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Frank Oz worked on a new Muppet movie script

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

  1. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Ok, I got it! I just wrote this to answer Heralde in another thread, but this is it. This is my main issue with the new film:

    Thats my problem with the new film...theres no moments of beauty behold. Its just whiz bang family guy style. I miss the subtle quiet moments, the breathing room, the natural progression without cheap quick edits, and the ambient moments of the original films especially TMM and TMTM
    Epictetus likes this.
  2. Epictetus

    Epictetus Member

    I can sympathize. I was a senior in high school when the first new Star Wars movie came out. (Shows how old I am!) I was so excited about having Star Wars back on the big screen that I twisted myself into knots trying to love that movie. I even claimed to like Jar Jar Binks. I wanted it - really wanted it - to be good.

    I think I kept up this belief until I saw the second film, when I finally was forced to admit that the films were just terrible. It felt like a house of cards collapsing.

    Anyway - not to over-dramatise or make your example stronger than you wish it to be. Just saying I know what it's like to be really excited about the very idea of a film.

    It's hard to do adequate justice by all the Muppets - there are so many great ones! Gonzo, Pepe, and Rizzo are certainly three of my favorites (Gonzo forever!), but I could understand wanting to focus on others. But in this film, who's in focus? Walter... kinda? It feels like they sacrificed giving an adequate story to anybody.

    Interesting! That's news to me.

    I have an embarrassing question: what's VMX?

    I haven't seen it - I wasn't really interested, but the positive mention from you and a few other positive reviews makes me feel like checking it out.
  3. brkndwnbus

    brkndwnbus Active Member

    "It's a Verry Merry Muppet Christmas."

    I just rewatched "Letters to Santa" the other night. I enjoy it more with every viewing.
  4. Epictetus

    Epictetus Member

    Whoops! I was thinking of the wrong thing. You meant this Letters to Santa. No, I need to check it out!
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    So it really seems everyone's main problem IS the edits. I completely agree... but it's like they were planning a sweeping Epic and Disney told them to cut most of it out for cineplexes that would rather fill the time with Coke ads. I wanna see more film, you wanna see more film, everyone wants to see more film. Hopefully we get a director's cut that puts the most important of those cuts back into the film... but it's clearly only going to be on a blu-ray only edition. The movie could very well have been longer and the audiences would have loved it just the same, maybe more. They should have at least put something at the end of the credits. But on the plus side, the only gonky part was the Me Party... perhaps if they cut that out, we could have had the Tex Richman backstory, but I guess Amy would have lobbied for that to be there.

    But take my advice... if you focus on flaws of a film, that IS all you see. There's a lot of good in that film, and I prefer their vision to an out of shape insider view. We'd get another classic retelling or some other theme thing that's DTV... we'd not be excited and kinda feel dead inside upon watching it.

    I've seen this happen too long... everyone LOVES a film, someone says "X" is wrong with it, and immediately everyone hates the thing. We probably wouldn't even have a film to discuss without them. Maybe an almost good DTV project... but that's it.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  6. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    "The Muppets" is a really good movie. I posted a review at www.muleythemule.com about it.

    I would LOVE for Frank Oz to write and direct the next Muppet movie! Please Diz, make it so.
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Frank's probably off on his own thing... I'd LOVE to see him write the next film... but that's up to him as much as it is Disney.
  8. Duke Remington

    Duke Remington Active Member

    What if Frank doesn't want to direct another Muppet film?

    Why must some people be stuck in the past so much?

    It's clear that Frank has been trying desperately to distance himself from the Muppets as much as possible, not wanting to get type-cast as a "Muppet person", so I think we ought to respect him by letting him be, wishing him well and allowing him to be free to do what he wants.

    I'd be cool if Segel, Stoller, Bobin, etc. were given a chance to do another Muppet film--they hit a home run with this film and they understand the characters and what makes the Muppets tick overall, so why not?

