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Some thoughts on Muppet Treasure Island

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by Beauregard, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. Auberoun

    Auberoun Member

    If he had been Scrooge's nephew in MCC, then it would be almost "mandatory" to make Scrooge into JP Grosse...which wouldn't have been all that bad come to think of it.
    I think Scooter would have made a good Jim Hawkins personally.
  2. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    I watched it for the second time last night, and most of my first impressions were confirmed. I just didn't like that film much. I don't care to see Muppets shoehorned into other characters in a public domain story, playing second bananas to humans. The songs did nothing for me. I actively dislike Fozzie's portrayal as a halfwit or nutcase. And don't get me started on the Kermit's blandness.

    There were a few good bits in the movie. Gonzo and Rizzo were great. And why not? They got to be themselves! And I did enjoy playing spot-the-repurposed-puppets.
    heralde likes this.
  3. Muppet fan 123

    Muppet fan 123 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, there are just so many places where they had an opportunity to put a Muppet in. They blew almost all of them.
  4. Princeton

    Princeton Active Member

    Sam is the exact opposite of helpful. He represents everything good and normal and continually cites the Muppets as everything he's against. If anything, I'd consider Sam a villain.
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I feel my biggest problem is Kermit's role in most of the film, and he doesn't really become Kermit-like until the section with Miss Piggy. If there's one thing I strangely prefer over in MCC than MTI is the fact that Kermit's much more like Kermit throughout the film than in MTI. Actually, I feel Kermit comes off even blander for the most part of MFS. But then again, that's really Gonzo's movie.
  6. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    I actually find Kermit way too blend in MCC. That film may be the reason why I always found him to be a little boring. He has none of the crazy quicky entertaining aspects that he has in all the other movies.
  7. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I never really saw that. He keeps wanting the Muppets, and perhaps their audience, to be more normal and good, so to him he's doing a good thing. At least in The Muppets he doesn't appear to be unhappy with being with the Muppets again (even if he did get yanked by a hook... But so did Scooter, Crazy Harry, and the Electric Mayhem).
  8. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Well, he was more of his sweet self than his wacky self, but he seemed to be a lot more Kermit-y in that role than most of MTI... other than the "WHO HIRED THIS CREW?!!?" and the entire part after they introduce Piggy. But I feel that MFS was one of the worst offenders due to his usage. It really seems that the heart to heart with Gonzo should have been longer and had more depth to it... he had some notes of his wackier self during the second half of that movie, but he seems lost for most of it. Seems that it's such a Gonzo heavy movie that all the other characters are secondary. Though Fozzie's "Mama told me to always wash my hands...no exceptions" bit was precious.
  9. Princeton

    Princeton Active Member

    You're proving my point. Most villains think they're doing good, even if it ends up harming the heroes.
  10. Alvin

    Alvin Active Member

    Best part of this movie I think was when they found Piggy...love the drum song...Boom shakala ka!
    Muppet fan 123 likes this.
  11. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    See that's what I liked about their group dynamics on The Muppet Show. They considered characters like Sam or Statler and Waldorf to be members of the family, despite their occasional, um, disapproval of the show, lol.
    Borples likes this.
  12. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Hmmm... That may be a point, but I don't think Sam has ever done anything truly villanous (his role as Sherrif of Nottingham in Muppet Robin Hood does not count). He is a bit bossy towards the others, and doesn't seem to have any official authority over them, but that seems to be the extent of his mean-ness.

    Although he was tricked by Long John Silver, I am surprised he's never been tricked into joining a villian only to realise the villian was evil and turn against him in the end. I guess the villain would have to be patriotic and/or cultural. Heck, in the recent movie, it might have been interesting if he chose not to join the Muppets again and instead join the villians in order to put an end to their weirdness... But then we might not have gotten Uncle Deadly in the sidekick role.

