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Your Thoughts: It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Phillip, Nov 29, 2002.

  1. Muppetfreak

    Muppetfreak Well-Known Member

    Sweet Muppets of my heart I loved this movie!!! I am too busy to post today but stay tuned for my rant on why. . .

    I know you are glued to your seats...

    I also have to read your thoughts...

    i am, however, traumatized by the image of scooter cage dancing....
  2. SNLIM

    SNLIM Well-Known Member

    i couldn't agree more. i know i may catch some flack for saying this but i would rather enjoy all the wonderful older muppet movies than to see something like kermit swamp years come out. i really believe that ksy may turn off some new muppet viewers who haven't seen some of the older stuff. but really it is rather nice to see some new stuff.

    VEND-O-FACE Member

    You may get your wish

    Over at IGN Film Force, in an interview with Frank Oz from February of 2000, he says "At the same time, there's tremendous love for the people there and the characters. You can't do those characters without loving them. I think I've gotten to the point where I still don't allow pictures, but now I'm developing the next Muppet movie which I'll direct, I hope, so I'm with them for life."

    And goes on to say:

    "It's not that corporate, it's more a spark. That's why I want to do the next Muppet movie, because I'm excited about a particular idea, and the idea is something that Jim and Jerry Juhl and I thought of 15 years ago. So that still excites me. I think the crux of it has been – and I think it's getting much better now – is that the key people don't have the time to do everything."

    It's two years later now -- maybe it's still in the works?
  4. SNLIM

    SNLIM Well-Known Member

    wow, i sure hope so! that would be great. if it's frank oz, it's probably worth waiting for....
  5. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    A lot has changed since then - especially with the state of the company, Brian leaving, Frank's characters being replaced and the infamous Brando incident. I wonder how he'd work with Eric. Does anyone know if he trained him with the voices?
  6. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Youre right, as wishful thinking as itd be to still follow what Frank said...I think its become more evident JHC has really moved on sadly past a lot of classic elements.

    Does JHC need Juhl back as scriber and Frank back as director? Oh yeah. Will they be getting Juhl back anytime soon? Maybe by the time Palisades comes out with Sesame and Land Of Gorch figures. Fact is JHC needs a real director for their next outing...thus enter Oz, or Im really pushing for...Spike Jonze!
    Oh, and I think part of the next film should have some parts in Manhattan. Think visionary JHC! I know youre always three steps ahead of us fans, but still...an epic film is possible!
  7. tygerbug

    tygerbug Well-Known Member

    Okay, my thoughts.

    FOZZIE AND PIGGY -- AMAZING. I still hate Whitmire's Kermit and everytime a voice is replaced it makes me shudder and ignore the character ... this is the exception. I was certain it was Frank Oz the entire time, and also noted those two characters as the best part of the special. They were amazingly done and perfectly in tune with how they should be portrayed, and very funny. Wow, wow, wow.

    Steve Whitmire's Kermit, though. Blah. Still blah, I'm sorry. He attempts in this to imitate the Muppet Show Kermit's constant state of panic, and just comes off all wrong. And although I knew Whitmire is a great singer, he still can't sing as Kermit ... it kills his duet with Gonzo (and Dave Goelz has always had a surprisingly good singing voice as Gonzo).

    The special overall I thought was lame, but its heart was in the right direction.

    Perhaps the fact that it is so Kermit centric hurt it.

    Pepe was wonderful ... I was about to write off the show as unwatchably bad until pepe started doing his thing. He does have a more adult sense of humor, and I think that is completely in keeping with the Pepe character. It helps that as a new Muppet he is still played by his original performer (cough).

    Janice was HORRIBLE. Sam the Eagle was awful, but more for his hair than anything else. Statler and Waldorf horrible.

    Scooter was wonderful. Sounded nothing like Richard Hunt's original, but perfectly captured the nature of the character. Was good to see.

    I'm confused by the Jerry Nelson thing too ... I swear he's in some of it. Wasn't that him as the Christmas Show announcer?

    Joan Cusack and Whoopi Goldberg. Blah. Although Whoopi gets some of the best lines in the special at the end. Arquette did a good job, Matthew Lillard was annoying as ever. The appearance of William H. Macy makes me wish he were in a bigger role in some Muppet project.

    The people who are complaining about the "adult" humor in the special and saying Henson wouldn't have done that are wrong, I think. Far more "adult" jokes were done on The Jim Henson Hour, which is still my favorite incarnation of the Muppets in some ways.

