Second First Time Viewer – “The Muppet Christmas Carol”

You almost got to see my commentary on this film before the people at The Dome UA did. That would’ve been exciting, yes? Anyway, I actually had a few things I felt I could’ve talked about, like, “How is Herman Cain still being considered as a viable candidate?” or something more religious oriented that I’ve discussed in part in my previous posts, based on what a friend of mine posited the other day. However, due to time constraints on my part, I grant you with my commentary on the fourth of the six feature films starring The Muppets. The newest movie (which will bump the number up to seven) comes out a week from today. Get excited, folks. And after that movie comes out, I’ll finally be able to actually do my Big Screen Ballyhoo segment I announced a long time ago. Because I’m going to go watch and review and hopefully love that movie. Anyway… Walmart tells me it’s Christmas time, so here’s a movie to match that.

“The Muppet Christmas Carol,” fourth film in the Muppet film series. It was produced in 1992, the first Muppet film to have no involvement from Jim Henson. He had unfortunately died two years before. Billed as a musical comedy adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” the movie remains pleasantly accurate and surprisingly dramatic/scary at some points. And with Michael Caine, a powerhouse in the acting world, this movie may actually be the best Muppet film out there yet. Not quite my favorite, but it is definitely in a battle to the death with “The Muppet Movie” for that title. Without a doubt, though, this is my favorite Dickens-related venture ever.

Oh, holy crap! Jim Henson AND Richard Hunt died before this movie was made? That’s… depressing. It’s good that Brian Henson was cool with picking up the slack in directing.

Michael Caine as Scrooge? …this and Muppets will likely make this movie the most tolerable Dickens feature yet.

I’m actually liking the random Muppety hustle and bustle in the opening here. Especially the presence of the dog from “Fraggle Rock.”

I like Gonzo as Dickens. This has the potential to be quite funny.

This song about Scrooge at the opening is a great mood setter. And a fun song.

…oh, God, those mice are ridiculously cute.

Was that a Muppet doing a puppet show? That’s… weird.

Proof Scrooge is someone everyone is deathly afraid of: Someone thanks him for not yelling at them after being bodily thrown out into the streets.

If only putting on some tropical outfits were enough to make things seem warmer.

It’s actually really difficult to constantly comment on this movie. It’s really keeping my attention. …so, that’s a good thing.

To sum up, Scrooge is a rather cruel, vindictive miser, his nephew is a cheery, optimistic ray of sunshine with huuuuuuuge cajones to act like that around Scrooge, and Rizzo is Gonzo/Dickens’ whipping boy.

I wonder how much of this dialogue is actually drawn directly from the original story.

Okay, seriously, the ONLY sign that Scrooge can be possibly redeemed from his shriveled up misery is the fact that he hasn’t yet killed his nephew for his cheekiness and suggestions of Scrooge’s generosity to the poor.

Beaker and Honeydew have to be new to this town, considering exactly how many people in the opening song knew Scrooge was more of a penny-pincher than the stereotypical Shylock-esque Jew.

Oh, a bunny! …I like bunnies. …this one is going to die, isn’t he?

Good, Kermit. Appeal to Scrooge’s desire to save money. Manipulate his lack of humanity. …I wonder if this is a fight they always have every year, or if this group was simply hired after the Marleys died?

The massive amount of positive thinking Bob Cratchit must have could power several cities, I bet, what with his ability to sing so cheerily despite working for Scrooge.

I want to hug that bunny and warm him up and keep him as a pet forever.

Okay, the door knocker changing to Statler’s face is simultaneously the coolest and creepiest effect I’ve seen in a Muppet movie. Excluding “The Dark Crystal,” which doesn’t really count.

What the heck is Rizzo, part squirrel?

“Hoity-toity, Mr. God-like smarty pants” is something I’d love to have been able to have said to Charles Dickens.

Ask not for whom the bell ring-a-lings, it ring-a-lings for you, Scrooge.

I like Scrooge’s explanation for seeing ghosts. “There’s more of gravy than of grave about you.”

Okay, “Marley and Marley” is probably my second favorite Muppet song ever.

I have to admit: Scrooge is actually pretty brave/stubborn. I probably would have eliminated my bladder if that happened to me.