    Disney has done right by the Muppets and it would not be smart to pick on them, especially after all they've done for us. After all, you wouldn't want to bite the hand that feeds you, do you?
  9. Puckrox

    Puckrox Well-Known Member

    I can agree there are a lot of whiz bang moments, but I wouldn't go so far as to say there aren't any moments of beauty. Rainbow Connection? Where they all lock hands? That's pretty beautiful. And the whole Rainbow Connection scene. And I think Pictures In My Head is one of the most well done scenes in all the Muppet movies (not the most well done, but one of them). And, yes, it is overall very fast paced and goes by quickly (*shakes fist at editors*), but the Muppets are just finding their footing again. For their first feature film after twelve years? I think they did a nice job transitioning back into it all.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  10. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member



    Firstly, did I say he wasn't wished well and could not do what he wanted? Am I stuck in the past? Nope, but I'm sure not going to discredit history.

    Your response to me and calling me out obviously means you know me so well, and so you SHOULD know that I've always supported Frank's career outside of The Muppets, and I have always supported The Muppets' career post-Frank. But, I also still appreciate the work he did while he was with the Muppets even if you prefer to ignore that history and live in the here-and-now; that's fine for you, but I'm in it for the overall experience: old, new, possibilities of the future...

    Secondly, isn't the title of the thread a "what if" based on the article linked in the first post? I think it is. Having been around here for years and years I'm quite aware how to use and post in a forum and staying on-topic (or even going off-topic if it's a fun conversation going that way).

    Why must some people be stuck in jumping into a thread they don't agree with to begin with and then 'set someone straight' without appreciating that it's their opinion? Did I bite the hand of Disney or debunk what they have done, or fail to appreciate the new movie? Nope.

    And who's to say that Frank's career isn't leading him in the direction to direct a Muppets production? In your grand wisdom of his wants, likes and dislikes, are you so sure that he wouldn't want to work with the Muppets again? Likely, it isn't; but, when I'm asked if I'd like to see it happen based on that he'd worked on a new script per the article and I say yes, then that's me.

    I think that the majority of your posts seem to be quite aggressive and that isn't very effective posting in a forum this size. I respect the opinion of others easily; but, not when their opinion starts to aggressively attempt to tell me mine is wrong, especially when I'm posting 'on topic.'
  11. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Yeah I was a HARDCORE "Lucasfan" in the 90's. I was already well into college when Phantom Farce came out. (Episode 1 in 3d? Yeah I dont think so Lucas)
    I lovvvvved the 1995 vhs reissue of the trilogy. But I felt violated with the weird cgi meddling with star wars and return. He single handedly destroyed the jabbas palace scene, which delighted me no end as a kid.
    Then the most hyped film in history: episode one. dear goodness...it was like a very awkward rosencrantz and gildersten for the first 10 minutes. The only saving grace I felt was of course the darth maul duel scenes. And then came Attack of the Clones, which I felt was even more painfully dreadful than Phantom Menace.

    Yet strangely, strangely I immediately was in awe and fell in love with Revenge of the Sith...again, as much as the over abundance of cgi scenery bugs me.

    I see a lot of parallels between the original Muppet films and the SW trilogy. They both roughly came out all around the same time. And they both had a very long hiatus film wise afterwards.(not including classic story retellings)

    Wow, you just hit another thing I felt...the odd balance of the film. The film sets it up as walter's story, with gary and mary as secondary characters flanking his journey. Then suddenly the humans are gone, walter is in the backseat and it becomes Kermits picture. Which for fans, is great news. But again, as a love rof organic flowing films it feels a bit jilted.

    I would love to see a film or special where they go with less of the Verry Muppet Christmas Movie/Family Guy randomness and editing, and go for more of a REAL film. Uh, like how movies used to be before the 2000's.
  12. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Right, I agree it was this(which is winning hearts of audiences and critics like no other film) or just more empty promises and maybe a lame duck christmas special.

    Its not just the edits. Its a little too wink-and-nod sacarine...the population numbers flipping gag/50's pleasantville vibe/endless 4th wall jokes/travel by map/quick edit shots galore. Now obviously the audience loves this stuff. But study or just rewatch the originals. Even MFS. They dont have those. I dont know why modern films have to be so **** ADHD. Imagine the pivotal scenes in TMM with Gonzo singing Im gonna go back there someday, or Kermit seeing a version of himself. Imagine how that would be done today. Itd be a quick aside, random flashback, jerky editing.

