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Frank Oz worked on a new Muppet movie script

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by cahuenga, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. Epictetus

    Epictetus Member

    Yes, everything that is popular is good!
  2. JJandJanice

    JJandJanice Active Member

    Well...that's pretty much in the same boat as saying because YOU don't like it, it shouldn't be considered good overall, is it not?

    Not to say that I always agree with Rotten Tomatoes, there have been a few movies I've rather enjoyed that have gotten low approval scores on that website. But still, a lot of people are enjoying the Muppets, sorry if you're not among them.
    Puckrox likes this.
  3. Epictetus

    Epictetus Member

    I didn't like it because I think it's bad. I've given arguments for why I think so. You are free, as an independent mind, to find those arguments persuasive or unpersuasive. That's the way life works.

    It seems kinda hypocritical to acknowledge that Rotten Tomatoes is no certain meter of quality, but to trot it out as ammunition for your argument since, this time, it suits you.
  4. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Epictetus, you'll find this strange to believe...and given I don't care what people think of my opinions, I will just say I agree with almost everything you said.

    Now some might think "Cory, how can you say the movie is an amazing watershed moment yet agree with Epictetus". Well it's because it's a complex situation. On one hand I felt the movie hit some pretty deep resonating notes for me, particularly the opening scene and some of the recreation.

    But as epictetus says, it feels like merely a recreation at times. It's hard for me to articulate, but the new film feels like an imitation...a really interesting one. One that has a lot of stark notes. But something feels empty, I dont know what it is. Ive wrestled with this...afterall, how can I question a film thats a 98% critical acclaim success and an audience hit? But something about the movie feels off.
    I just felt like I was watching an interpretation of what a muppet movie might feel like, but perhaps not a wholly authentic one. I feel Letters to Santa is more like a true muppet film to me in tone, as much as thats filled with fantastical contrivences.

    One thing is, this new film is CERTAINLY not a classic feeling movie ala the original. It feels like a very modern shot/edited film that wants to echo a classic time.

    The emotional buttons both happy and mournful that the movie presents us are genuine...I just am left amiss. The film, other than my issues with the editing and lack of pepe/rizzo/robin/etc is a fine film and a PERFECT introduction to a new generation...it is a love letter.

    But an authentic muppet film? I dont know...Im still wrestling with that. I feel like Muppets From Space feels more like a true muppet film as poorly wrangled as that ended up being.
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    You see, it's that level of hypercritical elitism that annoyed the heck out of everyone who disagrees with you. Not so much what your saying, but how you're saying it.

    That's a REALLY condescending attitude. It honestly is. I get your arguments for not liking the film, but all it comes down to is saying "I don't like the film, therefore it is bad, I have spoken, therefore I'm right." I understand your arguments, but it all amounts to "This is not my taste of humor, so the jokes MUST be bad" and "once someone makes a joke, it's never to be made again or it becomes a cliche."

    Here's a Non-cliched movie concept... a purple banana with fish for eyes glues together a walrus with backwards kabuki music plays in the background. Certainly that hasn't been done. Cliches are cliches for a reason.

    Over all, the only thing I would tend to agree with is the lack of depth on the part of some of the humans, but that's because scenes that HAD the depth were forced to be cut out. We don't know of the fight that sent Kermit and Piggy apart unless you read the novelization, nor the secret machinations of Tex Richman, who had the Muppets perform at a birthday party, yet couldn't laugh, causing a childhood trauma. That SHOULD have been in the movie, but wasn't because the cineplexes need more time in each movie run time to show the exact same Coke and Ford commercials that you see on television anyway. A good 10-20 minutes would have done wonders for the film.

    My personal favorite is the assessment that you're right because you're in the minority. Critics like it, the fans like it, people who didn't care enough about the franchise to realize they've been around forever like it... in the end, what matters more? A majority of people who enjoy something for what it is, or a handful that hate the movie for what it isn't? Beaker's assessment makes sense. No matter how fancifully you word your arguments, it comes down to "I don't like it, therefore it's bad." Which we don't mind at all. But to add the "you're clearly wrong because I'm right because I just wrote an A+ college term paper of a post about it" is why everyone's kinda snotting at you.
  6. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Now let's not get carried away! Lol ;)
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, the script had a wave of Muppet feeling that the director didn't see. I tend to like MFS, even with it's flaws (better than MCC for that matter), but it's hardly as Muppety as VMX or MTI were. Still, this new movie gave a solid script, solid direction, a solid vision, yet unfortunate choices in edits.
  8. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I'll be honest, I don't see it either. ;)