Gonzo calling someone an idiot for jumping from a perilous height instead of walking? I figured he’d approve of that.

Sleeping Caine looks so young…

Okay. I know I’ve been too affected by Harry Potter when I thought Gonzo was going to shout “Expecto Patronum.”

I have absolutely no idea how that young girl ghost effect was made, but it’s pretty neat.

Ooh, light at the end of the tunnel is the past? That’ll make the afterlife more interesting.

Did Rizzo just say he’s from New Jersey? Who knew?

I am rather loving the Muppety busts of the great thinkers of the past. Needs more Socrates, though.

Skipping Christmas to get your 4.0? GPA kills childhoods!

Sam the Eagle is a British schoolmaster now? He keeps getting put in the wrong country.

…rubber chicken factory? …yeah, that sounds like 19th century London.

Mrs. Fozziwig sounds strangely like the old guy at the desk at the Happiness Hotel.

It wouldn’t be Electric Mayhem if they didn’t get really fast and crazy.

I admit: I don’t remember Scrooge being engaged. Tells you how much attention I pay to Dickens in general.

Wow. This song sounds just a little bit too upbeat to be a breakup song. In other news, this movie teaches children to marry without consideration for any financial cost. …of course, you could just get married without a massively lavish ceremony.

I love how this turned into a duet between the girl and Caine’s Scrooge.

Oh, God, Caine is crying. And it’s making me sad. It’s terrible when a good actor does sad roles, because it just makes you sad, too. ADMIT IT, YOU ARE SAD AS WELL.

In Scrooge’s defence, heartbreak is painful and can make a miser out of anyone.

Holy crap, that is a HUGE Muppet. Or, at least, he looks rather large. And seems rather dumb.

So, not really Ghost of Christmas Present, but rather Ghost of the Christmas That’s Scheduled to Happen Today.

Scrooge is dancing? I guess he just needed a good cry and a good song.

What the heck are those frog monster Muppets?

…Oh, wow. Sucks to find out your nephew/only family thinks so lowly of you despite being such a cheerful fellow.

Wow, Chef Piggy sounds creepy.

Oh, God, there’s three Piggies. Kermit’s screwed.

Was that a squeaky toy Miss Piggy had while hugging Kermit?

Insulting Scrooge’s clothing? Gasp! That’s just stepping over the line.

Dying spirit says, “Eat your own words, Scrooge! EAT THEM.”

Oh, snap. The next spirit is The Nothing. Scrooge, you’re so screwed. Oh, no wait. It’s a Nazgul. …still screwed.

Okay, the swirly time tunnel effect? Also very cool. This Muppet movie is going crazy special on the effects.

For some reason, the spider Muppet makes me think of Fagan. I’m getting my Dickens all mixed up.

Oh, God. The “Tiny Tim is dead” scene is so depressing. This movie keeps trying to make me cry. That’s just uncalled for.

You would never expect a Muppet movie to show how amazing an actor is, but Caine is phenomenal in this film.

I didn’t even realize exactly how much better than entire segment with Christmas Yet To Come was without Gonzo narrating.

And the bunny child runs off with the money, destroying all the good Scrooge feels now.

Why is no one asking if Scrooge is drunk or stoned? Most complete 180s in personality are suspicious as hell.

Old Fozzie and Old Sam look awesome.

It’s good to see Piggy still has anger problems.

And now the Cratchits are hosts to the entire town. I don’t care how big that turkey is, it won’t feed that many people and Muppets.

Holy crap, there’s a LINE to get in on this Christmas dinner. Or at least to see the freakish personality shift in Scrooge. Little known fact: Scrooge sold tickets. He may be happier, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like money.

Y’know what, screw “It’s a Wonderful Life.” THIS is the movie that needs to be on TV every year.

Hey, look, I’m man enough to admit, I teared up a couple of times during this movie. Michael Caine is phenomenal in this film (which is not surprising), and the movie finds an amazing balance between Muppety hilarity, faithful story telling, and heart-wrenching drama. There’s not much else for me to say, other than forget RottenTomatoes.com. If there’s something that website has completely wrong, it’s their ratings for the Muppet films. Humbug.

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