    Also for the love of pete, please find the fur Fozzie had had pre 2009 or just recondition an old Fozzie. Same with Gonzo. I keep bringing up Letters to Santa, but to me it was such a perfect experience for me, save for the very brief run time.
  13. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Frank Oz could say the Muppets are dead to him, and it wont change my view that he's a god for all he's done. Im just glad Goelz stuck around, so we have some sort of continuity with the past.

    I'll be honest. I prefer the Jim Lewis/Thatcher/Brian Henson/the late Juhl stuff as far as post Jim Henson creative teams. I would prefer someone else make the next film, as Id like to see the cinematography for the next project get back to looking less polished. Id love to see anyone from Woody Allen, Spike Jonze, or Michel Gondry to Wes Andersen direct it
  14. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Oh you're right...there's so many scenes with Walter...subtle nuanced scenes that really got to me. The rainbow connection, and a lot of Kermits speeches were breathlessly done.

    What I mean is just really organic nuanced moments as glimpsed in the first movies. The "montage" bit is a funny gag, but it left a weird taste in my mouth. Theyd never do such family guy edit stuff in the original films. I just love the wide open road with kermit and fozzie in that beatup studebaker. Or Gonzo singing to himself in the desert. Or Kermit witnessing a version of himself. That film feels so real, it doesnt at all feel like a kids film.

    I agree 100% tho, for a return to the big screen this is what was needed. No film in circulation has as high critical acclaim or organic grassroots buzz as Muppets(twilight was more of an expected turnout, with heavily bad reviews)
    Puckrox and heralde like this.
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    That's the best way to put it. It isn't this film... it's ALL of them. Though, remember, I have the iron constitution that let me sit through films you wouldn't dream of seeing. The kid's films I've seen in the past couple years are FAR more ADHD and uselessly frantic than this one it. There was no call for Yogi Bear to randomly dance to an overused 1990's Sir Mix-a-lot hip hop... the editing in the second Chipmunks movie (I REFUSE to see the third on that basis alone) was clearly done by Sonic the Hedgehog and the Road Runner... and the toy store sequence in the Smurf movie probably caused as much seizures as Twilight did. Pixar's like the ONLY studio that can even get away with slow, organic pacing. Even Cars was a slug compared to some of the other stuff.

    It's like those guys who complain about modern Sesame Street comparing the show to itself, while not looking at the drastic dive in kid's programming in general. SS can't compare to itself, but looking at it from the perspective that we lost Reading Rainbow and Zoobile Zoo and got Barney and Dora, it's still a high quality kid's show. Trends in kid's programming drag Sesame Street down, so didn't trends in movies drag this one down. But again, maybe the problem was the forced run time. Everything I read suggests they could make a second movie just on the stuff cut out. That often includes extra exchanges that could have settled the pacing down. The filmmakers tried very hard to give it a classic feel, but they're products of modern film... but I still think a director's cut will fix most of the issues.

    I had no problem with the rest of the humans disappearing midway (not as much as I have for Tex's backstory being gone), honestly because I took it as a movie on the perspective of Walter. We don't see all too much of the relationship because we don't quite have to. I'd call it a little brother perspective of their older brother's relationships... something tells me Walter barely knows Mary or what's going on with them. I kinda see a little of that in myself with my sister, and I'm the OLDER brother. Maybe I just found that more relatable... I dunno. All and all, it was a short subplot. Somehow I think the film could have worked a little without her, but then you'd lose the subtle choice between Gary supporting his brother and moving on with his life. A couple more scenes could have helped straighten it out, but that's my interpretation.

    Still... back to the deleted scenes issue... I've seen all kinds. Stuff that should have been cut, stuff that makes the pacing a little better, deleted punchlines with the set up still in the movie (like in UHF, the scene where the nature show guy is attacked by poodles... even though it was just a stunt double because the guy died in produiction), deleted set ups with now nonsequitor and irrelevant payoffs, and stuff that makes no sense to cut but was forced out (I disagree with John Lassiter on the Incredibles...giving the pilot a backstory WOULD have made the plain crash feel more personal... but I agree with Brad Bird... the dream sequence was stating the obvious).... VMX's deleted scenes were mostly pointless 9the ones they showed anyway) except the thing about Santa and Bobo SHOULD have been left in, as it makes the end make more sense... but that was time, and that's even stricter than movie time cuts.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  16. Epictetus

    Epictetus Member

    We're not engaging in unanchored hypotheticals. This is a quote from an article in Wired:

    Let's make our arguments fact-based, when possible.
  17. Duke Remington

    Duke Remington Active Member

    Sorry, but I don't completely agree.