    But it's OK, agree to disagree. :)
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Oh, I'm not disagreeing. MFS's BIG problem was the director, while the several smaller problems were the laboriousness of the script. It's enjoyable, I like it, but it lacked just so much. And I really disliked how Miss Piggy was used in that movie. They seemed to remember that she's a diva and does Karate, but little else. There's virtually no Kermit/Piggy interaction other than them both being there. Even MCC and MTI managed to have them as a couple. And I just don't get Animal's role in it at all other than merchandising potential. But we had some golden moments with Gonzo, not to mention the play between Jeff Tambor and Bobo. Along with Pepe and some of the other new characters, that made the film more enjoyable. But it was heavily lacking overall. It wasn't quite as passionless as MuppetOz, though that can also be because of the awkward chemistry between the Muppets and Ashanti... but some scenes they felt like they were zombies in... how come no one asked Frank his opinion on that? Seems he'd have some choice things to say.

    Which, again, is why I can't say anything bad about The Muppets script, writing or directing. Editing, maybe... but that's kinda out of their hands. The writers and directors were simpatico, they welcomed any and all changed suggested by Muppet Studios team (how they handled the house situation in the movie is FAR better than just having him live in a mansion)... and honestly, yes... the story was better for their suggestions. Walter works better as the inexplicable brother of Gary than a ventriloquist figure like in the first draft... and gone are those odd references to Vince Vaughn and Sleepers or Sliders or Slippers or whatever that movie was. Swingers...
    Duke Remington and heralde like this.
  10. Epictetus

    Epictetus Member

    No, you don't.
  11. Epictetus

    Epictetus Member

    I actually agree with these criticisms of Muppets From Space. The jokes were just so funny and the Gonzo / Bobo / Pepe characters so great that my experience of the film was overwhelmingly positive. MFS is a hard movie to defend, in a way - every time I read a criticism, I find myself nodding along. For me, though, it was a flawed film that still had a lot going for it.
  12. Epictetus

    Epictetus Member

    Your experience makes a lot of sense to me. For me, MFS is a little bit similar: it had lots of things wrong with it, but still provided a core that just worked. I can imagine a person feeling similarly about the new film.

    In my opinion, what's off about The Muppets is more fundamentally related to movie-craft: the script, dialogue, and story have tremendous technical flaws. And, ultimately, I care more about good movie-making than I do about seeing the Muppets. (I can always rewatch really well-made Muppet movies, and I get a lot of pleasure out of rewatching good films.) But I could imagine the perspective of someone who cares more about the existential core of the Muppets themselves than the artifice of the film in which they appear.
  13. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    The song is about them each coming to terms with growing up. "Muppet" isn't really literal; it's used as a metaphor. Gary's conflict with stepping up his relationship with Mary and learn to take that responsibility and Walter's conflict is being too dependent on Gary. Kermit invites him to join them, but Walter doesn't feel he's ready (emotionally). Being with the Muppets would mean he'd have to leave Gary and learn to live on his own; having had Gary be with him throughout his entire life because of his difference.

    And Gary was never jealous of Walter. Are you referring to the scene during the "We Built this City" montage? He saw he was having a good time with Fozzie and left him in his care, knowing Walter was alright on his own at the moment. Walter finding where he belongs is something Gary's been hoping for and seeing him with Fozzie gives him the inkling he's found his place.
    Duke Remington and Puckrox like this.
  14. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Explain it all you want, he clearly doesn't care.

    And quite frankly, I don't care about his opinion either. He's entitled to it, he's welcomed to it... he won't change his mind no matter what... it's his. If he wants to think he's the end all be all because it's a movie that's bad in his opinion, fine with me.

    Even looking at it in a non-Muppet perspective, it's not even a bad movie in that context. Flawed? Yeah sure... nothing putting back scenes couldn't fix. I've seen BAD before... I've seen terrible... this doesn't even come close to "needs work." It's not the sloppy, choppy, slapdash effort of every single kids movie made in the past 15 years that isn't animated. The writing here is far smarter than most of the stuff I've seen this year alone... and that INCLUDES Pixar.

