Since this is a time travel adventure on Christmas, I'm going to break the review into parts, like I did for my review on "Back To The Future". As all good (Or most) time travel adventures start, lets go to the present.
ELMO'S CHRISTMAS WISH
The story is simple, really. Elmo gets a magic snow globe from Santa Claus and Elmo wishes it was Christmas every day. Santa has a reindeer in training named Lighting to take Elmo to the future to show him the consequences of what he wished for. The story is narrated by Maya Angelou who gives a great narration throughout the special.
In the opening scene, it's Christmas Eve on Sesame Street and every Muppet and human is there singing a jolly Christmas song "It's Christmas Again". I'm not kidding, almost every character from the late 90s is in this special such as Big Bird, Snuffy, Cookie Monster, Kermit, The Count, Grover, Baby Bear, Zoey, Telly, Oscar and our star Elmo. Wait, where's Bert and Ernie you might ask, oh they're barley in it, shocker isn't it and they don't even say anything. You also have the human characters who you may remember growing up with in the 90s such as Bob, Gordon, Maria and Luis and their daughter Gabi, Mr.Handford and even the 14 Karat Soul singing in great Harmony. All of them especially Elmo, are exactly how we know them growing up, they're sweet, lovable, funny and cute.
Elmo's new friend Lighting is just as lovable as all the other characters on the show. He's not just a new friend, but he also hopes to one day pull Santa's Sleigh and if his mission works, he will get the chance. Lighting is so fast that he can travel through time like Superman. Yeah, if you weren't too happy about how Superman saved the world and Lois in the first movie, chances are you're going to be pissed. Me, I don't find it that big of a deal cause he's Superman but I'm a bit ticked that they ripped off Superman as well as the theme song. Santa is played by two time Oscar nominee Charles Durning whopreviously played the villain Doc Hopper in "The Muppet Movie". His portrayal of Santa lacks the jolliness in the character, but for some reason I can't help but feel that his performance brings a bit of a twinkle as he plays Santa. He also makes me smile and get a bit emotional when he sings the song, "Every Day Can't Be Christmas", it’s just heartwarming.
Now that the present is covered lets go to Christmas in the FUTURE!
CHRISTMAS IN SPRING TIME
Its Christmas in Spring on “Sesame Street” and almost everyone is happy. Maria and Luis are happy not to be working; Count is happy to be counting Christmas days; and the choir and the people of "Sesame Street" are singing "It's Christmas Again" in a Spring time tune. The Easter Bunny (Who I'm hoping is a mascot) played by Harvey Fierstein brings a fun performance as he sings and dances, while selling his "Christmas Eggs" to a catchy song called "Give Your Friend An Easter Egg For Christmas". However, Grover is nearly out of Christmas Trees and is selling "Previously used ones" with no needles. Big Bird is sad that Snuffy is spending Christmas time in another city and keeps writing letters to him however, the Post Office is closed. This is really sad, but has he tried calling him, he better be doing that in the next visit. Come on, lets go BACK TO THE FUTURE!
CHRISTMAS IN JULY
CHRISTMAS ON THE 25TH
ELMO SAVES CHRISTMAS
I really don't think I'm giving anything away since the title clearly says "Elmo Saves Christmas", a clever title would be "How Elmo Ruined Christmas". Like I said, if you didn't like the ending to the first Superman movie, you're going to be pissed cause this is the route they take to save Christmas. Once again, I'm ok with that, however, I do have a few questions. How did Lighting manage to take Elmo to same exact spot, same position, and same clothing he was wearing the night he saved Santa? Did Lighting take Elmo sometime earlier on Christmas Eve, well if that's the case, shouldn't there be another Elmo somewhere. Maybe he and Lighting emerged into their past selves body, but wait, did they also emerge into their future selves bodies, cause everyone looks like they've seen Elmo before instead of asking him where he's been? Also where did Santa get the Moobunny from, he made it in the future not the present? Oh by the way, guess where Snuffy was the whole time? He was in “Sesame Street” cause his Granny came to see him and you didn't see Big Bird because... screw it, Snuffy's a nasty friend. I also question why everyone has to celebrate Christmas every day, is the world going to end if they don't celebrate? It's not like someone is making them celebrate Christmas every day, why not treat it like a normal day and celebrate Christmas on the day it should be celebrated? Man, no wonder this film confused me as a kid?
Before I end the review with my final thoughts, I just want to point out I loved the use of footage from "It's A Wonderful Life". In the specia,l it's on TV all the time on Christmas (Kind of like how "A Christmas Story" is on TV all the time during Christmas) and not only do they choose classic clips from the film, but they show them at the right moments. Before Elmo meets Santa who knows everything about him, he's watching the scene when George meets his guardian Angel who tells him he knows "Everything about him". Before Kermit announces its Christmas everyday on the news, the people at the store are watching George tell Mary what he's going to do "Tomorrow, the next day, and the year after that" and after the announcement the TV cuts back to film where George saying "This is a very interesting situation". They also play the scene when George is yelling "Merry Christmas" to everyone when Elmo finds out that there's nothing else on TV (Really...okay). The best moment is when Bert and Ernie are watching a blurry broken TV as they hear their names being shouted at by George and when they hear their names, they're in shock (I guess they're the only ones who don't know about the film's 24 hour run). The scene where that scene is taking place is during the "Pottersville" sequence, while “Sesame Street” and Christmas looks like trash.
The film has tons of plot holes, betrayal of good characters, makes you feel puzzled after watching the film, and I still watch it. It's very rare of me to still like a film or TV show I use to watch as a kid that has tons of flaws and rubbish such as "Teletubbies", "Barney","Inspector Gadget The Movie","Scooby Doo The Movie" and so on, but as flawed as the film is, it still brings that Christmas feel. The casting of celebrities is fine; the story may not be well written, but it still manages to get it's moral across; the songs are unforgettable; the appearances from The Muppets are fun, cute, and nostalgia; and on a personal note, I wouldn't be watching "It's A Wonderful Life" as a kid if it wasn't for this film. I also get chills when all the characters would stand around the Christmas Tree and sing the classic "Sesame Street" Christmas song "Keep Christmas With You" and after the credits, you see a classic clip from "It's A Wonderful Life" and Elmo wishing you a "Merry Christmas". It's not great, but it's not terrible either, it’s a love or hate film but it's mostly a guilty pleasure.