Travis McClain’s review published on Letterboxd:
Like many kids, I grew up watching Sesame Street. I remember being taken by my parents to see Sesame Street Live! on stage, which dates the experience since that means they were still together. Follow That Bird was released in 1985, though, after I aged out of the viewing demographic and had moved on to other shows. Maybe I saw it on TV at some point, but I honestly can't say that I have any recollection of having ever seen this movie before this morning.
What drew me to pick it up on DVD at all was knowing that Waylon Jennings was in it. He shared a bemusing anecdote in his autobiography about the filming. He was friends with Carol Spinney, who performs Big Bird, which is how he came to be part of the film. They were sitting together in the truck, Spinney having removed the top half of the Big Bird costume. Both were smoking (tsk, tsk!) when they smelled something strange. Spinney had caught the Big Bird costume on fire!
There are some confusing story ideas here, given the very young target demographic age of Sesame Street. Big Bird eschews the Dodo family basically because they're stupid. That seems a little judgmental, though I can definitely empathize with his disappointment and frustration. It's also peculiar that not only does Big Bird not try harder to communicate with the Dodo family, no one ever even says to him, "When you have a problem you can't just run away, you need to try to solve it" or anything of the sort. Way to instill those proper problem-solving skills!
Those issues aside, the pace is brisk enough that the predictability of the story doesn't have much time to be a drag. My three favorite Muppets are Cookie Monster, Count von Count and Oscar the Grouch. All three feature in this film, though there's a lot more of Oscar than there is of the other two combined. The Count has maybe the best bit in the entire film, though, introducing (and then closing) the end credits. I wonder how many audiences ever even knew about that, since even now it's almost unheard of for anyone to stay through the end credits of any movie.
How Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird Entered My Flickchart
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird > Bonnie and Clyde --> #749
I enjoyed Warren Beatty's manic performance in Bonnie and Clyde, but I was actually more entertained by Follow That Bird.
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird < Sleepy Hollow --> #749
If Follow That Bird had featured more Cookie Monster, I'd pick it here. Going with Sleepy Hollow, though, because I love the mood and look of the whole thing.
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird < The Natural --> #749
It's been way too long since I last saw The Natural, but I remember enough of it to pick it here. Follow That Bird is fun, but not particularly special.
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird < Daddy Day Care --> #749
I got a kick out of Daddy Day Care, particularly Steve Zahn's character and the kids who dressed as The Flash and spoke Klingon. Follow That Bird has the better soundtrack, though.
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird > Iron Man --> #702
I dunno why, but I just didn't respond to Iron Man the way most viewers did. Follow That Bird isn't flashy or anything, but it's fun and I like it enough to pick it here.
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird > Captain America: The First Avenger --> #679
Captain America: The First Avenger was decent, but perfunctory and not terribly imaginative. Follow That Bird was predictable and simplistic, but fun. It gets the nod.
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird > Creeptales --> #667
I found the stories in Creeptales more interesting, but I just felt better having watched Follow That Bird. That general feeling tips the scales.
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird > Anger Management --> #661
It was kinda fun to watch Jack Nicholson spar with Adam Sandler, but not as much fun as watching Oscar the Grouch leading what had to have been one of the most miserable road trips ever.
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird < Batman: Gotham Knight --> #661
Follow That Bird features Waylon Jennings and my three favorite Muppets (Cookie Monster, The Count and Oscar), but I'm going with the Batman anthology here for being more interesting.
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird entered my Flickchart at #661/1498