    But whatever... let's go back to taking a single sentence Frank Oz said about an early draft of the script out of context, giving this fuel to be the worstest movie of all times ever. And really... if anyone's argument includes the word "Fart Shoes" which took up a grand total of 10 seconds of the movie, I'm not even going to dignify that with a response.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  15. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Well sorry but even if I like the movie, I'm still going to bring that up because it has zero business being in a movie intended to actually have humor, lol. ;)
  16. Epictetus

    Epictetus Member

    I like your exegesis of the song and the respective conflicts of both Gary and Walter. To be fair, the actual lyrics of the song offer very little assistance in reaching your interpretation. The script itself offers only the faintest breadcrumbs in arriving at your much stronger story, too: has Gary been conflicted about taking responsibility for his relationship to Mary? He forgot their anniversary; they haven't gotten married yet. The threads are there for the story to pick up, but the story did not bother to actually do so. Is Walter concerned about life without Gary? If so, where's the dialogue to show it? All I really remember is a lot of weak-sauce hand-wringing about whether he had a talent.

    I can see the potential for this on the drawing board, but it doesn't yet qualify as an actual script. This is why I keep describing it as half-baked. It's not that all the ideas are bad.

    All this said, it makes me wish I could refer more directly to the script or scenes in a movie to see whether there's text there to support your argument that I missed the first time around.

    I am referring to that scene; you offer an interesting and different interpretation of it than I had. I think I'd have to rewatch the scene to see what specific clues we could use to figure out which one is more likely to be correct. I appreciate your alternative suggestion.

    Thanks for taking time to share your arguments!
  17. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Little tip... interpretation is a PERSONAL thing. It doesn't NEED to be proven correct.

    See Oscarfan, TOLD ya it doesn't matter.
    Puckrox likes this.
  18. Epictetus

    Epictetus Member

    The only reply necessary.

    See 14:37 for the relevant bit.
  19. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Yeah I find it hard to disagree with you. I got so caught up in the "OMG MUPPETS ON THE BIG SCREEN" that I got lost in my true feeling. I defer to my original original thoughts in where the film left me feeling a bit depressed. Depressed of course because of the theme, but depressed in that something just felt off.

    I think they nailed the emotion right in parts, but that something feels drastically off. I think I almost can see MFS as being more of a solid Muppet experience for me. I mean where was Gonzo in the new film? Or Pepe, that they along with Rizzo built up as some of the main characters? They were trying so hard to be a modern hip film yet try and pay fan service to hardcore TMS fans...it seems like they lost a clear identity.
    The pacing is what kills me. My hunches that massive edits/whole scenes were left on the editing bay were right from some recent articles that have popped up

    For me its a dream come true to see Uncle Deadly, Behemoth, Droop, etc with speaking lines in a major movie as well as see screentime to a zillion other "Rare" background characters...but even from the first 2 minute trailer I felt something was drastically off about this movie. Im not sure if its just the pacing or the tone or what.

    I have a hard time seeing myself watching this every year like I do the classics and even newer tv specials. Like VMX, I kind of got caught up in the splendor of it, and like VMX I'll rewatch it for certain scenes. But the film actually does feel like a big screen version of VMX more than I realized.

    What did you think of Letters to Santa? While heavily truncated, it feels like the Muppet film I had been waiting so long for, and to me doesnt have the typical made for tv look
    Epictetus likes this.
  20. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Actually I find his opinion refreshing and important. And I welcome him to MC:)
    I get kind of tired of all the yesmen stuff, and like critical opinions. I mean even I, a massive Matrix and Tron fan was adament about issues I had with the sequels as much as I still loved them

    This new film in no way shape or form feels "classic" to me. The way its shot/written/directed feels very modern, and doesnt really have the magic of the natural way all previous films played out. Even MFS upon repeat viewings I now "get" more.
    Again not saying its bad, its a fun experience. I see why it gets high marks with critics and fans alike.

    But on a deeper level, Im just not feeling the magic as much as I thought I had been.
    A lot of the movie feels like a "hey guess who's back? sure were pressed for time so were gonna do a cheap "motage" as a sly gag, but hey its gonzo! its scooter! its the electric mayhem...well aLL RIGHT!"

    Its a fan letter, but not a true letter. Its not even what Thatcher and Brian could have come up with. We NEEDED an outside perspective, a non JHC person to revitalize the Muppets, but ultimatley Im not sure I feel it feels at home with the breadth of the movies.
    heralde likes this.


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