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Jim Hill on Saban, the Muppets, and Disney

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Phillip, Oct 9, 2002.

  1. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Phil! That was a good read!

    I'd hate to get back on my anti-Saban platform (dispite the fact I need the excersize!), but according to this, if Disney bought the Muppets, we'd have more Disneyworld Muppet attratcions. Does this mean that Muppetvision 3d, and this new Playhouse Disney thing will fall through? DOes it mean they're gone? Is there less reason for me to go there?
  3. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    It's a nice read, but unfortunately Jim Hill has missed the connection between Disney and Saban that shoots down a lot of what he has written. I guess Henson confirming Saban was in talks with EMTV was where he took it for granted that Saban would actually be the person running JHC - in fact it's probably not the case and you can read about it here
  4. murgatoad

    murgatoad Well-Known Member

    Sorry, guys, but I think some of you really need a bracing dose of reality here. The Muppets are a faded commodity. Period. They may have a certain nostalgia value, but that's about it. This situation came about partly because the Muppets were primarily a novelty act, and the novelty's worn off. Plus high-tech has aced them; for most people, it's a lot more fun to watch a CGI-animated Sully from "Monsters Inc." than a hand-operated Gonzo. For one thing, the CGI Sully is far more flexible and expressive. That's just the way it is. Plus IMO there has been massive mismanagement of the characters themselves. Given all this, IMO $100 million is a VERY reasonable price. The last Muppet movie flopped. The recent special involving Kermit was panned by critics (who are usually pretty soft on Henson) and probably is a dud at the video level. What have the Muppets to offer audiences today? I have a certain fondness for them myself, the way my father had a soft spot for Kukla, Fran and Ollie, but I also have a realistic view of them and their place in this day and age. And frankly, given a choice, I'd rather watch product from Pixar then from the Creature Shop. Because Pixar does with computer imagery what the CS is still trying to do with strings, pulleys and servos. The Muppets a crown jewel? Come on; they were dethroned a long time ago by new technology and creators who, if not more talented, were at least a bit less self-deluded.

  5. jeffy

    jeffy Well-Known Member

    This makes me mad.

    The Muppets are a faded commodity, but this has nothing to do with technology. The only thing it has to do with, in my humble opinion, is how the Jim Henson Company has become incompetent, regarding management and promotion their product, ever since Jim passed.

    I loved watching Sulley in Monster's, Inc. (the best movie of 2001, in my opinion), but nothing in the world will replace watching Gonzo on Dave Goelz's arm at MuppetFest last year, or any Muppet in any Muppet production. Even the questionable Muppets From Space had its magical moments for me, that can never be replaced by CGI. Sure CGI is great, but its *supplemental*, not replacing.

    Your saying that CGI has "aced" the Muppets is absurd. How can you say that artwork created by hand is somewhat less special than that created by on a computer graphics program?! I really enjoyed the Final Fantasy movie, but to say that computer graphic actors "aces" live actors is crazy.

    It's not about how fancy the end product looks (don't judge a book by it's cover!). What grabs me is the heart that goes into making it happen.

    :' (
  6. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    If you hate the Muppets so much...THEN WHY THE HECK ARE YOU ON THIS BOARD!??!?!?!?!?
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Besides.. the only reason why no one likes them anymore, is because the MORON public is too busy watching Porn and mindless reality shows!!!

    Henson is too good for today's market!!

    Now kindly watch your toungue, sir!
  8. GWGumby

    GWGumby Well-Known Member

    Actually, now they have porn, mindless reality shows, and muppets all-in-one! It's called Crank Yankers.

    I think Murgatoad has a few valid points, but loses most credibility when saying people want to see Sully over a Muppet. That's just plain wrong. I want to see hand animated cartoons like Lilo & Stitch, stop-motion animation like Nightmare Before Christmas and Wallace & Gromit, and paper cut-outs like South Park (which admittedly is actually CGI), puppets, dummies and marionettes just as much as I want to see CGI animation.

    New technologies do not make former ones obsolete, they merely offer alternatives. The illusion of life is what we enjoy in all animation whether puppet or drawing or computer pixels.
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I feel that new technology cannot chew up old technology. CGI is becoming more accesable to people, causing god awful local commercials that look like something you could do on a bloody etch-a-sketch! Trust me!

    But the Muppets are NOT ancient history! With the Palisades line, the New CD, and talks of a new Fox show (and sesame street still going strong), they will not die out!

    Power rangers, however, died out after christmas of 1993!
  10. EmmyMik

    EmmyMik Well-Known Member

    I think Jim said it best (or maybe it was Rowlf, I can't remember) when he said, "Technology will never replace art."
  11. danielromens

    danielromens Well-Known Member

    Actually I don't think he's wrong when he says people would rather watch Sully, but I don't think he's right either. I also don't think Dr. Tooth behaved when someone states and opinion he disagrees with. But check the numbers and see for yourself who did better in the box office, Kermit and Gonzo or Mike and Sully?

