The Muppet Movie (1979) (G)
As quick witted as it is zany as it is completely full of Monty Python-head scratcher moments, "The Muppet Movie" proves that you can do good at being an easy success if you have a good script to work with. Borrowing quirks from Mel Brooks (who makes a hilarious cameo as an evil German scientist) to "The Rocky and Bullwinkle" show, "The Muppet Movie" showcases the talent of Jim Henson without making it all about the muppets as set pieces.
Beginning as the muppets have gathered together to watch the final cut of the "The Muppet Movie"—you should get used to the self-referential humor and the jokes directed right at the audience—Kermit the Frog introduces the film as the story telling how the muppets came together.
The real real movie begins in the swamp where Kermit, banjo in hand, sings about rainbows and a Hollywood agent approaches him about turning him into a star.
The actual plot of the movie is more like a series of odd instances like "Around the World in Eighty Days". What works here is that "The Muppet Movie" isn't masquerading as anything above entertainment, and it's actually funny.
Wonderfully twisted, Doc Hopper (Charles Durning) plays the villain of the movie. A restaurateur in training, he wants to open up a chain of restaurants that sell—what else?—frog legs. Guess who he wants to be the face of the restaurant? None other than our plush, green hero.
The first time he sees Kermit is at the El Sleezo bar where the kindly frog tries to help save Fozzie Bear from an angry audience mob.
The two muppets team up and start their way towards Hollywood to live the life of the rich and famous. En route they meet the rest of the motley crew and thus begins the road adventure.
"The Muppet Movie" has catchy tunes and a wicked tongue-in-cheek way of poking fun at itself. It's a wonderful example of satire mixed with a kid's movie. The film is smart enough to actually mock the star-making process while it is dumb enough to have the fluff flying around with explosions.
We've all met them before, but the gags really work in the movie. Take a scene in which Steve Martin plays a begrudging water for example. Kermit orders some really nasty wine for less than a dollar. Somehow the scene convinces you that the cheap champagne and the bottle top opener, mixed with Martin's eye rolling, is funny.
The way that everything is built up could have collapsed under the weight of the muppets, but "The Muppet Movie" has a sweet running time and is never short of a quick one-liner.
From brain melting devices to the idea of endorsing cannibalism to a critique on how starlets treat their friends, there is nary a dull moment in "The Muppet Movie".
Some scenes stretch on too long, like the beginning ode to rainbows; but by the end when a reprise gathers the entire ensemble, I must admit (much as I hate to) that I got goosebumps...then again, that's not hard.
"The Muppet Movie" is engaging and gloriously colorful. It has a funny script and catchy songs.
What more do you want?
Posted by Micah Jones