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Why did MFS and EIG bomb so bad?

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by BobThePizzaBoy, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    You know what actually bugs me about MFS now that I look at it? I love how the opening of the film showed all the characters, the minor ones, the extra animals, every available muppet... all bouncing around in a cramped house, taking baths together in the toilet.... that was probably the best concept in the movie....

    and then at Breakfast everyone but Gonzo and Kermit left.... and the house was pretty deserted the rest of the movie. Now, if they kept up that concept, I think the movie would have had a more muppety feel. The house, instead felt empty for the rest of the picture.
  2. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Yup, once they went to watch TV in the other room everything seemed like a few choice characters going through the motions. A lot of fans wanted a show made based off their living situation in that film. That could have been really fun - if it actually seemed like anyone lived there. I guess they were hiding from the health department. :eek:
  3. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The director could have learned a thing or two from GMC. No matter how many smaller, more intimate moments between a small number of characters there was, you always remembered the Hotel was packed. I really think there could have been potential with as many muppets as possible watching the TV and fighting over the remote and what to watch until Kermit calmly (than not so calmly) states that Piggy is working on such and such a show and if they want to support her, then they have to watch it.

    Seems they tried to get that back in the party scene, but blew it later.

    And I really think the ending needed to have all the Muppets slowly come out on the roof to look at the stars with Gonzo until there were so many of them, the roof collapsed, leading Gonzo to cheerfully say "I'm HOME!"

    I still think that the one credit I'm giving the movie is that they didn't use Smashmouth's "Hey Now, You're an All Star" like eh-heh-hevery other movie that summer. I'm almost sure there was an original draft of Phantom Menace where they played that song during the credits with JarJar dancing around to it, instead of the Star Wars theme.... :D
  4. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    ROFL. The roof thing would have been an excellent joke. *loves the mental image of Jar Jar dancing to that song*
  5. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I was just looking at the title, and I guess somebody was bound to ask...

    :crazy:Did SOMEBODY say 'bomb so bad?"

  6. a_Mickey_Muppet

    a_Mickey_Muppet Well-Known Member

    I REALLY love that idea Drtooth...:D LOL i laughed. alot better than gonzo asking about the hot tub and Pepe and Rizzo laughing at the end! :sleep:
  7. jeffy

    jeffy Well-Known Member

    As a huge Muppet fan, and as someone who went to see Muppets From Space in the theater five times in a SINGLE day (I'll scan my tickets if you must have proof)...who owns the DVD and watches the film at least once a year...who LOVES the opening scenes (the Ark and the Brickhouse dance)...and everything Pepe...and the hysterical lab-rat scene...and some other really nice moments (the bus, Kathy Griffin, Piggy falling down)... I think I can safely say:

    For me, Muppets From Space is the low point in the entire history of the Muppets.

    The movies since have been slowly getting better, but The Muppets are still a struggling brood. Certainly a struggling brand. They need a kickstart if they're going to get off the ground again. The online improvisational movies have certainly helped, including From The Balcony.

    Some specific and random thoughts about the film:

    I think Gonzo as a character was irreparably harmed in this movie. He's a Whatever! I refuse to acknowledge the alien thing as part of Muppet History. It reminds me of how I was so terribly annoyed when Data got an emotion chip. I wanted to see how Data could evolve within his LIMITED means. The emotion chip destroyed all that--especially how he can turn it on and off at will. The journey! Not the destination! But I digress.

    The other character really harmed in the movie was Fozzie. His first major part since Frank Oz left (although still his voice?), and all-of-the-sudden he's STUPID? Fozzie is NOT stupid! Naive maybe. His worst moment for me, in the entire existance of Fozzie Bear, was when he didn't know what a tape dispenser was. I think of how different Fozzie was in the Muppet Movie...

    The Hulk Hogan cameo WAS stupid. This was the low point of the movie, which says something. I was embarrassed as a Muppet fan at this moment. Nothing against Hulk Hogan, but to stop the whole movie with that inane "to all my wrestling fans" speech?

