Tag Archives: Jim Henson

Big Screen Ballyhoo – “The Muppets”

WordPress is telling me that no one clicked the link I made to my The Dome UA blog post dealing with the review of this film… and I once again was unable to write out something BEFORE I went to work… so I’ve decided to make my inaugural “Big Screen Ballyhoo” post and give you all the review of “The Muppets” here. Also, I remind you, if you have a suggestion for a movie or series of movies for me to watch, Christmas themed or otherwise, let me know. Right now, the vote is for every Woody Allen film in chronological order.

…you can save me from that fate and change it to ANYTHING ELSE.

Anyway… the review.

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When I was first informed of a possible new Muppets film coming out, I was decently excited. I heard about the endeavor around a year ago, when the title was supposedly going to be “The Greatest Muppet Film Of All Time.” Kanye West references aside… I can’t say that’s terribly inaccurate.

The Muppets, as a group, have a long, storied history. Jim Henson started creating the new style of puppetry and revealing it at large in the mid-1950s. Jim Henson’s creations could be seen in the early days of “Saturday Night Live” and “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Since then, his creations and genius have travelled across many media.

I grew up with Jim Henson’s creations. While Henson died only two years after I was born, I still watched “Sesame Street” often. I had VHS tapes of the TV shows “Fraggle Rock” and “Dinosaurs” and watched them often. I also had “The Muppet Movie,” “The Great Muppet Caper,” “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” “Follow That Bird,” “The Dark Crystal” and the three live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films, all of which were touched by Jim Henson’s creations. Not to mention Yoda, the only little green Muppet that could possible give a certain other little green Muppet a run for his money in a contest of “most recognizable Muppet.”

Recently, around the time of taking up the endeavor to watch the six theatrically released Muppet feature films for this blog, I started to watch “The Muppet Show,” which my sister had purchased recently on a whim. And it confirmed to me that the Muppets have always been genius.

Muppets in their many-fold forms have been a constant, formative part of my childhood and even my adult life. The music, the humor, the emotion, the teaching… the entire Muppety package. And “The Muppets” delivers it all.

Not to say the film didn’t run into problems initially. When word got out that one of the last still living original Muppeteers Frank Oz, the voice of Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy, would not be part of the project because he disagreed with the characterizations of the Muppets, worry seeped in. Oz had been around from the beginning. His approval carries weight, and his disapproval carries with it a sense of dread.

Add in that the film was being co-written and starred in by somewhat crass funny-man Jason Segel, known best for going full monty in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” which he also wrote and starred in, co-written by Nicholas Stoller, who directed “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” and directed by James Bobin, who helped create the Sasha Baron Cohen characters Borat, Bruno and Ali G, people were worried about whether or not the film could keep the Muppets close to their gentler, purer, but still pointed and aware, humor.

But these are men that grew up with “The Muppet Show” and other Muppet adventures, just as I did. And they treated the first Muppet theatrical release in 12 years with the respect and care it deserved.

The voices are different, sure. They would be, considering the only original Muppeteer in the movie is Gonzo’s David Goelz. But if you look through the original material, you’ll find that almost all of the Muppets went through some major changes in voice. While the differences may seem odd, the voices aren’t what keeps the Muppets pure. The characters are all exactly what you know and love.

But “The Muppets” takes an interesting step away from the traditional Muppet style. As the poster should indicate, the story is actually taking its focus away from the Muppets as a group and putting it on the newest Muppet Walter, his brother Gary (Segel) and Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams). Humans have been villains and supporting characters for most of the films. Even where humans took the forefront, such as in literary interpretations “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and “Muppet Treasure Island,” somehow the story still seemed to be about the Muppets putting on a show.

But this movie is like a love letter written to the Muppets by fans, a movie in which the two biggest Muppet fans seek out the Muppets to encourage them to return to glory and save their history. You don’t even see one of the original Muppets until probably about 15 minutes and a long, introductory musical number (or three, depending on how you split it up) in.

The movie is very self-aware, as the best Muppet films (“The Muppet Movie,” “The Great Muppet Caper” and “The Muppet Christmas Carol” if you were wondering) are. It is self-aware in how it breaks the fourth wall, but even the premise is aware of exactly how long we have been without a strong Muppet presence.

But even if humans are at the front of the story, we still don’t lose the Muppets’ charm, humor and, at times, emotional depth. The movie bucks tradition once more by actually presenting both original musical numbers, written by “Flight of the Conchords” member Bret McKenzie, and, when by itself in “Muppets From Space” was something I thought was a mistake, covers and “unoriginal” music. But McKenzie’s music stands out to be at times just as heartfelt and touching as “The Rainbow Connection,” and at other times just as gaspingly hilarious as any Muppets endeavor tends to be.

While the movie strongly references “The Muppet Show,” meaning some nuances might be lost on a younger audience, the movie does not lean on them. It leans on the power of the Muppets as a group and their ability to bring both laughter and tears over and over again in the same event.

