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Will the Muppet Movie magic ever come back?

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by beaker, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    I am still astonished, aftet first seeing it two decades ago, how massively awe inducing and magical the first Muppet Movie was.
    The chemistry, the laughter, the friendship, the feeling.

    Will Muppet Movies ever get back to eing even close to the impact of the original trilogy?

    The A list guest stars?(not some F rate NBC stars)

    The original heartfelt/moving, and fun songs?
    (Like Movin Right Along, etc)

    That epic feeling of th eMuppets coming together for an epic cause(ie: when you see th eMuppet gang stand up to Doc Hopper in the Western town)

    Those great cameos(like Big Bird and later every single Muppet in the closing number...Oscar in GMC, or that huge Muppet Show/Sesame/Fraggle crossover at the end of TMTM)

    Most of the film taking place outside(Hello JHC, its called reallife locations, not stuff cardboard sets on a Universal or Disney World set)

    IMHO VMC was not a very good direction for the Muppets...it was a great har har, inuendo filled mess...and it was good to see various cast alumni back...and MFS, had an EPIC first 15 minutes then poo'ed out soon after.

    Im just hoping JHC and the writers can get out of this decade plus writer and creativity block and get back to making Oscar worthy mind blowingly great films again...not forgettable of the times stuff that get suniversally panned by critics and fans alike.
  2. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    Good question. Really don't have any problem (to an extent mind you) with the last three, since MCC is my 2nd fav. But yeah good question, I ask the same question with Henson's SHOWS.
  3. Chilly Down

    Chilly Down Well-Known Member

    Excellent points, Cory. I'm not really sure where the Muppets need to go from here, myself. Keep in mind that, while I think TMTM is a fantastic film (my favorite of the classic trilogy), even that one didn't do well at the box office, for reasons I can't fathom.

    I miss the Muppets going to outside locations too, but keep in mind it's always a budget concern more than anything else. Because the Muppets are not doing well, they can't afford expensive location shoots. Because their films are less impressive as a result, their movies are even less popular. It's an awful, cylical Catch-22. Hopefully, the next few TV-movies for NBC (and the potential series?) will help them find their way story-wise again. If so, people will notice them again, and then maybe they can mount a truly impressive theatrical film again.

    Here's hoping.
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    AGAIN with the innuendos... I counted, what, five innuendos, and all in one scene. But really, the stuff they said was g rated (I heard worse on kid's shows!)

    Face it, humor today is all innuendo and sex... look at Will and Grace. The jokes are either sex jokes or idiotic pop culture refferences, all done by bad actors shrieking at the top of their lungs. At least the muppets are more realistic (especially since they are felt and foam!)

    But I thought that VMC was a push in the right direction, after the two book movies and MFS, which could have been a lot better. We actually have a movie WITH the theater, and we finally have Janice and Scooter talking entire lines, and not just mumbling (if only other characters could be done) dispite their different soundings. Plus, Gonzo isn;t the focus of the whole movie (MCC, MTI, MFS, he's the first Muppet you see). Plus, Fozzie had a whole scene to himself. rather than a bit part as a tritiary character (Plus Eric and Steve have better chemistry then Frank and Steve, probably because they play so well as ernie and Bert. Ernie just seems sarcastic to Bert in some)

    But I see your point. we need to get Jerry Juhl et all back in control, and have some great songs (maybe we can get Christopher Cerf, Paul Williams, or someone involved) instead of robbing old funk songs (which don't work well with the Muppets. senior Hasbeena maybe, but not the Muppets).
  5. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter Well-Known Member

    I think the Muppet magic can come back. It just needs to be done right. There were parts of IAVMMCM that seemed sort of magical. (I emphasis sort of)
  6. Koozbanian Foob

    Koozbanian Foob Well-Known Member

    The Muppets: Sex and Violence

    That was the name of The Muppet Show's pilot, was it not?


    This is not to say I think the muppets need to lean too heavily in that direction. Rather, I would remind us all of that which we know and appreciate so much; The classic muppets appeal to an adult audience. My wife and I have been watching TBOTMS DVDs and noticing how many jokes we might never have gotten as kids. I'm not sure I totally understand the Rachel Welch show at all as an 8 or 9 year old. ;)

    In truth, none of the movies really touched me or made me laugh like the first film, a movie I've literally seen 28 times. I did however really, really enjoy TGMC, MFS and the VMC. I liked MTI and MCC, but somehow, they just weren't the same for me.

    The muppets need a bit of their edge back. Things need to explode in their faces and the humor needs to move away from pop culture references and become pop culture references. If I say "Bork! The chicky-booky" in front of my Mom, she will still, to this very day, laugh herself silly.

