Tag Archives: Brian Henson

Second First Time Viewer – “Muppet Treasure Island”

So, I fully plan to, tomorrow (when I’m not getting home at 11 at night) to go back to talking about things slightly less Muppety and slightly more political. After watching this video, it’s only fair for me to lay out my argument for why we should oust all of Congress and start treating it like jury duty. But, as I said, more on that tomorrow. For now, you get this Muppet commentary from my The Dome UA blog. One movie left before next week’s hopefully awesome addition to the series.
Alright. “Muppet Treasure Island,” the second Muppets foray into literary interpretation (and, if we discount the made-for-TV critically panned “The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz,” the last). With Jim Henson’s son Brian Henson once again stepping into the role of director for the second and final time, this 1996 film was an interpretation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.” It’s a story we’ve likely all seen or read in some fashion or another. As popular a story as it is, the Muppets were of course going to try their hand at it. It’s interesting to see them tackle a slightly more adult tale and put the traditional Muppet twist on it.

Brian Henson still at the helm hopefully means this will be awesome.

Tim Curry and Billy Connolly? …nice.

This opening song is very piratey and ominous. And SOOOO much better than that crap at the beginning of the third “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.

What the heck were those mosquito Muppets? That was weird.

…murder in the air? …These Muppet movies are getting quite glib about some pretty scary stuff.

Wow. Flint just shot and killed his crew in cold blood. During a musical number. …yep. This Muppet movie has definitely set a tone QUITE early on. I might be slightly scared were I a kid watching this.

Seriously. Make your own judgment, but mine is “Scaaaaaaaaary…”

Oh, crazy drunk Irishman. Lovely.

That tankard had no bottom. It is, without a doubt, the worst tankard in the history of tankards.

Hm. This innkeeper is rather… Abrupt. Yeah, that’s the word.

When the heck did Gonzo and Rizzo become the Muppets spokesmuppets?

How does the innkeeper do what, Gonzo? Hear you all right outside shouting loudly and respond?

Okay. I may be being nitpicky, since I’m a singer, but I’m not fond of the airy, almost nose-held quality of young Jim Hawkins’ singing.

Who gave the drunk a loaded sword?

Does the “How does she do that” have to become a running gag? The answer is, you all are very loud.

Random blind Muppet is only slightly more clumsy than most of the Muppets.

That shaking of the paper only seems really exaggerated. Much like Connolly’s scared, screaming face. Billy, I am disappoint.

Ah. At least Rizzo noticed that the dead person was a little more adult that one would think.

The humor in this movie is seeming a little forced at times. Like the Jimmy-Jim-Jim-Jim-Jimmy-Jim-repeat ad nauseum.

Every pirate’s gear should include glasses with a fake mustache and nose.

I admit, I like that the movie got educational for a brief moment. Well, at least as educational as Weird Al has ever gotten with the running with scissors warning.

Ah. Looks like it’s time for the Muppets to prove they’re worse pirates than anyone could imagine. Being lead by a blind guy can’t help.

Well, looks like the lady’s bodice is rather useful.

This gunpowder scene would have been much more entertaining had “Yakkety Sax” been playing.

…I do believe the lady just kicked right through a stone wall. …color me impressed. Or purple, I’ve not really got too many preferences.

Jim desperately needs to wash his face. He doesn’t look dirty so much as stupid.

…so, in this movie, Fozzie isn’t just dumb, he’s actually mentally ill. Schizophrenic, I believe. And the Muppets ward in the asylum keeps on adding rooms…

Man, with that one line, they’ve managed to alienate all the rich half-wit sons in the world. Unless, of course, they’re all too half-witted to realize they’ve been insulted.

Aw, poor Statler and Waldorf, being stuck on the front of the boat. Less heckling to happen that way. Sad day.

Shishkabobed stowaways? Until I see that on Iron Chef, I’m going to assume Long John Silver is a hack chef. Even if he has a successful fast food chain.

Raised Polly from a fingerling? I thought fingerlings were potatoes.

Ooh, a Disney joke. I guess they’re allowed to do that, what with Disney’s ownership or whatnot.

Sam the Eagle as Mr. Arrow is probably the best casting of Muppets thus far.

Hopping mad? Come now. You guys used that joke back in “The Muppet Movie.” I’m calling it: The Muppets have jumped the shark.

Oh, Rizzo. Ever the entrepreneur. And cause of rat infestations.

There seem to be quite a few new Muppets in this movie. Many of which look rather silly.

Dangit, Jim. Your singing messed up the cool of the song. Oh, no, it’s okay. Curry saved it. Partly by reminding me of “Spamalot,” which is loads of fun.

