Jim Henson Idea Man – Mama MOE Movie Review

Is Jim Henson Idea Man interesting for kids? Would your teens like this movie? As an adult, will you enjoy it? I’m going to share my thoughts with you in this review – no spoilers, as always.

I’m a 70s baby and 80s kids. This is important to note as I grew up as Jim Henson’s creations were being shown on TV. It was pure joy. I distinctly remember watching Sesame Street in the living room with my mom and sister. My mother had a chalk board right in the middle of the living room – an accompaniment to the show. We didn’t just watch Sesame Street. We sang it, we drew it, we danced it. Sesame Street was our home preschool and we loved it all.

While kid-me was living my best life in front of the TV grooving to songs and dancing to rhythms that have stood the test of time, Jim Henson was in the background, overseeing all these creations.  There was so much to the Sesame Street that I can appreciate even more now, as an adult. Growing up with it, Sesame Street was the best show on TV for kids, along side Reading Rainbow, Mr. Rogers and Canada’s Mr. Dressup. Those three shows taught me everything I needed to know about friendships, hardships, and every expression of creativity. They showed me anything is possible, with kindness. And just a little later, when a new Jim Henson show began, my sister and I adored pop songs mixed with these furry, felt creations known as The Muppets. The jokes, the satire, the parodies…we loved it all.

Then, we had the excitement of seeing movies with our beloved characters, and new ones. When The Dark Crystal and The Labyrinth came out, these movies were so different and they made each new marionette seem real. Unbelievably, these creations are stemmed from one genius mind – Jim Henson. Now everyone can enjoy the timeline of Henson’s creations as well as his creative mind in a new documentary, Jim Henson Idea Man.

The Synopsis

“Jim Henson Idea Man” takes us into the mind of this singular creative visionary, from his early years puppeteering on local television to the worldwide success of “Sesame Street,” “The Muppet Show,” and beyond. Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Ron Howard captures Henson’s restless creativity, ambition, and artistic evolution in the style and spirit of his complex subject, an artist who revolutionized television, inspired generations, and created some of the world’s most beloved characters. Featuring new interviews with Henson’s closest collaborators and children, as well as never-before-seen materials from his personal archives—including home movies, photographs, sketches, and diaries— Howard brings us an entertaining and insightful look at a man whose boundless imagination changed the world.

Is Jim Henson Idea Man for Kids?

Like any film about a person’s life, it may be too much for children to grasp every conversation. As interesting as this movie is, with tons of clips from Henson’s beloved children’s shows and movies, there is also discussion about family dynamics, loss, and work-life balance that may be boring to little ones.

Perfect for Teens

I cannot wait to re-watch this with my teens when it premieres on Disney+ on May 31, 2024. The fascinating part about this film is just how much Jim Henson pioneered. Think of geniuses as far back as Leonardo Da Vinci to more recently, Steve Jobs. Henson was ahead of his time in so many ways. He was also at the very start of new developments for television, animation and puppeteering. He didn’t just create puppets; he changed the whole industry with his genius creations. His team of puppeteers, as well as his family have so much to say about his craft and his method of creation.

For teens, it will be a refreshing look at how creativity can be celebrated, how art can be a career, and how innovation can be made in absolutely every field. Teens have a lot of pressure to “get it right” from the get-go. What’s the best program to get into, what field will help build your career financially, which path will give you the most stability…it’s enough to make your head spin. Seeing how Jim Henson’s career took different turns and how his journey was so important will be very interesting for teens.

This 80s Kid Loved It

I can tell you very honestly, as I watched Kermit the Frog sing his song, It’s Not Easy Being Green, I began to cry. When I was an innocent 80s kid, I watched this song and loved the tune, and I loved Kermit. Now this 80s kid is grown up and hearing that song again didn’t just bring me nostalgia, it also made me hear the lyrics with a very different heart.

And my cries turned into heavy sobs when the song Rainbow Connection played. Our world is hurting so much right now, as I know it hurt in different ways in the 70s and 80s. Jim Henson and his creative team didn’t just touch our hearts with their endearing Muppets, they touched our hearts with music and with words. As they were giving television us entertainment, they were also giving us much deeper thoughts to absorb. And I am forever grateful.

I still remember watching Jim Henson’s funeral on TV, and I cried then too. Harry Belafonte paid the most incredible tribute to Jim Henson talking about his humanity, and then he sang Turn The World Around. That episode of The Muppets with Harry Belafonte took my breath away as a child, when he sang with Muppets resembling African wooden masks….Jim Henson gave us so, so much. All 70s and 80s babies will forever have these songs and characters indwelled in our minds and in our hearts. Director Ron Howard has made a beautiful masterpiece for us to fall back on whenever we have the urge to remember the joy that Jim Henson gave us as children.

Disclosure: I was granted access to a pre-screening of Jim Henson Idea Man to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. 

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