Plot: What’s it about?
That infamous ball of feathers, Big Bird, has just learned that he is soon leaving his comfortable nest on Sesame Street, for the scenic shores of Ocean View, Illinois. Of course, the giant yellow turkey is shaken by this turn of events, but the social worker insists that Big Bird needs to be with his own kind, so the old massive giblet heads off to Ocean View. His new family is the Dodos, but as soon as Big Bird arrives, he realizes this is no more his real home than he is a guy inside of a poorly crafted costume, so he decides to return to Sesame Street. Since the slow, lumbering Big Bird is unable to flap his huge wings and fly himself back to Gordon and his other friends, he packs his enormous suitcase and sets his gigantic feet to the road. But this will be not be as smooth as Big Bird thinks, as he soon runs into Chevy Chase, various members of SCTV, and even some of the horrific Muppets, all of whom want to get the scoop on this freakishly large canary colored behemoth that stands before them. Is Big Bird ever going to make it back to Sesame Street and if not, will anyone tell him how to get there?
If you’ve ever wanted to see the Sesame Street crew take on the big screen, then Follow That Bird was your moment of wonder. I never liked the series even as a child, but I did like some of the characters, though Big Bird was not one of them. So even as a non fan of the material, I am shocked to see how poor Warner’s treatment of the film is. In addition to a lame, full frame only visual effort, Warner has included minimal extras, leaving fans out in the cold. This is a shame, as the movie has some terrific scenes and even though the show never clicked with me, I actually had fun watching Follow That Bird. Yes, it could be that The Count and Oscar the Grouch just rattle my nerves enough to be likable, but that is not the entire reason. I found this to be a well written film that is aimed at children, but has elements that parents can appreciate also. Almost all of the Sesame Street regulars can be seen here, including that red ball of trouble Elmo, who makes his debut in Follow That Bird. I wouldn’t say this is a riotous movie with non stop laughs, but it has some good scenes, though thanks to Warner, very few will want to own this DVD.
Video: How does it look?
Follow That Bird is presented in a full frame transfer, as opposed to the intended widescreen aspect ratio. I am baffled as to why Warner has opted to not include a widescreen option, but it was a mistake and I am certain sales will suffer. I think this film was intended to be shown at about 1.66:1, so the difference is not massive, but with the potential anamorphic transfer that comes with widescreen, the image could have looked much better. Even taken on its own merits, this is a lackluster visual effort and it is obvious Warner didn’t put much into this release, it seems rushed and haphazard. This is a soft, VHS level transfer most of the time, with more grain & print defects than expected, with minimal scenes that look up to decent standards. Is this treatment watchable? Yes, but if you’re a fan of the film, you’ll feel insulted by how little time & effort Warner has chosen to invest in the visual presentation here.
Audio: How does it sound?
As bad as the video is, the audio manages to be good, even very good at times, so let’s be thankful for small blessings on this one. The audio is clean and has more depth than expected, especially for this kind of material. But with all the songs and such, the 2.0 surround option gets to show off a little and on the whole, the mix is terrific. The surrounds are mostly used for the music, but some other sound effects can be heard there, which is nice. No issues with the dialogue either, as vocals seem crisp and easy to understand at all times. This disc also includes Spanish and Portuguese language options, as well as subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, should you need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes direct song access, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.