Ah, visual puns and seedy characters. Ooh, and a pretty lady… with a man’s voice. Eek. Didn’t realize Cher would be in this movie.

…Getting rid of all the alcohol? Okay, even if the crew wasn’t a bunch of cutthroat mutinous pirates, they would certainly be mutinous after all the alcohol got tossed out.

OH MY GOD, SILVER AND HAWKINS ARE BROTHERS. …THAT ARE SOMEHOW ONLY A YEAR APART.

…did Silver just call Hawkins smart as paint? …I’m pretty certain paint is rather stupid. Maybe that’s just me, though. I mean, I only work with the stuff all the time.

I think Tim Curry is contractually obligated to have a creepy laugh and/or creepy smile in everything he does.

…Gonzo is made of rubber or something. And sounds like he’s getting waaaaaay too much enjoyment out of being tortured. Like, creepy enjoyment.

Aw, no more Gonzthulhu.

Ah, yes. The map will be safe in the WOODEN CABINET. Which could be hacked or kicked open. Easily.

5 days in the doldrums would probably suck massively.

I admit, I’m rather entertained by the cultural diversity represented in the “Cabin Fever” musical sequence. Positively delightful. …Why, no, I’m not emulating the random proper British pirates at all…

Word vomit: The enemy of all good guys. They need a pill for that. Good job keeping that secret a secret, Jim.

Okay. Fozzie told you all that Silver helped pick the crew. Why the heck are you people still trusting him? Too much felt, not enough brains.

Starfish in your pants? …Gonzo, you’re all sorts of messed up.

Wow. Jim, you’re bad at this doing things right thing, aren’t you? You hold the crutch at the end, not in the middle.

Too true, Electric Mayhem. Play the gig. Play on.

Poor Silver, only with the one number. But what a fun number it is.

Aw, jokes about lawyers and politicians. And a “On the Waterfront” reference. I like it.

I bet if the military had a song like this one, they’d have a much higher recruitment rate.

Where is afraid in the scale of bed-wetting and near death?

Oh, no! Tribal pigs!

“Well, there’s an informed opinion.” That may be the funniest line in this movie.

Gonzo has some serious problems. The prospect of his violent death seems to excite him in ways that shouldn’t really be discussed in a kid’s movie.

Flobert the anteater is either a jerk or getting back at Piggy for her assumed violence against him.

Huzzah, extreme violence from Piggy against Kermit.

Man, dual-wielding violence is extremely prevalent in this movie.

Is this the porkish chef or something?

Good to know at least one of the mutinous pirates is a God-fearing Christian. Got to keep a moral compass somehow. …but, man, those other pirates are idiots.

Holy crap. How long has Arrow been rowing?

Kermit left Piggy on the altar? …Wow, what a jerk.

Benjamina kind of went around, didn’t she?

Ah, the power of the boom-boom sticks. I thought those were usually to be used against zombies.

I wonder if Honeydew did his research on Wikipedia. …even if he did, it seemed to work. Pirate v. Ninja may still be in contention, but Pirate v. Ghost seems to have a solid answer.

Okay, I really wanted that golden statue Sweetums grabbed to be an Oscar. In other news, I love how Kermit and Piggy are singing about love leading them here (a.k.a. to their likely deaths), while the pirates throw the treasure around joyously in the background.

These spyglasses don’t seem to be terribly useful.

Ah, Statler and Waldorf do something useful: More heckling. I suppose saving Kermit and Piggy is good, too.

…Piggy just kicked that guy in the nuts. …Harsh.

Kermit is totally ruining all the hard work of the costuming department. The good guys in this movie are kind of jerks.

…how did they lock the pirates away without the keys? The keys that Long John apparently had? …PLOT HOLE! I CALL PLOT HOLE!

That’s quite a bit of treasure Silver’s getting away with.

Aaaand there’s the karma. I hope Jim and company got to keep SOME of the treasure, considering a couple of chests of it are about to sink to the bottom of the ocean.

…Oh, wait. Wow, the rat diving team recovered it. …neat.

And sticking around through the credits shows that Silver gets stuck on the island with a worse comedian than Fozzie. …I’m not sure he deserves that…

This is neither my favorite Muppet film nor my favorite “Treasure Island” interpretation (I rather enjoy “Treasure Planet”). This is also one of those Muppet movies I got into rather late, only watching it for the first time this past year. It is, however, a decent film with fun, memorable songs (if my three links aren’t proof enough of that) and great comic moments. As I’m sure you’re aware. And if you’re not, then you need to go back to the top and re-read the post. Seriously. Anyway, not my favorite Muppet film, but fun and definitely not the worst Muppet film. I’ll save any judgment for least favorite Muppet film after I watch “Muppets in Space” and “The Muppets.”

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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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