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Sony Family Wonder presents
CinderElmo (1999)

"Oh, look! A shooting star! Elmo wishes he could go to the ball tonight and dance with the beautiful Princess."
- CinderELmo (Elmo)

Review By: Alexandra Orozco   
Published: May 23, 2000

Stars: Kevin Clash
Other Stars: Kathy Najimy, Oliver Platt, French Stewart, and Keri Russell
Director: Bruce Leddy

MPAA Rating: G
Run Time: 00h:45m:00s
Release Date: February 09, 2000
UPC: 074645529493
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A AA-B- B-

DVD Review

CinderElmo is the tale of a three-year-old red monster who lives with his Stepmother and his two step brothers, and dreams of someday dancing with the Princess. CinderElmo is based on the Cinderella archetype, except some of the roles are reversed. This puppet comedy starts off with Gonzo, the time teller, shouting "Five o'clock and all is well," in the middle of Sesame Square. Then a man shouts at Gonzo from a window, and says that things aren't well because he was woken up, then someone starts to sing and the sun comes up. The two of them discover they are in a musical, and the man gets frustrated and closes the window. This is funny because they do not realize that they are on TV, in a musical until Gonzo stares toward the audience. Then a voice comes as if it has drifted to the home of CinderElmo, and starts with the fairy tale format of the words, "Once upon a time..."

CinderElmo (Kevin Clash) is dreaming, and in that dream he is dancing with the Princess (Keri Russell), and is having a great time until he is awakened by his Stepmother (Kathy Najimy). I like this stepmother better than the Cinderella version, because she does not seem as evil or cold-hearted, but still there is a dislike for CinderElmo from his Stepmother. When his Stepmother teases him with her invitation to the Princess's eighteenth birthday ball, and he can't go because he has to do a list of chores, CinderElmo's heart is broken, because he loves the Princess and wants to dance with her.

Soon he feels a little better because he is asked to dust, and CinderElmo LOVES dusting. He dusts everything in the house, including the crackers and cheese. Everyone in the house breaks into song and dance about dusting, then they all get to work, including the stepmother. I like this because Elmo gets so happy about such a simple thing, and this is probable the only thing that he likes that he is allowed to do, even if it is a chore.

While at the palace a problem has arisen, the Princess needs to pick someone to marry by midnight of her eighteenth birthday, or the King loses the whole land of Sesame. The Princess's last hope is to pick a suitor at the ball, but she argues that the same suitors are always at the balls and she is not interested in any of them. So she and her father agree to invite every unmarried man and monster in the land. Grover, the King's assistant, marches around the land of Sesame and tells everyone, man and monster, that they are invited to Princess Charming's Eighteenth-Birthday-Holiday-Find-A-Husband ball!

Now that everyone is invited to the ball, the Stepmother decides to spy on the Princess to see if her sons can do something that will get the Princess to notice them, so she gets out her telescope. What the Stepmother think she sees is the Princess practicing a new dance, but the Princess is really trying to get the water out of her ears. This is funny because the princess is hopping around and shaking her head, and the Stepmother is so desperate to get her sons noticed, that she thinks this is a new dance. The Stepmother teaches this "dance" to her sons, but they are not to good at it and she gets upset when she sees CinderElmo, in the corner doing this new secret dance well. So when Cookie Monster, who is the baker and the Post Monster General, delivers CinderElmo an invitation to the ball, his Stepmother says that CinderElmo can not go because he is not presentable enough for the ball.

The night arrives and the Stepmother and brothers leave for the ball, and lock CinderElmo inside. Then CinderElmo sees a shooting star, and wishes he could go to the ball and dance with the Princess. Frank (Oliver Platt), a Fairy Godfather appears, and after a song he tells CinderElmo to get cleaned up, and then he will figure out the rest. CinderElmo is unsure of himself, but Frank tells him it is not what you look like that makes you special, it is you, the person you are. After he cleans CinderElmo up and dresses him in fancy clothing, Frank makes a carriage out of a dog bowl and horse out of mice—but all the stuff will disappear by midnight.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: (Editor's Note: While not perfect, this is a wonderful 1.33:1 image transfer. Scan lines are evident, and there are minor cases of pixelation here and there, but nothing your kids will notice. Important in any Muppet extravaganza, colors are bright and well rendered, without bleeding. On occasion the red seems cranked, but if your kid notices I'll be pretty shocked!! A very nice transfer from Sony.)

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: (Editor's Note: Sometimes you don't realize how spoiled you are with all the Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks out there, and when you get a DVD with a PCM track you want to jump up and down like your kids when they don't get their way! Okay, so there won't be any rear activity or discrete directionality in this yeoman-like, center-heavy mix. The dialogue is well rendered though, so the kids won't have a problem understanding this dirty red tale come clean. Truth be told, this track comes through when it has to, as with the nice sweep across the front stage at approximately 15 minutes in—when Oliver Platt arrives on the scene. Worst case scenario, your kids will make you stop stomping around for lack of a 5.1 track, and send you to your room—so they can watch Elmo in peace.)

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
5 TV Spots/Teasers
3 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. "Meet the Cast," "A Day on the Set," and "Favorite Scenes" behind-the scenes featurettes
  2. Trivia Game
  3. Highlights from CinderElmo CD and cassette
Extras Review: "Do You remember the story?" Trivia Game

Asks 7 questions in three categories about CinderElmo.

Behind the Scenes

Three behind-the-scenes looks at what went on, what the actors think, and clips from favorite scenes with a little commentary from the actors.

More DVD Titles From Sesame Street

This includes five Sesame Street teasers, from Elmopalooza!, Elmo Saves Christmas, One, Two Three, Count With Me, Sesame Street's 25th Birthday: A Musical Celebration, Do The Alphabet.

Highlights from CinderElmo CD and Cassette

In this section you can choose to listen to only three out of the ten listed songs, which are all in the movie and on the soundtrack.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

I think this is a great DVD for kids because it shows them that they can do any thing they want no matter what anyone else days about them. Also, kids would enjoy the extras, and if you are not an Elmo fan already, you will be, this fury monster will melt your heart.


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