I really want to just burst out and tell you all the wonderful juicy details, all of the jokes and cameos and songs… but not only would that cheapen the experience, I would also be wholly unable to repeat the glorious performances from both human and Muppet present in this film. This movie is, by far, my favorite movie in years. Perhaps not as poignant and gripping as something like “The Social Network” or “The King’s Speech,” but it still stands out to me as a champion of comedy and cinematic greatness. I watched it twice in theaters, and I would watch it again. (Also, there’s this really cute/funny “Toy Story” based short at the beginning that’s worth seeing.)

This is my favorite Muppet movie. And it well deserves the title. Fans and non-fans alike will fall in love with this film. Families will laugh together. Some moments will touch your heart, others will have you on the floor. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but it cannot be said enough how delightful and amazing this movie is.

Watch this movie. Watch it now. And be amazed by the way you will feel during and after the film.

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Second First Time Viewer – “Muppets From Space”

Alright. So, this title is a bit misleading, since I have only ever seen the movie once, the once that I wrote this post during.
Now, due to funky hours this week, I’ve decided to give you all first glimpse of my blog post for The Dome UA! It was supposed to go up last week, but Thanksgiving is as Thanksgiving does, and schedules kind of went haywire. So, likely, my Dome blog will get two posts this week: this one and my review of “The Muppets.” But I grant you all the first view of the unedited, un-funny-pictured/videoed post. Maybe tomorrow I’ll talk about how Black Friday probably should stop existing for the betterment of mankind, but for now… enjoy.

“Muppets From Space,” which I believe I have incorrectly referred to by its original script’s title “Muppets In Space” before, was produced in 1999 and is the sixth and final Muppet feature film before “The Muppets” came out this year. So, it’s been 12 years since the last Muppet feature film. “Muppets From Space” was the second film not to have a Henson at the helm directing, instead directed for the first time by an outsider. Tim Hill, who previously had only directed “Action League Now!!: Rock-A-Big-Baby” and would later direct “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” was director for this film, considered by many to be the biggest failure of the Muppets films. It was the first since Jim Henson’s death to have an original story line, as well as the first and only Muppets film to host neither any original music nor any Muppet singing.

There’s a lot to say about this movie, but I’ll just say this: Like “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” I had never seen it before writing this blog. And my expectations were rather low, based on what everyone was telling me to expect. I’ll let you read ahead, though. Maybe you’ll watch the movie and come to your own conclusions, but for now, here’s mine.

Okay. This looks like a really awkward “Twilight Zone” episode right now. Or a “NOVA” special.

Wow. That cyclone looks like something from “Day After Tomorrow.” Oh, it’s Noah’s Ark. So, end of the world after all.

I kind of like F. Murray Abraham as Moses/umbrella salesperson.

What the heck is up with Gonzo’s outift?

Rizzo and Gonzo are roommates. That’s a sitcom in the waiting.

A dream with a dwarf, a goat and a jar of peanut butter? …The Muppets suggest some very… awkward things at times.

All this Gonzo emo talk about being all alone makes me really want to have Tim Curry back to sing Spamalot‘s “I’m All Alone.” That song is fun.

…all the Muppets are living together? …clearly, that’s a genius idea. #WhatsSarcasm

Okay. I was really hoping someone would explain where the living hell Pepe the Prawn came from. Less than 15 minutes into this movie and I’ve seen, like, 10 Muppets I don’t recognize and been subjected to the randomness of “Brick House.” What happened to original songs?

The Electric Mayhem performing a bar mitzvah would be immensely entertaining.

“Distinct” is probably a much better word than “unique freak.” Though I always enjoyed “a whatever” or “a Gonzo.”

Hm. Don’t you usually need milk to spell things with your alphabet food?

Rizzo is eating a plate of bologna for breakfast. This makes him wise beyond his years.

Reading the words that are already written on the screen is rather repetitive and pointless.

Bears In Black would be a movie I’d watch.

I just recognized the paranoid-except-not-really boss. It’s Jeffrey Tambor. I really need to watch more “Arrested Development.”

Okay, this reggae funk Muppet better be named George Clinton.

Well. Gonzo gets zapped by lightning and gets to play “Asteroids.” Or “Super Mario Galaxy.” Not sure which. Either way, I’m jealous of all but the lightning.

Cosmic Knowledge Fish? Anything like Babel Fish? If so, give Douglas Adams some credit, y’all.

Getting struck by lightning is the worst way to communicate. Ever.

Whether Gonzo is crazy or not, that post-lightning thing was scary.

Ooh, burnt cards. Easy way to end a poker game.

Gonzo’s reminding me of some random horror movies now. And he just mowed over a cat. This is turning into a slasher flick.

A “Field of Dreams” reference, eh?

Is that a George Clooney Muppet?

Poor Waldorf. Gets heckled by Statler all the time.

Beaker may be the only person able to take as much damage as Gonzo.

I didn’t know Dr. Honeydew so easily believed in things like aliens. I thought he was a scientist. I’m ashamed of you, Honeydew.

Rob Schneider? Hm. Dunno how I feel about that.

The major freezing on camera from Piggy, who in “The Muppet Movie” was an actress, gave me the biggest laugh so far.

Poor Kermit. Trying so hard to keep the other Muppets in some sense of normalcy. Failing so miserably.

Alien tribe? I think alien race is probably more accurate until you learn more about them.

…impressed by Piggy’s ability to… what, make noise and semi-martial arts poses?

