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Sunday, February 28, 2016


One of the original Sesame Street gang, Cookie Monster, gets to do his thing in the new Sesame Street/Warner Home Entertainment DVD release SESAME STREET: THE COOKIE THIEF.

The ever-popular big blue monster with an insatiable craving for cookies (his catchphrase is, simply: "COOOOO-KIEEEE!") and a rather informal way with the English language ("Me am sorry!") comes to us with approx. two hours of misadventures designed to plant little tidbits of grammar, vocabulary, numbers, and history into our fertile minds while we're being entertained.

This time we (meaning us kids, of course) get a little art appreciation too when Cookie Monster visits a cookie art museum with human friend Chris (Gordon and Susan's nephew) and lovable mini-monster Elmo.   There, the three visit their friend Prairie Dawn, who's working as a tour guide, and peruse such masterpieces as Leonardo de Crunchy's "Muncha Lisa", Vincent Van Dough's "The Cookie Eaters", and Edward Munch's "The Cream" (which involves cream-filled cookies, of course).

The big dramatic conflict occurs when these precious art objects start to disappear one by one and Cookie Monster, who earlier expressed a strong desire to eat them, gets the blame. 

Saturday Night Live's Rachel Dratch chews the scenery herself as the head museum guard, finding the time to sing a song or two while keeping her penguin staff in line.  A raucous finale finds Cookie Monster and friends enlisting the aid of friendly fairy Abby Cadabby to help them discover the real art thief in time for a happy ending to the story.

The digital FX of the museum interiors and all the talking paintings and other characters are nicely done as is all the various muppetry, and Chris (Christopher Knowings) is one of the more likable of Sesame Street's human personalities.  Dratch is amusing as usual, and overall the segment is lots of fun.

But that's hardly all, as a variety of breezy segments round out the DVD's main menu. Michael Stipe and R.E.M. join the Muppets for a rousing rendition of "Furry Happy Monsters", and there's also a "Make Your Own Art" song and a song about primary colors which involves some nice stop-motion animation of humans. 

Another great stop-motion story has the classic comedy duo of Bert and Ernie dreaming that they're museum guards who enter a painting to help an artist in distress, and features great animation on a level with Wallace and Gromit. 

Yet another hour (give or take) awaits on the bonus menu with a vintage Sesame Street episode and two visits to "Elmo's World." 

Here, the hapless Cookie Monster gets falsely accused of cookie theft yet again--this time due to the exploits of a mysterious stranger known as Cookie Hood, who steals cookies from those who have a lot of them and gives them to those who don't have any.

As before, Cookie Monster is the most likely suspect, which, I suppose, teaches kids that false accusations can strike at any time!  Also appearing are humans Maria and Gordon and Muppet regulars such as the Count, Big Bird, Snuffle-upagus, and our old friend Grover. 

Elmo, meanwhile, keeps preschool viewers occupied in his colorful crayon-scrawled world with episodes exploring food and drawing in exhaustive detail with the help of the Muppets, human kids, Elmo's goldfish Dorothy, and Bill Irwin's ever-popular moron Mr. Noodle. 

The DVD from Warner Home Entertainment is in standard full screen with Dolby sound and subtitles in English. 

As one of the superstars of Sesame Street, Cookie Monster knows how to entertain the kids (and us) while teaching a few things in his own clumsy, furry-monster kind of way.  And with such a colorful supporting cast, SESAME STREET: THE COOKIE THIEF is sure-fire fun for young and old.

Street date: March 1, 2016


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