    Here's hoping the new Muppet TV series gets it right.

  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    In my opinion, TMM was the best, hands down. I don't want to get into the specifics. All I know is that Jim, Jerry Juhl, et al watched Bullwinkle (not saying they copied, they were inspired to make something just as funny and pun laden). I mean, that rapid fires jokes, puns, self awareness (knowing they are IN a movie) really is one of the reasons why the last films lacked. In otherwords, the Humor was more of "The Simpsons" later seasons (just not as dull and pointless)

    Here's what I mean, in TMM:

    Floyd: well, if this were the movies...

    Dr. Teeth: WHich it is!!

    Floyd: We'd need to find a clever plot device.


    Kermit: I'm lost.

    Bartender: Have you tried Hari Krishna?

    Kermit: Good Grief, it's a running gag.

    In VMC we have jokes about celebrities wanting specific M&M's, Movie parodies, and current celebrities (which were avalable).

    Yes, the magic is not like that of the first great films, but it's there... you just have to look close enough!
  8. sarah_yzma

    sarah_yzma Well-Known Member

    more slapstick humor!

  9. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member


    I agree. It's hard to compare with a movie that good. Heck, I haven't even seen it and even I think it's one of the best. (Ooooh, more smilies: :sympathy: :concern: :sleep: :boo: Sorry.) It's true that Henson productions have gone a bit downhill since the death of Jim and Richard, Frank's retirement and everything. But they're doing what they can. I even enjoy the later post-Henson movies. I still watch "Treasure Island" whenever I get a chance. Hopefully, they'll still make more movies even if they're not quite as good as the first one.
  10. WiGgY

    WiGgY Well-Known Member

    In the last 3 theatrical releases the muppets had a sense of self awareness in the movie. It's just not done as much. In MCC Sam says, "It's the American way" when he is suppose to be British. Gonzo whispers to him and he says the line right, "It's the British way" That's about as far as that went.

    In MTI there was plenty more. Like the whole Pi-Rat tours thing. When the Chef showed up with a pig snout someone said, "Well, how else did you expect us to get him in this film" or something like that. And let's not forget the tour going by the set of muppet treasure island. :) So, if that's the magic then it was in these films as well.

    In MFS it goes back to being very limited. Basically Bobo a.k.a. Rentro loved Gonzo on TV and wanted his autograph. That's about it.

    There is still that "It's a movie" humor. It wasn't in AVMMC but I don't think it needed to be. Maybe a scene similar to the one in GMC will Columbo and Kermit where Kermits says "Do you mind? We're trying to do a movie here." would have been nice.

    In all AVMMC was a great TV movie and with some tweaks and recasting of some of the human actors it could have been released in theaters. Obviously all the NBC stuff would have been cut out and I think many would have been happy with that. I didn't mind it that much, but some of it was pretty stupid.

    Have the muppets lost the magic? I say what magic? Sometimes I think we put all the classic muppet movies and shows on such a pedastal that we forget they are just movies and shows. Sure the writing was good, but we've seen good writing in later projects too. I would say that Fraggle Rock had something that we haven't seen in a long time, but I still wouldn't call it magic.

    BTW, why can't Fraggle Rock be on PBS or Disney or something like that? I think it would make a great addition to any educational programming.
  11. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Well, I meant the later ones, MFS, KSY (didn't see it yet, not sure), and VMC

    They did have some in MFS, actually.

    :rolleyes: :this is a Muppet Movie, okay. It's much more realistic... and romaaaaaaaaaaaaantic...

    GMC, there was QUITE a lot of, in fact, that's the opening theme song of the film (Hey a Movie). Plus Kermit and Piggy fighting, causing the entire movie to stop.

    I didn't quite catch one in MTM (even though I saw it twice in the last two months).

    MCC, well, that's kind of a tough call. Gonzo and Rizzo are the Narrators, and they interact with the characters (as you said correcting Sam the Eagle)

    But none I know of on VMC...

    But also, I've noticed that the use of running gags has plummeted to small usage after GMC (where they used like so much of them, the bed, the lights please, What color are thei hands now?"

    In MTM, the only one I can think of is Pete's weird hold of English, "Let me tell you what it is... is no workin' is singing, is dancing, is cheese, is beeg shoes." But that's all I know of.
  12. Walker Boh

    Walker Boh Well-Known Member

    For me, this is why the past two Muppet projects I've seen (Muppets From Space, and the Very Christmas special) just didn't feel like true Muppet movies. While both movies had songs, they just didn't have any of the fun musical numbers that all of the other movies had. The whole duration of MFS I was waiting and wondering why they hadn't broken into a fun, original song sung by the Muppets cast.
  13. WiGgY

    WiGgY Well-Known Member

    As far as running gags go, I think we have had a few. Rizzo's eating all through MCC and even MTI was a running gag, pretty funny too. In MFS we didn't really have any, but in AVMMC Miss Bitterman called Pepe Peepee alot. Does that count?