This fight scene is just awkward. Especially what with Piggy losing the fight. Oh, wait, she hit him in the nuts. Seems like Piggy.

I have no idea what that Gonzo bust was made of, but it looked rather disgusting. And like Crisco.

A Ted Koppel joke? Really?

Miss Piggy really knows how to get her priorities ordered correctly.

This is turning into “Spy Kids” meet the Muppets.

Ooh, the one white glove. This is either turning into a Michael Jackson reference or a proctology exam. Rizzo seems to think it’s proctology.

Love how screwed up Ed seems to be.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan? …what the heck is up with the beard under the beard? Well, at least now I can connect Hogan to someone other than Christopher Lloyd.

Some of the rats apparently have some major problems. Like interspecies dating. What is up with the Muppets’ infatuation with that?

And now a “Saving Private Ryan” reference! …sort of!

This lab rat scientist is just… awkward. As is the music. I’m not really enjoying the soul music replacing the humorous and sometimes touching original songs of all the previous films.

Rizzo’s face whilst suffering the extreme Gs of the centrifuge is actually pretty humorous.

Is that a peanut butter and banana sandwich? Gross. You heard me. Gross.

Caught mid-sandwich-eating. Scandal!

The Muppets must have excellent eyesight to see the guy at the guardhouse glance back toward them.

Okay. Giving Piggy that spray may have been the worst idea of all time.

I can’t tell if the scientist or Ed is the bigger villain. Or bigger creepazoid. I guess there are two to make up for there not being any in “The Muppets Take Manhattan.”

Ooh, wait. Dr. van Neuter might just be in contention for creepy villain.

Animal is invisible. No woman is safe.

…Huh. The things people will do when invisible. Probably not as crazy as the things Muppets do when invisible.

Wow. Having Pepe as the head is probably one of the worst ideas they could have had.

…things are getting rather… chaotic now, aren’t they.

Oh, snap. Now it’s an “Independence Day” reference. That’s probably the best reference thus far.

…Wow. Animal got laid, I guess. By Kathy Griffin, so, not a terrible pull, I reckon. …this is strange. I don’t know how to feel about this. Except, of course, somewhat uncomfortable.

Okay. He’s going to kill someone. Note the violence inherent in the Muppets.

Will someone PLEASE explain where Pepe the Prawn came from?

And will someone else PLEASE explain what is up with all the Gonzo shaped food platters?

Ah. Cement mixer as the company car. I almost forgot about the cover story for the government organization.

That catfight was boring. How unfortunate. And, again, Piggy is the LAST person who should have that spray.

…and now a “Dawson’s Creek” reference? …with Pepe and the George Clinton Muppet rather creepily hitting on Katie Holmes.

WHAT IS UP WITH THAT CREEPY LOOKING EGG HEADED MUPPET?!

Ah, irresponsible college kids. Lovely.

And through the eyes of a child, all were able to see.

WHY IS NO ONE PEEING THEIR PANTS? THAT CLOUD IS FRIGHTENING.

…Wow. Um… Nanu nanu, anyone? Is Gonzo from Ork? …exactly how many random references is this movie going to make? …I was really hoping for a “Stargate” reference somewhere in here.

Exactly how was Gonzo lost? …though, on a different point, I always suspected funk was given to us by aliens.

Hah. I like Sam’s odd mix between moral outrage and attraction over the bare midriff of the random woman.

Gonzo is rather aerodynamic.

So, the lust for self-destruction was genetic. Gotcha.

And now it’s time to exploit the silly bad guy’s psychosis.

Oh. So, Gonzo’s race is all about comedy and entertainment. And blowing themselves up.

And a “Star Trek” reference. Come on, where’s the “Stargate?”

Decision time! Should Gonzo go with the family he’s never known, or the non-family he’s always had? Text 1-800-OMGONZO with your vote now!

And there we go with a “The Day The Earth Stood Still” reference. This movie makes more references than it has cameos. Or sensible plot.

Okay. I’ll admit. …I didn’t mind the movie that much. In fact, if it weren’t for the decision to make all the music funk/soul instead of original, I might have liked this movie a whole lot more. Surprisingly enough, this movie wasn’t nearly as disappointing and bad a movie as I was told it would be. It had some good humorous moments. It just… had a lot of random moments and random Muppets without much explanation, too. And the music decision was really disappointing to me. But I laughed more during this movie than I did at “Muppets Take Manhattan.” So, it’s official. “Muppets Take Manhattan” is my least favorite Muppet movie so far.

Now, time to go watch “The Muppets.” I dearly hope it will be as awesome as I think it may be. I’ll let you know how that goes.

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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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Second First Time Viewer – “The Muppets Take Manhattan”

While I did manage to stay away from simply reposting my Muppets movie commentaries the past couple of days, a glance at the current news cycle is just depressing. There’s a lot of giant jackholery from people that are very likely child rapists and child rapist enablers, some people coming out about how their own experiences being sexually abused as children show that humanity is very often an ugly, ugly thing, and then there’s a touch of “Breaking News: People running for president on the GOP ticket are still giant morons.” Sigh. It’s rather frustrating/upsetting to think too hard on. But the next, newest Muppets film is a mere 8 days away. Am I excited? Heck yes. And you should be, too. So, I present you with my The Dome UA commentary on what is unfortunately my least favorite Muppet film (though I have yet to see “Muppets In Space,” so take that as you will).