    Jeffrey Tambor is someone I enjoy immensely, but in both Oz and Space, I thought he just didn't work. Moreso in Space, though.

    I'm currently watching the (just cute...not funny...just cute) commentary, and I'm scratching my head at why Tim Hill is even there. He just gives these one word responses to Rizzo and Gonzo. A dull personality, at least on the commentary. He clearly was not ispired by this movie.

    Quote from DrTooth: "...at Breakfast everyone but Gonzo and Kermit left.... and the house was pretty deserted the rest of the movie. Now, if they kept up that concept, I think the movie would have had a more muppety feel. The house, instead felt empty for the rest of the picture."

    I totally agree.

    To close my random thoughts, I just think Muppets From Space has some inspiring moments (the most important being the introduction of Pepe) trapped in an uninspiring and boring film.

    (By the way, my favorite film is easily the Muppet Movie, then Muppets Take Manhattan.)
  8. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    Absolutely, I think it showed a misunderstanding of their personalities and what kept them in character. It may have been an entertaining pre teen movie, but it wasn't the Muppets.
  9. jeffy

    jeffy Well-Known Member

    Actually saw Fozzie's MFS scenes again, and boy oh boy are they horrendous. He picks his nose, and says "why don't we ask those nice men with guns?". It's more than he's stupid, it's like he's an imbecile!

    It also struck me how this was the last significantly-budgeted Muppet movie. The latest movies are--first of all, straight to video or tv-only--and have a much lower production value.
  10. ZeppoAndFriends

    ZeppoAndFriends Well-Known Member

    I also think 'The Great Muppet Caper' is the best Muppet movie. In terms of number of cameos, quality of musical numbers and amount of sheer Muppet madness, it can't be beat! :)

    I never did manage to come up with a plausible method as to how they managed to make Piggy and Kermit ride in circles. :confused:
  11. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    I would guess a rig on an axle that can be rotated, but that's just really the only thing I could think of. In other words, something like a big mobile.
  12. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Oz is much worse. Much, much worse, I fell... and here's why:
    • The film basically grasped at straws, demographically speaking. It didn't know if it wanted to appeal at kids, 20 somethings who like "adult" jokes, or tweenagers (hense the pop star as Dorothy).
    • Ashanti. Sure, she's apparently a Muppet fan... but she can't act her way out of a paper bag, and the chemestry between the characters was awkward through the full film. I've seen people interact with CGI's that weren't there better.
    • Whoever directed it watched too much 1960's Batman as a kid. Evident in the fact they were trying to make it look like one. The off kilter camera angles made it look fake, crummy, and corny.
    • I can over look the obvious "borrowing" from other versions of the Oz story (the Wiz stuff is pretty obviously stolen), but I think having Piggy be the villain was a mistake. Humans have always played the villains, and they have always been memorable. It was a nice experiment, but it just felt... off.
    • I don't care much for the idea of having them do old stories... but MTI and MCC worked because they had a GOOD script.
    • And most obvious of all, it was rushed. I think the Disney merger had a role in it, to say "Hey! This is what we're gonna do." But a few more drafts and we would have had something watchable.

    I think that was a slide that was happening since MTI. He was pretty much stupid/crazy in that whole movie. Plus, having a bunch of Frank characters in the rescue scene, all looped dialogue... you really miss Frank's improvisation. I wonder what the film would have been like had Eric been recast that far back. Plus, what was the point of having Animal there? Marketing?