    I do agree that KSY was just plain bad. It lacked a good script, good human actors, and muppets. Where were all the young muppets? Kermit could have passed by a young bear selling jokes on the corner, or a young Scooter out with his uncle, or a young Bunsen in the pet shop looking for new lab rats, or Janice and Floyd sharing a soda in a diner window, or even a young Lew fishing in the pond. Instead, we got a really bad Rowlf reference and a pig joke. Sure the pig thing was funny, but baby piggy could have been in the next pen over clutching a frog doll.

    None of these cameos would have required lines either, so I don't see why it couldn't have been done. If it's the cost of building the puppets then they could have just used them in other projects. Besides, baby piggy, scooter, and fozzie already exist as well as animal , gonzo and rowlf. We should have seen them somewhere. OH! A small teenage band rehershing in a garage, later known as Dr. Teeth and the electric mayhem would have been cool! So many missed opportunities. Why didn't JHC think of this stuff when they did the movie?
  14. WiGgY

    WiGgY Well-Known Member

    Re: Re: Will the Muppet Movie magic ever come back?

    MFS did lack songs but I think it did fine without them. I would have at least liked to see the band perform or have Kermit sing something, anything really.

    AVMMC had enough songs if you ask me. 2 songs, one of which was a huge musical number and then the heart felt one with Kermit and Gonzo were great. I think there was more theater stuff that was cut but I don't know if a whole song was cut. I know that a segment with the band was cut and maybe they sang a song.
  15. RockSTAR girl

    RockSTAR girl Well-Known Member

    i think personally mti was the best muppet movie. sure, the trilogy was the "originals" especially with Jim behind those projects. but none of those had a constant movement to them. they were all a little, um, boring. but i do wish the muppets didnt have to resort to cheesy made for tv movies. or at least had a movie that was a big production and not boring all in one.

    :halo: ps. this is soo cool
  16. Chilly Down

    Chilly Down Well-Known Member

    I do think the original stuff is put upon a pedestal too much. I mean, watching the Time-Life videos, I now see that TMS didn't hit one out of the ballpark with every sketch and every episode. Similarly, there's been a lot of funny, entertaining stuff in the post-Jim era. I would agree that, as a whole, the Jim-era stuff is funnier and has more energy to it. But I think we can talk ourselves into complaining too much.

    I also don't think that they necessarily have to be self-referential in order to save the franchise. MFS would not have been 100 times better if they put in a few "This is a movie" jokes. The concept of the movie itself was flawed. Better scripts overall are more important than focusing on "Hey, they didn't make a reference to this being a movie."

    I don't have time to go back and edit this, but if I sound :grouchy: , I apologize. I don't mean this personally at anyone, just expressing an opinion.

    Daffyfan, did I understand you right in saying that you've never seen TMM? Go to the video store NOW and rent it! You'll :flirt: it! But I must ask: why on Earth are you saying the new films don't hold up to TMM if you haven't even seen it? :smirk:

    Walker, though you seem to have posted a lot, I don't remember seeing you here before. Welcome! I would have liked to have seen musical numbers in MFS, too, but unfortunately most musicals for kids don't do very well nowadays and (in the eyes of the studio) they would have been dating themselves by using songs. At least there were a couple in VMMCM.

    Rockstar, welcome to you as well! :excited:
  17. foofoocakes

    foofoocakes Well-Known Member

    I have been lending out my time life videos to the tweny somthing kids in my office and they Looove them. They had never seen them before. Granted not every show was really funny but they were all original and different. Maybe if some channel would start to run the shows the demographics would improve and get more people intrested.:)
  18. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Re: The Muppets: Sex and Violence

    AND we have a WINNER! Dang Foob, that was THE best post Ive read all week! You said it all in a nutshell...they need their edge back, and become the pop reference...nice!

  19. Bulldawg

    Bulldawg Well-Known Member

    they should create a movie centered around The Electric Mayhem.

    . a la Almost Famous or This Is Spinal Tap or The Blues Brothers or RockStar.

    a ROAD movie.
  20. Janice & Mokey's Man

    Janice & Mokey's Man Well-Known Member



    Then apparently you have not seen "Change of Address", or selective other episodes which actually reference the "m"-word.


    But no, really, FR is probably the most magical thing Henson ever did...



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