“The Muppets Take Manhattan” is the third Muppets film, produced in 1984. It has a few things that set it apart. It’s the first film that Frank Oz directed by himself. It’s the film that debuted the Muppet Babies, who are in fact ridiculously cute. Except for Gonzo. It was the final film made before the death of Jim Henson, a titan of entertainment now sadly gone for over 20 years.

Also, this is the first Muppets film I’ve seen that has disappointed me. The songs, the story, the pacing and the humor were all… off. Mind, I’ve never seen it before watching it for this blog, but… Well, you’ll see what I have to say.

A Frank Oz Film? Sounds like a hostile takeover to me.

Woah. There are parts of Manhattan with that many trees? News to me.

So, the movie starts with a song, cutting out all the buildup from the last couple of films. Which also means no meta. Which is a bit sad.

Okay, with that much applause, people should be standing up more. Shame on you, audience.

Hm. So the Muppets are college educated. I wonder what their degrees are?

Piggy and Kermit are thinking about getting married? …yeah, that’ll end well.

Oh, man. If only getting something on Broadway were as easy as knocking on a door and badgering people. This is all a joke, right?

Oh, the guy’s a con artist. I knew something was off.

…okay, the Muppets interacting with the human like that was kind of weird. Much like the pace of this movie. Something seems off and not quite Muppety about this movie thus far.

Good to see Rizzo again. He’s the funniest part yet.

So, is Kermit flirting with the new girl? The girl who isn’t in college yet? …player.

Uh-oh, the Muppets may disband. This early in the movie, it’s like the opposite of “The Muppet Movie.”

Upon reflection, this whole going broke and living in a box (albeit a metal one) thing is one of the reasons I’m not in New York myself just yet. And this movie took place over 20 years ago, when these endeavors were much cheaper and easier to do. I don’t really think the randomly leaving New York for far corners of the earth is any smarter than leaving your original corner of the earth for New York. Seriously, guys, get an actual job.

I can only imagine the lack of reaction from the other New Yorkers to Kermit’s shouting is because they live in New York.

Ooh, mysterious person in a hat!

Ah. So that’s where the penguins are from.

Great, the theatre person is working in a restaurant. So many stereotypes to exploit in this film…

Is Kermit channeling Liberace right now? What the what?

Again with the mysterious person in the hat. Who could it be? Those sunglasses atop the snout are a perfect disguise.

…do construction workers really leer and wolf whistle women and pigs like that, or are we seeing stereotypes at play again?

Joan Rivers looks weird (so, nothing new). At least I assume that’s Joan Rivers, what with the Mick Jagger botox lips.

Wow. They both look moronic. And there’s no way they’re keeping their jobs. Aaand there it is. Apparently, beauty stores don’t like their workers to use their products, look like freaks, and scare the crap out of all the people in the store. Can’t imagine why.

These songs/musical numbers are a bit random.

Poor Rizzo, trying to be suave and failing miserably.

Finally Lew Zealand’s boomerang fish bring about hilarious results.

Man, look at Fozzie, that player. Already getting himself a woman out in nature… You go, guy.

…Electric Mayhem is not really designed for polka in my opinion.

Oh, God. Kermit with a mustache looks even worse in this movie. The massive coat doesn’t help.

Wow. Underhanded technique, the whispering campaign, but pretty effective. …well, up until the point of Liza Minnelli and the rat infestation.

With all this stalking, Miss Piggy would totally love Twitter.

Purse snatcher really should have stopped running so conspicuously after a while. Also, I can’t tell if Piggy or Animal has worse anger management problems. Piggy definitely has scarier ones, though, what with the being on wheels thing.

…a hacksaw? The living heck? Why does Piggy have a hacksaw in her purse?

Poor random skates guy. He really probably would do better to stay out of this. Except now he’s getting to cop a Piggy feel. …in the end, he’s kind of weird.

Ah, Statler and Waldorf in their element. I want to make a witty reference to the fact that they’re named after New York City hotels, but I kind of just flat out said it there.

…okay, I have to admit. The baby Muppets are ridiculously cute. And remind me too much of Charlie Brown and company. Think about it. Kermit is Charlie Brown, Piggy is Lucy, Rowlf is Schroeder… Clearly, the analogy is perfect.

Piggy got too involved in her fantasy. Entertaining.

The Muppets are far too excited about interspecies dating

Ah, Gonzo doing a ridiculous act that makes no sense and involves random song. Just like the good days.

This awkward dog owner may be the creepy villain of the film I was looking for.

Elliott Gould again? He actually looks pretty natural as a cop. “Contract killer? …whatever.”

Having a chicken dancing on stage actually might be illegal in New York. And that producer has a point. Just because it’s weird doesn’t mean it can’t make it on Broadway.

OH MY GOD, THEY KILLED KERMIT. …wait, if that ends up being with malicious intent instead of simple manslaughter, I totally called this last movie.