    I have to disagree there. Sure, he wasn't Charles Grodin or Doc Hopper, but I think he had excellent chemistry with Bobo the bear. I really wished Bobo was at the end of Oz right with him as the wizard's assistant.
  13. jeffy

    jeffy Well-Known Member

    Well, okay, I grant you that. His chemistry with Bobo was pretty nice. It WOULD have been really cool to see him in Oz, as Tambor's assistant. But that "STOP...LAUGHING...AT ME" really turned me off. I guess you can only do so much with bad writing...
  14. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    I completely agree with Drtooth on this point. COMPLETELY. MFS is a MUCH better film than MWoO. I can prove this by saying that I make a point to watch MFS every once in awhile--including very recently. I haven't watched MWoO in... probably over a year. I would call that a low-point. :smirk:
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I also say that MFS is a much more entertaining film than MCC.... I think MCC is a great film, and I think it's very high quality writing... but, by now, you know what I think... the Muppets feel like guest stars in their own movie...

    To that effect, here are some GOOD points about MFS:

    • The Muppets playing themselves. Number one best point of the film. Kermit doesn't play a tirtiary character that comes in half way, Fozzie isn't a brief cameo, neither is Piggy... and the film didn't focus mainly on new characters either.
    • Big screen debuts of the best new Muppet MT characters... Pepe, Sal, Johnny, Bobo, and Dr. VanNeuter.
    • The Muppet boarding house concept... already went into that.
    • While it unfortunately lacked original songs, at least giving it a 1970's funk soundtrack didn't shove a bunch of then hit songs that would have seemed dated. Again... refreshing lack of Smashmouth.
  16. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    I didn't hate MFS at all. The only way I could accept Gonzo as an alien is that there isn't a known species name and so therefore he's still a Whatever; but making Fozzie be half-witted in MCC is what led to him being dim-witted in MFS. He seemed better in the two TV movies. I think we find MCC and MFS lacking because it was the first films without Jim's involvement. MFS lacked Juhl's touch, which hurt it.

    EIG couldn't be saved at all. Elmo is hard to take in large doses like that. Small doses and partnered with other Muppets is better. I don't know how we go from Follow That Bird, focusing on a long-term character, and straight to Elmo rather than Grover, Ernie and Bert, or Oscar's own film?

    Still, I enjoy both MCC and MFS. The reasons to enjoy it were posted above. I also have to frequently watch MTI.
  17. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I wonder what would have happened had they made the movie a couple years later, recasting Frank Oz's roles. Seems the biggest gonk with the films MCC-MFS were the lack of his involvement (or at least his disappearing involvement). I do think EIG could have been a better film if they spent more time one it, had a bigger budget, and had Elmo take along one friend from Sesame Street to help him find his blanket, so he could have at least had someone to play off of.

    FTB, for example... Bird was the focus of the movie, sure, but you got to see scenes of all the other characters trying to rescue them. I have to say if Gordon, Maria, Big Bird and Telly didn't spend half the movie in grouch jail, there would have been an element like that. I still think Oscar should have broke free from the bunch and went off to save Elmo himself... after all, it's Home Field Advantage.

    I think our main problem with MFS isn't so much what the movie was, but what the movie COULD have been. I wonder if we'd still think the same way had we not known about Traveling Matt's cameo and the true ending of the film. I still say the biggest problem with the film WAS the director, especially that he cut all the best stuff Joey put in the script.

    As for the Cameos... I thought about it. What if, and let's just say this as a hypothetical that could have been true, they had a completely different list of people they wanted to get into the movie, and they didn't offer enough money, or the actors were unavailable, or something along those lines? Remember, Henry Kissinger was supposed to be written into TMM. I bet they had a much, much better cameos in the film, but they just couldn't get them for various reasons.
  18. Skekayuk

    Skekayuk Well-Known Member

    Absolutely, and she also spends a lot of time on her career as a singer-actress in the big West End mega musicals. (at least four in the last ten years), and currently in Oliver! at Drury Lane.
    Puppeteering wise most of her Henson work was usually on their UK projects (with the exception of Sesame Street in the early 1990s, and both Secret Life of Toys and a bit of Fraggle Rock in Germany). Now when did JHC last do any major stuff in the UK? - possibly Mopatop's Shop, and The Animal Show both of which she puppeteered on.
    However she has, as is rightly pointed out often puppeteered on non-Henson television projects, usually in the Uk. In recent years she has turned up on several television specials about Spitting Image (demonstrating a puppet), she also worked on the fist series of Spooks Of Bottle Bay, and now of course she's doing the Termites with BlueFrackle.
  19. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Well-Known Member

    The Happiness Hotel was a nuthouse, but a fun one.

