“I Am Big Bird” is the second amazing Muppet documentary after “Being Elmo”. However, I felt that “Being Elmo” was far more of history of the character and Kevin Clash. “I Am Big Bird” wants you to understand what makes a performer/artist/entertainer create and stay creating. A history of failure, missed opportunities and the desire to keep going is what greets you with this film. For those of you that we’re moved by Spinney’s AMA Reddit from this week…get ready for more of the same here.
Spinney takes you through meeting his wife, becoming a puppeteer and nailing down the psychology of Big Bird. Big Bird is more than the other Muppets in the sense that the character must live in Spinney’s heart. A childlike being that radiates pure love and obsesses with wanting to commune with others. The various stories about kids not being able to understand that Big Bird is a creation and not a person is charming. However, it leads me to a problem with the film’s title.
Caroll Spinney constantly repeats that he isn’t Big Bird. Big Bird is a character that he created and helped to live as an icon that lives in the collective hearts of viewers. Think about Big Bird and try to harbor a negative thought against the big guy. Unless you’re going out of your way to be spiteful, it’s hard to hate such pure joy. Big Bird is Life. Big Bird is Love.
While the documentary is a quick jaunt, the image of Spinney nearing the end of his creative life stays with me. I hope that Frank Oz will agree to a similar documentary when the time comes. Too often, we forget the puppeteers and let their achievements fade to memory. These are men and women dedicated to creating something that exists as the first achievements that a child experiences on an artistic level. That is so insanely important that it makes me enjoy this documentary in a way that I haven’t enjoyed a documentary in ages. The DVD comes with deleted scenes including a fun bit with Michael Jackson. The A/V Quality is pretty sharp for a recent documentary. I’d recommend a purchase to all.
Release Date: 8/11/15