Peoples is peoples. This guy Pete is a regular Russian Confucius. Rusfucius.

The show has to go up in two weeks? …sounds normal for everything that isn’t a Julie Taymor show.

Did people still use telegrams in the 80s?

Why are they all so excited about New York as if they’ve never been?

Wow. This doctor might be a bit of a hack. And a downer, what with telling the patient that there’s no hope for him.

Kermit’s voice sounds different post-amnesia. And Fozzie’s hasn’t sounded quite right all movie.

I like this ad company’s style. “It’s like x, except for all the things that make x x.”

God, the end of that scene was surreal. Also a bit creepy.

Okay, I may not have broken into show biz yet, but I’m pretty sure with one week until opening, you cast a new person as your star if he’s missing.

All this rhyming may eventually make me ill. Still.

Look how excited everybody is to hear Gonzo say it’s Kermit. What with the not moving to see if he’s right.

Oh, an almost manslaughter, a theft and a kidnapping. This may have more crime in it than the movie about stealing. Welcome to New York.

I actually kind of liked the callous pig jokes from Amnesia!Kermit.

Huh, turns out he just needed a punch in the face and to sit upside-down for a while.

…well. Those random walk-on extras memorized their scripts quite quickly. And their blocking. And Jenny made those costumes more quickly than an entire Taiwanese sweat shop could have made one.

…I may have only ever seen one show on Broadway before, but I’m pretty sure this one wouldn’t be getting applause that rampant.

I like the presence of the entire Sesame Street cast on the groom’s side (or at least I assume it’s the groom’s side). It’s nice remembering that Kermit actually got a start on Sesame Street before many of the other Muppets even existed.

Okay, THOSE baby Muppets? They’re freakin’ creepy. And kind of ugly.

Nice. Piggy conning Kermit into a marriage. Bravo. I wonder if Broadway should take a hint from Vegas and do this more often, keep the money more steadily flowing.

Okay, I can’t tell if this is still on Broadway or not. Where the heck did the fourth wall go?

…wait, that’s the end of the movie? …well, um… alright.

There was no bad guy, which is something that has made the Muppet movies more interesting previously. The music was pretty much completely unmemorable, which is really unfortunate considering how very musical the Muppets have always been. I just watched the movie less than a week ago and I can’t remember a single song. Heck, this song is far more memorable and entertaining than anything the movie offered.

And things just seemed… really off the entire film. It’s unfortunate, but this is definitely my least favorite Muppets film so far. Of course, I’ve yet to see “Muppets In Space,” so maybe we’ll have to wait to make that judgment.

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Second First Time Viewer – “The Great Muppet Caper”

Y’know, as much as I could talk politics, like Rick Perry’s gaffe that makes Joe Biden look like a rank amateur and Dick Cheney’s quail-man hunting seem like a hiccup of humor, I think I’ll pass for today. And today’s football, which means I’m sure no one but me is actually on the internet today. My massive number of zero hits today support that hypothesis. Anyway, I figure I’ll lay down my second Muppets film commentary for you all. Enjoy. (Though, seriously, visit The Dome UA.)

“The Great Muppet Caper,” produced in 1981, was the second Muppets feature film in the series. This film places itself in the United Kingdom, the country where “The Muppet Show” originated. It still sticks with some of the formula “The Muppet Movie” had, featuring cameo appearances and a working knowledge that the Muppets are filming a movie. It is, perhaps, a bit more watered down in some of these aspects, being more mystery-oriented, but it’s all still there, and all still a big part of my childhood. Let’s begin.

It’s really not a Muppet movie unless Animal eats something random, is it?

I like the running commentary from the Muppets through the opening credits. Helps make the credits more entertaining.

Hm. I guess Gonzo has a danger fetish or something, what with the desire to plummet. …which makes him even more disturbing than the chicken love.

This time, we’re treated to an entire musical number about how this is a movie about a movie. But I guess this is more like seeing the behind-the-scenes features than the super-meta “Inception”-esque stuff of the last movie.

Okay, who exactly is the little girl with the villain? A Girl Scout? An evil Girl Scout?

Man, the police are really bad at reacting to crime. Heck, everyone on that street is bad at reacting to crime. Probably too busy trying to remember their dance moves.

I worked at a newspaper for about a year and a half. What editor would allow a front page above the fold story about identical twins joining the paper?

So, Fozzie and Kermit are brothers? …when the heck did that happen? …and I hate to say it, but their dad was ugly.

This movie is likely to reveal an amazing spectrum of mental illnesses in the Muppets that the previous film only gently touched on. Like Fozzie’s inability to remember who he is and whether he has fur. I don’t know if that’s a crazy form of amnesia or some sort of persistent delusion.

Good thing physics isn’t something Muppets have to worry about, because Fozzie, Gonzo and Kermit would have landed several hundred miles apart being tossed out of a moving plane like that. Physics: destroyer of gags.

Oh, England. Give an Englishman a cup of tea and he’ll be unruffled by pretty much anything. #stereotypes

I like that the random Englishman has a book of places to stay. One that includes where to stay if you’re homeless.