    There you go. It doesn't mean the one is instantly more liked, but it shows you what's pop right now. The Muppets are not. Most of the buzz their getting now isn't because of the shows the characters are in, but a toy line. Yes it's helping, but I don't think it will fill a theatre. However every picture Pixar has done has been gold. Not because the characters are more likable, but because the writing is a h*** of a lot better than the stuff Henson has been doing. At Pixar the story is the most important and they are on top of their game.

    That's why they don't need Disney anymore. Dis is doing nothing but sucking up profits for work they have nothing to do with outside of funding. But thankfully not for long. I see the tyranny of the mouse coming to a close. Why would Pixar want to stay anyway. Disney has made Dinosaur without them and is talking to the Shrek folks. thats just not good business.

    The muppets better step it up if they want to retain the attention of the fickle viewing audience.
  12. GWGumby

    GWGumby Well-Known Member

    You hit a very valid point that story is most important. It doesn't matter what medium a production is in, it's the story that matters. Also, a true understanding of one's audience. I think that's been the biggest problem with the Muppets in the past 10 years is that they've blurred too much with their Sesame Street counterparts. I think the figures are a step in the right direction in making Muppets appeal to older fans. Bringing some edge back to their humor and not just marketing them to kids could really help rediscover a wider audience.

    By the way, I think it's fairly understood that when I say "edge" I do not mean "Crank Yankers." I mean sophisticated wackiness.
  13. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Heh, I guess Murgatoad didnt make it to Mupptefest, where he would have been proven beyond wrong.
  14. murgatoad

    murgatoad Well-Known Member

    You make valid points, I must admit, but I still insist that MOST people prefer watching a CGI-generated Sully over a Muppet just like most folks prefer to drive a Jaguar over a Model T. And it's not just technical prowess that makes Sully superior; it's the fact that the character was well-written for and well-performed by his "handlers". Something Gonzo and co. can scarcely claim about THEIR handlers since ol' Uncle Jim died. IMO.
  15. murgatoad

    murgatoad Well-Known Member

    FWIW I totally agree with you about how Disney is treating Pixar - like SH*T! But then I thought Disney was on its way down the tubes when Eisner, in all his arrogance, let Katzenberg go. I know Jeffy boy can play rough, but his grasp of what makes a good Disney animated film is what really brought back Disney's animation division. His loss is still being felt IMO. As for Pixar - Disney is essentially trying to get a free "Monsters" sequel out of them, from what I understand. Good for Pixar for standing up for its rights.

    And also FWIW, I think the Muppet Christmas movie at NBC has a chance of doing well. Nostalgia is big right now. I don't necessarily think that a successful TV movie will engender a comeback - but it couldn't hurt. ;)
  16. kansasteen14

    kansasteen14 Well-Known Member

    have to say I agree with you 100 percent.also I would like Dis to buy the muppets.
  17. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I still could not disagree more! CGI will NEVER replace Muppets, Puppetry, or animatronics, such as they way it will not replace human actors in a movie. Sure, Shrek and Monsters Inc were well done, but also well written. Look at all the crappy, dirivitive CGI shows on TV. Cubix, Max Steel, and Action Man in particular. They are just..just unbearably awful!!! Mindless claptrap that uses the animation to sell the show (and the crummy toys they make). Reboot was one of the few likable shows made from CGI!!!

    And bvesides, the Muppets are NOT fading from popularity. Remember the Simpsons when they first came out? Every where you'd go, there'd be Bart T-shirts, toys videogames, etc. Then in like 1992 or 3, they (though still on the air) bottomed out merchandise wise. Nothing! No toys, just a few crummy video games and so on. Now look! Comic Books, comic strips, action figures, Burger King promos..the works. Now we are hit with great stuff like Muppet action figures, bobble heads, videos, a christmas special, a fox show, and even talks of a comic book!

    It's just a Muppet Dry spell. We'll see plenty of them in months, years, decades to come!
  18. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Thats right - just look at whats happened to ALF now - even more peculiar. Nothing for ten years almost and now a 3 year advertising deal, soon to come prime time series, DVD's, loads of merchandise. All the retro stuff is getting so popular right now.
  19. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    OK. All you people every where. Beau is about to speak.

    I want to start by addressing you all and saying that each and every one of you has a point.

    Although I disagree that the Muppets have been badly Performed since "Ol' Uncle Jim" died. The puppeting in KSY was the only thing that almost saved it, the puppets were rubish the script was dreadful, and the actors were well some words do come to mind.

    Which moves me on to say that yes I agree that the Muppet script writers have somhow gone downhill. Compare Muppet Treasure Island to KSY.

    The maiprolemI think with the muppets now is that, because of the Hoops, Mopotops Shop, andBeari the Big Blue House which are doing well for childrenn the last film was aimedat children.Where as Toy Story and Mosters were writen for adults to enjoy as well as kids.

    So what I'd say to JHC is that they should bull up their socks, get some better writers and story lines and aim their films back at an older geeration where they belong.

    And now Beau has spoken ---------- Naghy
  20. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    EM.TV does not own KirchMedia (in case didn't say that already). They are two different companies. I know Saban is interested in them too, but I seriously doubt that has anything to do with the Henson sale.

    Unless someone knows different.

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