Elmo’s World: Wild Wild West

Elmo’s World: Wild Wild West (2001)
Sony Music
Extras: Monster Clubhouse short, Hero Guy short, Dance Lesson, Sing-a-long, Games

For those of you who aren’t up to date with the latest trends with the pre-school set, Elmo is a furry, red Muppet from the PBS show ’Sesame Street’. Elmo has become so popular, he has been given his own 15-minute segment of ’Sesame Street’ entitled, oddly enough, ’Elmo’s World’. Here, Elmo discusses a particular topic, such as dogs, babies, or farm animals. ’Elmo’s World: Wild, Wild West’ is the first ’Elmo’s World’ created specifically for home video, and is runs twice as long as the segments featured on ’Sesame Street’.

In ’Wild, Wild West’, Elmo explores the elements which made up the wild frontier. He learns a special cowboy dance from his friends, the Noodle Brothers (Bill Irwin & Michael Jeter) and a newcomer, Cowgirl Noodle (Broadway’s Kristen Chenoweth). Elmo is also visited by country music legend Travis Tritt, who joins Elmo is singing a wild-west song. ’Sesame Street’ stalwart Grover has a brief segment in which he learns to square-dance. As you can tell, ’Elmo’s World: Wild, Wild West’ is, in no way, meant to be a history lesson about the settling of the American West. Rather, it is simply a fun program in which Elmo introduces youngsters to words and concepts which are connected to the West and cowboys. Most adults will probably be bored to tears with this program (although, Grover is always entertaining), but children, especially those who love Elmo, will simply eat it up.

As ’Elmo’s World: Wild, Wild West’ is based on a TV show, and is aimed at children, the DVD from Sony Wonder is presented full-frame. The picture is razor sharp and very clear, making it comparable to digital broadcast quality. The colors are bright and true, with Elmo’s signature red floor showing no signs of bleeding or distortion. The Dolby 2.0 Surround is adequate, producing clear dialogue and some surround effects during the songs. Given the fact that ’Sesame Street’ has always encouraged a bilingual approach, it is truly surprising (and a bit ironic) that there are no alternate audio tracks or subtitles on this release.

This DVD contains two bonus segments from ’Sesame Street’, ’Monster Clubhouse’ (which is incredibly annoying) and ’Hero Guy’. In a bit of clever programming, these two segments can naturally be accessed from the extra features menu, but they are also built into ’Elmo’s World’ as the last two chapters, giving children the feeling of watching an episode of ’Sesame Street’. There is a special section which breaks down the Noodle Cowboy Dance into separate steps, so that children may learn it. There are also sing-a-longs and a matching game. With these extras, this DVD should keep youngsters busy for hours.