…what the heck did Fozzie just ask? “Are bears allowed nosta’ns?” …that’s what it sounded like. Now I feel like I’ve completely missed a joke. Which makes me feel kind of dumb. (I have since been informed that Fozzie says “Are bears allowed in those fountains?” In other news, I now feel quite dumb.)

Ah, the English River. Good that they avoided the obvious joke of calling it the Thames and mispronouncing it.

I wonder how many times the Muppets are going to be thrown about and generally abused.

Of course the Happiness Hotel would be somewhere a bunch of likely jobless Muppets stay.

Condemned by American Express? Harsh.

I wonder why Sam the Eagle is in England. Isn’t he, like, allergic to anything that isn’t America?

I don’t know which would be more uncomfortable: Spooning with two other men or sleeping slightly folded up into the wall.

Oh, dear. The fashion world. Definitely not something I’m big on. Apparently not something Lady Holiday is big into either, since she’s trashing every single dress she made.

Miss Piggy has already given up on the acting, has she? Although, this is simply a role in the movie, so I guess she’s just acting the character that wants to be a model. …not much acting needed for her to be immensely conceited, though.

If only jobs today worked that way for everyone. “I want a job that’s really high on the pay scale. Gimme.” “No. But I’ll hire you anyway for a somewhat lesser job that’s still higher up than most in the company.” You could go in to be CEO and be hired as a mere assistant to the Senior Vice President or something else that sounds like business jargon.

Hah! Plot exposition being randomly shoved in to the most awkward spot in the film is a Hollywood tradition. Good to see the Muppets carrying it on in glorious, self-referencing fashion.

Yep. Gonzo has a danger/pain fetish. Creepy.

Miss Piggy has the weirdest shiny eye ever. Looks deadly. Or at least dangerous to have in your eyes.

Ooh, cartoon birds! That’s new. I wonder why they didn’t make tiny Muppet birds.

I’m going to have to use Google Maps and see if there really is a 17 Highbrow Street in Britain somewhere. I wouldn’t be completely surprised if there was one.

Gonzo has shown a surprisingly good talent when it comes to jumping in this movie.

Oh, God, there’s a worse driver than Fozzie. But Gonzo must be loving this.

Wait, I thought there wasn’t any food at the hotel? Also, that looks like steering wheel spaghetti, not steering wheel souffle.

Fozzie thinks he should be dating the same girl as his brother? That is only a quite creepy idea.

Ah, no blade in the razor. I was wondering what exactly Kermit was shaving.

Got to love the dancing shadow. Where can I get one of those?

Dinner date for Miss Piggy and Kermit is now a Muppet party. How unsurprising.

John Cleese would live at 17 Highbrow Street. He always was the most upper crust of the Monty Python gang.

Okay, now I’m wondering if the British are trained to be completely unshaken by all the crazy things that happen. They seem to be that way in this movie, at least. A pig climbs up the outside of your house and your reaction is to continue talking about the disappointing weather. I bet Americans could use a dose of that training. …though, at Cleese’s current level, it’d probably be dangerous.

…maybe I’m ignorant, but what exactly is a supper club?

I’m not sure if “Night Life” is a song or just an excuse for Electric Mayhem to go nuts on their instruments.

Too bad Kermit won’t be able to haggle down the price of the Oldsmobile roast beef like he did the car in the last movie.

Wait, is that Jim Henson? Looks a bit like him.

Ah, Charles Grodin. Haven’t seen you since that movie with that really big dog and the classical music.

Tsk, tsk. How inaccurate for Holiday to say “college” instead of “university.” If there’s one thing I look for in my Muppets movies, it’s immense accuracy.

Wow. Alcohol in the last movie, adultery in this movie… If this keeps up, next movie there’ll be a murder.

With that “Thieves aren’t breathing down your neck” line, Nicky Holiday is applying for creepiest Muppets villain. Doc Hopper still holds that title for now, though.

What is up with Muppets and inter-species relations? Gonzo and chickens, Kermit and Miss Piggy, and now Nicky Holiday and Miss Piggy. And with the creepy intense lust-stare, Holiday is pushing forward to make a serious challenge for the “Creepy Villain” award.

Only in a Muppet movie would someone actually scream “Aiee!”

I bet you can dance and steal at the same time. Not me, you.

I’d say it was dangerous for them to bust in to the bathroom like that, since they could’ve caught someone with their pants down, but I don’t know that any of the Muppets ever wear pants. Except when wearing a tux.

It’s Peter Falk as a shady watch salesman! Please say “As you wish” you wonderful grandpa man, you.

Ah, what a coincidence, Kermit and Miss Piggy running into each other at the pond and continuing the plot.

Miss Piggy is hamming it up. Get it? It’s funny, because pork products. Though I must say, as an actor, this scene where Piggy threatens to walk is probably the most realistic one in the movie.

Okay, that random dog outrunning Piggy and Kermit was unexpectedly funny to me.

Statler and Waldorf! Finally! I’ve missed them.

Man, the rest of the Muppets are some kind of creepy stalkers or something. Either that or cycling is way more popular in England.

Oh, God. Nicky totally just tried to ravage Miss Piggy. Congrats, you have officially become the leader of creepy Muppets villains!

What’s with the complete lack of techno and crazy strobe lights? This can’t actually be a legitimate fashion show. But Statler and Waldorf’s presence makes up for the lack of techno.