    But when it comes to mean-but-good guy characters, Sam is probably among the last I'd imagine portraying a bad guy (or himself as a bad guy of sorts). I'd expect Statler and Waldorf (though they aren't too villanious aside from their heckling, though they DID pay for a gypsy curse on the theater once, and they did throw Kermit out of their balcony once), Crazy Harry (even though he's never really bad), Sweetums and other monsters, and maybe Fleet Scribbler. JP Grosse might be a bit obvious to list as well, though when I finally saw that character in action he seemed nicer than I'd expected.
  13. Vincent Liu

    Vincent Liu Well-Known Member

    Rizzo seems to be nervous since The Muppet Christmas Carol.
    The ice skating scene
    "There's only two things in life I hate. Heights, and jumping from them"
    "Look! It's beautiful, Rizzo!" "Mommyyyyy!!!!!!!"
    just to list a few
    Muppet fan 123 likes this.
  14. jvcarroll

    jvcarroll Well-Known Member

    I think the fusion of more human actors in MCC and MTI reflected Brian's ambition at the time to transcend the Muppet medium. Brian's MTI and MCC would not have worked with Scooter as Hawkins or Scrooge's nephew, but it could have worked in the hands of someone else. I like both films. MTI is my 4th fave. It just seems kind of odd compared to other Muppet projects before it.
  15. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    Trivia: What we hear in the movie was Kevin Bishop (actor for Jim) singing the songs LONG before any scenes were actually filmed, just getting the hang of the notes. When it was time for the actual filming and "real" recordings, well... Kevin hit puberty. His voice was cracking like CRAZY, and it was impossible for them to get a decent recording, so they used the old recordings from before puberty hit. And THAT is why, when Jim sings, he sounds like a much younger boy--or possibly like a girl.

    So I am NOT the only one who thinks Robin could have made a good Jim! But my counter-argument (with myself) on that is that if Robin had been Hawkins, we wouldn't have gotten Jerry Nelson as Blind Pew or Mad Monty, not to mention his wonderful cameo as the butler. Also, if you watch the bonus features on the DVD--not the 50th anniversary edition, but the release before that--Brian Henson mentions that at one point, they considered having Gonzo and Rizzo as "Jim" and "Hawkins," but it didn't work because Treasure Island is a coming-of-age story, and the Muppets just aren't supposed to evolve in QUITE that sort of way. Obviously, the characters do grow and evolve and develop over time... but in 1996, Robin had been five for almost twenty years. If he'd played this "coming of age" role, he would have had to suddenly get much older. That's not the kind of drastic change they were interested in making. So we got a human Jim Hawkins. We ALSO got a fantastic computer game in which YOU can be "Hawkins," which couldn't have worked if Hawkins had been a classic Muppet character.

    I have MUCH more to say, and to be honest haven't read all the replies in this thread, but unfortunately I'm very pressed for time right now. (Read: I should have been walking out the door half an hour ago.) So I will come back soon and say much more about MTI, which happens to be the first Muppet movie I remember seeing and, to this day, my favorite. (Which, yes, does make me quite biased about it... but I'm entitled to my opinions.)
  16. Vincent Liu

    Vincent Liu Well-Known Member

    Wait, Robin was in the movie?
  17. Vincent Liu

    Vincent Liu Well-Known Member

    Never mind, I found Robin. At around 4:24 and 6:00
  18. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Scooter just might have worked as Scrooge's nephew, but I agree that he wouldn't be that good a Jim Hawkins.

    Somehow, I don't like how they had Fred's party in MCC. It seemed like filler to overstate an obvious point. I wish they spent more time with Kermit and Piggy instead... at least beefed up the Fozziewig part of the story with footage of them working instead. I know most long form movies of Christmas Carol have that sequence, but it just makes yet another scene where Muppets just sit around as extras.

    More I think about it, human Jim Hawkins works... just... they had to get such a high pitched singer?
    jvcarroll likes this.
  19. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    As promised, I have returned with more to say and with less of a time limit. First... responding to various other posts.

    I never found it at all strange or forced... but then again, this was my first introduction to the story of Treasure Island. When I read the book for school in seventh grade, I remember noticing all sorts of differences between the book and Muppet Treasure Island, but the "father issues" bit was not one of them--or at least, not that I recall.

