schill. (Although, the new voice guy just isn’t working for me. Not sure why; it just isn’t.)

    Agree that this kind of dilutes the Jim Henson brand. But isn’t that typical of the later generations? Look at Ford, for example. Sigh. I want Jim Henson to stand for great quality puppetry, not be a “good housekeeping” kind of deal that just makes parents knee-jerk react to buy stuff.

    Sesame Street Birthdays last blog post..Sesame Street Music: Make a game with music at your Sesame Street party

  3. Definitely watered down and I agree with the comment about Brian Henson though… It’s just sad to see all of these great properties we grew up with go down the tubes.

    I am however glad that the original Muppet Show seasons are now on DVD so I can share them with my kids. Same with the original Warner Brothers cartoons and other greats from those eras. Much better than some of today’s stuff on TV that’s just there to sell toys.

    –Fitz

  4. Henson seems to be very high on 3D animation right now. With the Unstable Fables line of titles, this Blue Elephant release, and Sid the Science Kid (coming Sept on PBS), it seems like perhaps they’re moving out of the puppetry arena and into something else. It’s an interesting move (even if it makes for less interesting video releases like this one).

  5. Everyone seems to be a little down on this movie without knowing its history. Everyone thinks that Jim Henson co was involved in the original production.

    Khan Kluay was the highest grossing Thai movie in 2006. You can read about it here – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0815890/

    Jim Henson Co deserves credit for bringing a popular foreign movies to the english speaking world – or do the commenters above also think that Disney had no place bringing Spirited Away and other great Japanese animation to them ?

    On the other hand if Jim Henson Co has destroyed the story in attempts to make it more accessible to the US audience then I will bring the matches to the burning 🙂

  6. I have no issues with Khan Kluay becoming popular in the US. Disney has been providing animated (both traditional and CGI-based) movies to our markets for years and years. So the thought of them bringing Miyazaki’s work over from Japan isn’t quite as unnerving as Jim Henson being associated with this CGI animated feature. Jim Henson in the US has been long associated with quality live programming — the Muppets, Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street, and so on — for years and years. So to suddenly find the Jim Henson name on a CGI animated film without any precedent is kind of shocking to us.

    And it wasn’t that the story was bad. It just wasn’t animated as well as some of the other current animated features have been in the United States lately. Pixar and Blue Sky don’t have the market on CGI animated films by any stretch – but they definitely have the quality issue under control. The Blue Elephant just didn’t hold up to that level.

    So more power to Thai movies coming to the US. I’m good with that. We live in a global marketplace. I would just hope that Jim Henson’s name would have found its way on to a more quality finished product than we saw with this movie.

    No offense meant to the creators of the film obviously. It takes a heck of a budget to compete with the big boys. And they did have a great story to tell. But the animation just didn’t work for me. Sorry. Other people may have different opinions.

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