    I think the new movie is real enough for what it is and all the things you mentioned are exactly the kinds of things that the Muppets would do (making fun of old movie trops like travelling by map, constant fourth-wall-breaking, etc.).

    As much as I respect those individuals as much as the next fan, constantly relying on them could cause the franchise to crash and burn.

    Also, I sometimes think Jim Lewis, et al. (no offense) don't understand some of the characters all that well (for example: the fact that Miss Piggy lost a lot of her "human" side, compassion, sense of humor and other more positive traits in many recent projects in favor of making her too mean, violent, possessive, etc., while the new movie actually gave the pig a lot of her old personality traits back).
  18. Epictetus

    Epictetus Member

    Amen. Amen, amen, amen.

    I don't think it's just ADHD, though... the Muppets have always been frenetic and chaotic: it's a fundamental part of their charm. But energy and chaos have to be anchored in skill and purpose; when speed and randomness are used to cover up something that doesn't really work on its own, they become obnoxious.

    It's a little bit like the ubiquitous use of shaky cam (hand-held camera) in modern films. Shaky cam has its uses when deployed sparingly and purposefully. (The one scene in Rushmore where the camera follows Bill Murray as he disrupts some kids' basketball game while talking on his cellphone is an example of skillful use of this technique.) But it is vastly overused these days to create a cheap, ersatz feeling of immediacy. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! See how the camera is shaking! It's like you're really there!" It's a sign of laziness and a sign of lack of knowledge of movie-craft.

    Anyway, not all modern films are terrible. In kids films there is, of course, Pixar, that towering giant of modern achievement, which made gorgeous, perfect / nearly-perfect films right up until the Cars movies. And there's Pixar's chief inspiration, Studio Ghibli (in Japan), headed by Hayao Miyazaki, creator of Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind to name only a smattering of my favorite of his films.

    I do think we have a problem in America with our attitude toward children. We want everything to be sanitized of any speck of danger before we show it our precious little ones, then we ourselves are so bored by the material that we demand tons of sly references to us to get us through the agonizing experience of watching what we've demanded. Pixar and Studio Ghibli, which have a much deeper respect for the value and complexity of childhood experiences, stand virtually alone.
  19. Epictetus

    Epictetus Member

    These aspects of the movie were like someone reproducing the mannerisms of the earlier films without understanding the reason for them. The Muppets have always broken the fourth wall, because the idea was that they were actors and producers and technicians: TMM was the Muppets making a movie about trying to break in to the movies. They were like the many comedians who go to Hollywood: their chief source for material was their own lives and the people they knew.

    One of the (many) problems with the new film is how lazy the meta references are (ie, fourth-wall breaking), and how they're used to apologize for the flimsiness of the story. In The Muppets, it's not that the required linearity of making a story is disrupted by how mad-cap and fundamentally uncontrollable the Muppets are... it's that the movie is threatened by how underwhelming and half-baked the story itself is.

    The chief example is how the story of picking up the Muppet diaspora is ended by a time-saving move to a montage. Why? Because the idea they started with turned out to be so boring they couldn't stick with it. Do you remember the original Muppet road trip scene? Do you remember the Movin' Right Along song? OF COURSE YOU DO. IT'S ONE OF THE BEST PARTS OF MUPPET HISTORY. If you're going to yank on our heartstrings by referencing it and recreating it, don't confess moments later that you have NOTHING to add to it and abandon ship in the cheapest manner possible.

    Yes: the new filmmakers recreate a bunch of the mannerisms of the older films. They saw, but they did not understand.
  20. Sgt Floyd

    Sgt Floyd Well-Known Member

    BUT WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?! :p

    No really though, I hate those parenting groups with a passion.
    Epictetus likes this.


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