    I thought of this scenario last night:

    *Rowlf, Fozzie, Clifford, and Robin are watching tv. Zoot is on the couch sleeping*

    Clifford: Hey man, change the channel.
    Fozzie: But this show is really funny.
    Clifford: No it isn't.
    Fozzie: Yes it is.
    Clifford: No it isn't.
    Fozzie: Yes it is.

    *Zoot wakes up from hearing Fozzie and Clifford argue*

    Zoot: Say man, how about both of you bequiet. You're interrupting my 10th nap for the day.

    *Zoot burries is face in the couch and goes back to sleep*

    You know how many people would be laughing at that?
  20. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    Have finally gotten around to this thread. About once or twice a year there's a thread like this one that evolves from the original topic/question to a more general discussion of the current state of the Muppets.

    I know i've brought this up before but it's a very important thing to remember and it's not been said yet as to the points Snowth made about the slowness of Disney's doing more with the Muppets over a five year period.

    Since the Disney sale, the Muppets division at Disney has undergone three managers. Chris Curtin had some great ideas and we were just starting to see the seeds he had been planning sprouting....then he was replaced mainly due to overall Disney Company politics/management changes across the board reaching its way to the Muppets dept. The Kermit's World Tour/50th birthday plans would have been awesome and very significant were they allowed to proceed but the moment Curtin was replaced, all his plans went out the window.

    His replacement did not care for the Muppets at all, and it showed during those dark days he was at the helm. The position was just a notch on his resume at nothing more....thankfully he was replaced after another year.

    Third time's a charm. I think current Muppets Big Cheese Lyelle Breier is a good fit. Unfortunately there was one more factor beyond anyone's control that put much of Disney's Muppet plans on hold. Up til then, the pattern had been: Muppets have new person in charge for about a year and just when the new leadership's plans are about to go into effect...they're replaced with someone else and everything is put on hold again. This time, though, by the time Breier's team was primed to get a good relaunch underway, instead of a management change, there was the infamous Writer's Strike of 2007-2008.

    In short, about three years of that five year period were false-starts/acts of fate causing delays. But now we're really seeing a good relaunch running apace without the type of complications we've had to be patient with in the past.

    I tend to think the "comic store crowd" tends to be a really good barometer of what's cool vs. what's out...and the success of Boom's Muppet/Farscape lines is an excellent testiment to how well poised the Muppets are for another major return to the spotlight (if you're having trouble finding them, it's due to the fact that they have been a runaway success....immediately selling out - a comic book going into a second printing's not that common but the overwhelming response to these comics have indeed warranted them - Farscape's even gone into an almost-unheard-of THIRD printing). Of course the fact that the Farscape/Muppet Show/Muppet Robin Hood titles have all been high quality and very Muppety (even moreso than a lot of things done onscreen for quite some time) doesn't hurt either. I'm not a big fan/supporter of Muppets doing big projects where they play different characters acting out other people's stories and i was not looking forward to Muppet Robin Hood - but i have become very impressed...THAT's the kind of way one does a Muppets-as-actors story that actually works and deserves a film treatment more than MCC, MTI, or MWOO did.

    All in all, i feel this is a VERY good time to be a Muppets fan and we have lots to be optimistic about. Could they be doing somethings more/better? Oh yeah! (For one thing, they could be doing more marketing for muppets.com - every show on the Disney Channel has commercials for their respective websites...and what with all the incredible original content, muppets.com should have that same kind of push) But i'm very happy/excited these days.

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