- Title: The Muppet Movie
- IMDB: link
Jim Henson’s The Muppet Movie remains one of the fondest memories of my childhood. It begins with a frog, a banjo, and a dream. The “approximate” retelling of how the Muppets met and made their way to Hollywood is still a joy over twenty-five years later. There’s just something tangible about the muppets that even the best CGI hasn’t been able to achieve.
We begin in the swamp where Kermit the Frog dreams about a life in Hollywood. Hearing from a passerby Bernie the agent (Dom DeLuise) that there are openings for frogs in Hollywood Kermit leaves the swamp to make his dreams come true. On the way he picks up companions such as Fozzie the Bear, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Ralph the Dog, and Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. The road to Hollywood is not without it’s bumps however. Kermit and his new friends must deal with the spurned Doc Harper (Charles Durning) who desperately wanted Kermit for the spokesman for his Frog Legs Restaurant. Kermit’s constant refusals make Hopper mad enough to make sure Kermit has hopped off his last lily pad.
This is the first of Jim Henson‘s movies using his muppet characters and it remains the best. Though not as exciting as The Great Muppet Caper it’s the personal story and shows the heart of the franchise. And it’s got some great music.
Kermit’s opening number Rainbow Connection is just a terrific song and not just in kiddie movie terms. Gonzo’s desert melody I’m Going to Go Back There Someday is a haunting melancholy tune. There are also humorous tunes such as Kermit and Fozzie’s toe tappin’ road trip duet Movin’ Right Along and Kermit and Ralph’s I Hope That Something Better Comes Along discussing the problem with women.
The film is filled with cameo performances, Orson Welles and Steve Martin being my favorites, but the real stars are the muppets themselves who are fully realized with individual flaws and foibles. Whether it’s Miss Piggy’s greed or Gonzo’s strange chicken fetish each muppet has something which makes them uniquely them.
The film actually teaches some good lessons: always follow your dreams, you have to stand up to bullies and stand up for your friends, how to sneak into a movie executive’s office, keep believing, keep pretending, and that women will always drive you crazy.
As the Swedish Chef says “The flim is okie-dokie;” I’m so happy this is once again available on DVD. Full of some recurring gags and puns (myth, myth) and terrific music it’s just a thoroughly enjoyable experience that works as well for me as an adult as it did when I was four. It’s hard to watch without a smile as the film is filled with images of Piggy and Kermit running through a field, Gonzo flying through the air with a bunch of balloons, and Fozzie performing the worst comic act ever (at least we know where Carrot Top got his inspiration). The Muppet Movie is a worthy addition to any DVD collection. They just don’t make ones like this this anymore.