Am I the only one who finds synchronized swimming to be slightly creepy? …I do rather like the random goldfish in the water, though.

So, either Grodin is secretly an opera trained singer/Pavarotti impersonator or Nicky Holiday was totally dubbed in that song.

Man, it’s a good thing for Nicky that fingerprints don’t exist in the time of this movie.

Ah, Nicky was dubbed. Called it. …though I wish he were a Pavarotti impersonator. Also, if there’s a character that’s more of a ham than Piggy, it’s Nicky. The evil laugh wasn’t really something well pulled off.

Can Muppets actually die? If they can, exactly how is it wrong of them to not want to risk their lives to catch the criminals? Why not call the cops? For shame, movie, forcing Muppety action on us.

…Sam is proud of being an American, but exactly how was that scene American? To my count, there are only three other definitively American Muppets in this movie.

Hand color jokes are going to be this movie’s Hari Krishna.

Kermit plus facial hair equals weird. For some reason it looks more appropriate on Miss Piggy.

What would the purpose of all the items the Muppets have on their list be? It sounds more like the items Fozzie needs for his comedy act.

Well, Piggy is clearly in possession of some super, almost steroidal strength.

It’s always the laundry. Why do prisons even bother outsourcing laundry?

Okay, Muppets with human noses are even creepier than Kermit with a mustache.

Piggy is now a car thief. If she didn’t have a reason to be in jail before, she’s got one now.

Good to see Oscar the Grouch in the movie. Y’know, if Oscar, Statler and Waldorf teamed up, they would make the best hecklers ever.

Piggy certainly knows her way around jargon. Or can at least fake it.

Huzzah, dumb guards! How the heck are Kermit and Fozzie going to get in with this plan, anyway?

Never knew the Muppets were such good climbers. I guess fear for one’s life helps.

I’m pretty sure the alarm system the bad guys are taking down is based on a Mario game, considering the sounds it’s making.

It’s a good thing the guards are Conveniently Deaf. Smashing glass is usually an indicator of something hinky going on.

Can’t say I’ve ever seen a wall of Muppets before this movie. It’s impressive.

Beauregard seems to be the only Muppet actually fighting. The rest of the Muppets are just tossing the diamond around senselessly. Or chasing women. Or, in Scooter’s case, trying to make a quick buck.

Warts? But we talked about that last movie. It’s a myth! Myth!

And, of course, Piggy and her anger management problems come to save the day. After causing many dollars of damage to the museum.

I guess the rest of the Muppets were evicted from the Happiness Hotel or something. At least this time they got parachutes before being tossed out. …wonder why Statler and Waldorf left their seats to be tossed out?

Hm. I’m actually slightly surprised the entire end credits didn’t get the “and me” roll call from every Muppet in the film. But it’s nice of Gonzo to offer to send us copies of the photos he took.

So, the songs are perhaps not as memorable, there are fewer cameos, and the plot is a little less Muppety than the last movie… but it’s still a great Muppet film. Not that anything really compares to the excellence of the first movie.

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Second First Time Viewer – “The Muppet Movie”

As previously mentioned, I’m going to use the posts from my other blog with The Dome UA minus the humorous pictures and movie clips to fill in for when I’m not feeling terribly up to writing something. Besides, I will be posting my review for the November 23 “The Muppets” on this blog as well as my The Dome UA blog. So I need to hype y’all up for it somehow. These will differ slightly from my “Second First Time Viewer” format in that I’m not pretending to have no prior knowledge relating to the movie or subjects surrounding it. I know my Muppets and show off a bit of that (occasionally Wiki’d) knowledge. Still fun, though. (Note that the other blogs begin and end with an italicized intro… Don’t get confused.) But visit The Dome UA to read other blogs and see mine in their original format.

As promised, my Muppet film series starts here. “The Muppet Movie,” produced in 1979, was the first of six theatrically released Muppet films unrelated to Sesame Street. Though “The Muppet Show” had been on for three years before the movie, it was the movies that I remember watching as a kid. And they were awesome. And since I have the DVD, I’m going to cheat and watch it in widescreen. Oooooh.

Hm. A director spinning the world on his finger. …nah, that’s not too arrogant.

I’ve got to say, I love how Statler and Waldorf are the first two Muppets we see in the movie. Insulting the movie straight off is probably the best way to start it. …they are my heroes.

Okay. I really want to heckle the movie a little bit, but I have to say that “The Rainbow Connection” may be the best song in any movie ever. Tell me I’m wrong.

Oh, Dom DeLuise. I miss you so.

Okay, the movie magic in this film is pretty awesome. Kermit is riding a bike. With no signs of muppeteers. Pretty cool.

…wow, there are a lot of different ways to cook frog legs in this movie, and we’re only a few minutes in. If someone introduces frog leg cheesecake, I may have to quit.

Poor Fozzie. It doesn’t help that he’s a terrible comedian. And seems to only be able to say “Wocka wocka.” Maybe he has a speech problem.

One of the best parts of the Muppets’ humor is that they’ve perfected the literal pun. What happened to those good old days?