    Blind Pew TERRIFIED me as a kid. I mean, not to the extent that I would run out of the room, which was my usual reaction to anything remotely scary on TV... but he SCARED me. He's even scarier in the computer game that was based on the movie. (You know, the one that was the subject of that series I started ages ago on The Muppet Mindset, and never finished? I should do something about that...) In almost every scene of the game at the Benbow Inn, I was mildly paranoid about where I clicked, because it wasn't hard to randomly have Blind Pew creeping by. Now, I find him hilarious... but my knee-jerk reaction when he shows up is always to flinch.

    For me, too, this was the first Muppet movie I remember seeing. I'm sure I had seen bits of MCC on television before, and I somehow knew who Fozzie was... But this was my real introduction to Muppets. Well--this, and the computer game, which shows some of the characters in slightly different capacities and includes some lesser-known characters as well.

    That ALWAYS bothered me. I mean, maybe not the first time I saw the movie, but by the second time (which was the very next night) I remember thinking, "Um... isn't it a little late?" But then when I read another sea-faring book, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, the first roll call didn't happen until they had been at sea for several hours. So either it actually was common not to take roll until after leaving port, or it just tends to happen that way in literature. (Or I just tend to be drawn to literature where that happens... Hmm.)

    Oh, come on now, Beau! That compass is AWESOME. It's a wonderful piece of emotion that the Muppets added when they took this story and made it their own. And the best thing about it is that it doesn't look like anything special--no fancy engraving or elaborate design. It's just a compass, but it means so much more to Jim... and Long John respects that.

    What I love in that moment is that Kermit is such a leader... but still has to brace himself to give that order. Note the way he places his hand on the desk, pulls himself up a little bit... He knows what has to happen, but he really doesn't want to force it--he wants to guide Jim to make the choice himself. He does, of course, give the order, but that little bit of reluctance there is so wonderful.

    Another point in the movie when there is just a WORLD of storytelling just in the movement of Kermit's hand? Just after Jim tells him that Long John is planning mutiny, and Kermit responds by sending Long John and the pirates to the island. Jim whispers, "Don't do that!" and Kermit, without ever looking away from Long John, quietly puts his hand on Jim's arm. That, to me, is just a fantastic gesture--calming and reassuring, while also quieting Jim so he's less likely to accidentally tip the pirates off that something's afoot. (Of course, Silver figures it out anyway, but that's beside the point.)

    Silly? They're about to die! How is that silly? Just because they're upside-down? Well, if you want to dangle someone over a cliff so that they'll be perfectly alive and conscious for a while before plummeting to certain death, upside-down is the way to go. If you hang them by their wrists, they can slip their hands out; plus, it would be a lot easier for them to swing over, get their feet on the cliff, and save themselves. I suppose you could tie the rope under their shoulders, but that would take a lot more rope and a lot more work. Easier just to hang them by their ankles, so their feet hold them in place, and they have a long, miserable time to spend contemplating their death. (Or, y'know, singing a love song. Whatever works.)

    Two things here. One--Piggy's role as Benjamina is far more significant than her role as Mrs. Cratchit. (And, for the record, if you compare Muppet Christmas Carol to the book, you'll see that the part of Mrs. Cratchit was actually toned down to fit Piggy better.) Two--Is it really that small of a role? I did the math at some point, and if I'm remembering right, Piggy comes into MTI about forty minutes into the movie. That may sound awful at first, but in The Muppet Movie, Piggy is introduced... about forty minutes into the movie. Even in The Great Muppet Caper, which was arguably her best (or at least most prominent) role, she doesn't show up at all for the first twenty minutes. My opinion of Piggy's role in MTI: She's fashionably late, as usual. Then she has a HUGE grand entrance, turns the role of "being marooned" completely on its head, takes a fairly major role in how the plot plays out, yells at the frog and then defends him, kicks some bad-guy butt... oh, and looks great doing it, of course. I realize I'm probably in the minority here, but I honestly don't see much to complain about.

    And with that, sadly, I am out of time again. So I will just have to come back again some other time and ramble even more!
  20. Hayley B

    Hayley B Active Member

    I watched a little bit of it last week. Some scenes was alright. But I will not buy this one. Personally the reason why is because they only have Animal drumming in this one.


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