Post Unrelated… Those Darn Muppets!

The new Muppet Movie had a lot of cool things going on in it. It also had some of the best Internet marketing for any movie ever, and it needed it. But it was not great Muppet Movie. How often has the plot of the Muppets been to get back together an put on a show?
Let’s see…
In the 1979 the Muppet Movie – the gang gets together one at a time and goes to Hollywood to make a movie.
In 1984 in Muppets Take Manhattan – the gang gets back together after being split up for a long time to put a show on Broadway.
In 2002 in A Very Muppet Christmas Movie – a banker dreams of tearing down the Muppet theater, and the muppets have to raise money to pay off the loan quickly.
The big problem comes from the plot of the movie itself. It has been done to death in about every other movie they have ever made! I heard people talking about this a a re-launch of the franchise. That sort of is the kiss of death these days.
Here is where the movie really fell apart.
The male lead tries really hard in this movie, but he is no Muppet. The actor tried really hard, but he looks like a guest star on Gilligan’s Island. The rest of the cast belongs on the island, the guest star is just passing through…
The female lead in this movie is quite good, but she is also not a Muppet.
The brother of the lead who is a Muppet sort of gets lost towards the second half of the movie and then comes back at the very end. At least he is a Muppet. Makes me wonder what his mom was up to though! The movie would have been better with this character as a single child growing up.
The villain is an oil Barron (not a banker or a parody of Col. Sanders) who is quite good, but they cut his one musical number short and removed his reason for hating the Muppets so much from the movie. Its on a deleted scene on the BluRay. Also his musical number was cut in half, and it was the best number in the entire movie!
Many of the musical numbers are done by humans, which the Muppets only appearing as characters on the side (including the finale) not to metnion the choreography was pretty darn bad. The Music Man like number had a cameo by Mickey Rooney in it that was cute. Was he in Music Man? Wasn’t that Dick Van Dyke? Oh well.
The bits that really work is where the humans take a back seat to the Muppets. The part where the gang gets back together is fun. The parts where they come back to the studio after only 5 years to find holes in the roof. Somehow in this timeline the Muppet Theater and Studios closed down in the late 1970’s… which is odd in itself as the last Muppet TV movie came out in 2005 and clearly the characters saw themselves as movie stars in that production. What is the deal with the 80’s robot? Why is it a featured character when Pepe the Prawn is relegated to only appearing in once scene? I think it would have been amusing to have Pepe drive the car as he would not be able to see over the dashboard, and could have suggested taking an underwater shortcut he knew of to France.
So you have a Muppet movie where Kermit and Miss Piggy are not the stars, way too much going on with the human leads who fill the screen for a large chunk of the movies. Many sequences used in the clever trailers were cut from the movie. The 3-D gimmicks were pretty darn obvious and contrived. The ending of this movie is a mess in the same way the end of Quantum Leap was a mess. I get the feeling it ended downbeat and they decided to fix it after test audiences hated it.
Yes, it is a Muppet movie, and yes it is worth watching, but of all the Muppet movies I would rank it with a tie for last place with Muppet’s From Space.
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