Oh, God. Fozzie and Kermit are so extremely naïve. If this movie weren’t rated G, I’d suspect that they’d be dead the moment they got out of the car for a random stranger. I mean, the guy didn’t even offer candy.

Are frog legs really so popular? With a commercial and jingle like that, I can’t see how, even in this movie’s world. That thing was just awful. Like, Mattress King awful.

Earn $500 every year? …shoot, with today’s job market, I’d take it.

The songs in this movie are really catchy. Also, Fozzie is a horrendous driver. Who gave a bear a driver’s license, anyway?

So, clearly, Doc Hopper is the villain of the movie. He may be one of the creepiest movie villains since the child catcher in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”.

Even Kermit wonders who gave Fozzie his license.

I wonder how many ways they can sneak the Harry/Hari Krishna joke in? This movie may get the record for most running gags run simultaneously.

It’s a movie about a movie that references the fact that they’re in a movie. Muppetception.

Repainting the car to get away from the antagonists? It’s official. Grand Theft Auto stole ideas from this movie.

Gonzo and Miss Piggy are probably the two Muppets who have changed the most from their “The Muppet Show” debuts. For the better, really.

Probably a good thing they didn’t pick up Sweetums. He’s rather large.

A good indicator of how old this movie is would be how young Elliott Gould looks. Definitely not what he looks like in the Ocean’s movies.

…okay, I realize they’re going around picking up all the different Muppets, but these different scenes are quite disjointed. Why the heck are they at a fair?

This has to be the only G rated movie Richard Pryor is in. And he somehow makes balloon sales seem like a new form of swindling.

Wow. Miss Piggy basically just shanghaied her way into the group. Nice.

…is it bad of me to like the idea of real food being used in billboard advertising? Well, at least when it comes to pies.

Oh, God. Steve Martin in short shorts. Not the best image, but definitely one of the funniest. As a fellow philosophy major, Steve Martin gives me hope that one day I too can be silly alongside some Muppets.

Man, Rowlf drinks beer, Kermit and Miss Piggy drink $0.95 wine… this movie has way more alcohol than I remember. Scandalous.

Is Hopper some sort of frog leg don? He went from negotiation to felony really fast.

When either a German scientist or Mel Brooks is yelling at your face, holding on to your hat may not be the only thing you need to do. Running might be a good idea.

Oh, goodness. Miss Piggy has crazy eyes. And anger problems. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn she’s related to a certain Bruce Banner.

Burned film is what you get when you have the Swedish Chef running the camera.

I think any swelling in your heart might be cause to see a doctor, Fozzie.

Wait, Hopper wants to kill Kermit now? What, is he going to stuff him and use him as a puppet for his commercials? Because that’d be a bit redundant.

How the heck does Doc Hopper have a direct feed into the radio, and the specific radio station Kermit was listening to at that? Can Hopper just make announcements on every radio station from his car? …I want to go into the fried frog leg business now. It sounds like a goldmine.

I may have just noticed that this song is Gonzo talking about how he’s from space. …neat. Also, I may be simply inattentive about some things.

Fozzie has a speech impediment, Miss Piggy has anger management issues, Gonzo is in love with a chicken and Kermit talks to himself and has hallucinations. The Muppets would be a psych student’s dream study.

The way Miss Piggy reacted to the cop makes me think her anger management issues have crossed the law at least once.

Dr. Honeydew may have misspoken when he said he and Beaker perfect useful inventions.

Insta-grow pills? If those existed in real life, they’d be a huge selling item. Likely for all the wrong reasons.

It’s the quintessential touching moment that turns the bad guy back to good. How touching. Oh, wait, didn’t quite work. That’s the Muppets, either bucking the cliches or wallowing shamelessly in them in the most glorious ways.

I really wish they made an Animal Muppet that was that large. Because then I might be able to buy it one day. Who wouldn’t want a 20-foot tall Animal?

Wow, the Muppets are inducing a severe allergic reaction in a woman just to get the chance to audition for a movie? …man, they’re jerks. Didn’t even offer her an EpiPen.

Fun fact: This was Orson Welles’ best movie. Suck on that, “Citizen Kane”.

I hope one of the Muppets reads that rich and famous package. Probably ought to make it Scooter. He seems the most stable.

And now they’re making the movie in the movie that they’re watching in the movie about the movie that… Too many levels! Where’s my totem…?

I have no clue where Crazy Harry entered in, but now we know we’re guaranteed an explosion of some kind.

…Honeydew has no eyes. Those glasses hide that fact well.

Ah, see? Explosion. Totally called it.

Holy- Man, those Muppets just came out of the woodwork there. The majority of which I’ve never seen ever outside that scene. Crazy.

A couple handfuls of cameos, lots of running gags, literal humor and lots of music. Very Muppets. Therefore, very awesome. …also, someone should probably get the cops on Hopper. Because he kind of committed a few crimes. People should be a bit worried about that.

This movie, in my mind, is like “The Muppet Show: The Film.” It has always been my favorite of the Muppet films, and it will likely stay that way at least until November 23 or so. Even if Jason Segel managed to write something better than this movie, this movie will remain a classic to me. Hard to beat a guy who used to be made out of Jim Henson’s mom’s coat and ping pong balls.

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