    Which reminds me ..... where the **** was Bean Bunny? Where the **** was Clifford?? Sure, I'd be holding out for a Digit appearance, but that ain't gonna happen ... good lord, these are major Muppets .... has someone at JHC just decided the last 10 years of Jim's life never happened? Bah. I expect they'll be back soon. It was a real shock to see Scooter, so I guess this was more of a classic Muppet show, with some Muppets tonight. But I'd sell Johnny Fiama and Sal in a second for Bean, Clifford and Digit ... sorry. Fiama just seems a little Sesame Street for my taste.

    (I won't mention Lindbergh, Irma, Leon, Waldo and Chris Langham. I don't want to seem nuts.)

    Overall there seemed like too few characters, yes. They focused on the Muppets they wanted to focus on.

    Nor did I think that the alternate future was thought out enough. I enjoyed Bouncer Beaker, sure ... but apart from Gonzo and Piggy none of the scenarios were believable, just rushed to get something bad in there. Fozzie in particular ****** me off. I would have expected something bad comedian related.

    Yes, there was far too little plot and the thing dragged like heck. The writing was really loose and uninteresting. Nothing much happened for most of it, squandering opportunities to let certain characters strut their stuff. I was surprised that Rizzo was given nothing to do.

    And as much as I love Pepe, seeing him do Fozzie's routine was painful. In the wrong way.

    I LOVED the Doc Hopper ref ... this show needed more writing like that. Meaningful. I was surprised to see the Bossmen .... is that what they're called ?.... besides them the only Large Monster involved was Sweetums .... as sort of expected ..... I am hoping for a return of all the large monsters, especially Thog.

    The Burl Ives clone was a large monster I guess, a new one, but rather badly made ...

    I would say that it's nice to check in and see what the Muppets are doing nowadays, but the inventiveness of Henson is gone and I definitely couldn't get into this special at all.

    Better writing is needed, definitely, and a clearer focus on characters who still have their original voices ..... and Fozzie and Piggy and Scooter, since I say they've found the perfect voices now. Okay, Scooter's voice ain't perfect, actually it's not even close, but it sounds so Scootery that I can't not like it.

    Also, the songs need not to suck.

    A passable effort, I give it a C+, but it does make you want to see more ... there are certain characters who I didn't expect to like who I will follow now. With a few fixes and changes, they could gradually get on the right track.
  8. Natalie

    Natalie Well-Known Member

    Bean Bunny was in the movie :)
  9. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Hey Tygerbug!

    Just wanted to reply to a few things:

    SO GLAD you like JHH! I really wish theyd bring back Digit, Leon, Lindburgh, etc. At least we had Zondra and Chip in MFS(Loved Guerrilla television!)

    It was sad to see no Clifford...but Bean Bunny for sure was in one scene with Miss Piggy. But no Clifford? strange.
  10. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Well-Known Member

    i know people have complained about clifford and not realy liking him, but it did seem weird not to have him in the movie. either the writers did not want clifford to be in the movie or even perhaps kevin clash himself did not want to perform him.......

  11. tygerbug

    tygerbug Well-Known Member

    I have said this before, and I avoid saying it too much, but man, the JHH .... that show really hit me hard as a kid, I just saw it as being really abnormally unnecessarily amazing. Having seen it again recently, I have to concur that as a kid I was totally right. There's just something about having Jim introduce each episode with that amazing lion, and show you one of his puppets at the end of every episode ... just a perfect host, friendly, warm-hearted, and full of surprises.

    I felt that despite the lack of a lot of great classic Muppets (especially the Electric Mayhem ... who might have returned had the show continued, since Zoot and I think Animal did make an appearance), this show was the direction the Muppets needed to go in, and haven't done since ... we should be technologically amazed by what the JHC has come up with now. There should be great songs, great edgy comedy (often courtesy of Chris Langham), and, yes, creature shop stuff. In the JHH, the Muppets and the creature shop became one. You could tell that the Muppet designs were becoming cooler all the time ... you wouldn't see a Muppet like, say, Leon or Digit today. Leon looks like something out of Dinosaurs and has a polished look to him ... since Henson's passing, new Muppets tend to look rather uninspired and VERY Sesame Street. Not to dis the Sesame Street designs, but that was the first Muppet show, the design style is very simple and appealing to the kid in us, and a Muppet show for all ages just needs to have more "advanced" Muppets in it ... Henson understood this, and you can see that sort of evolution in the Muppets created for the Muppet show ... A puppet like Waldorf is much more complex in sculpture than a "Sesame Street" like design like Johnny Fiama or the Elvis muppets. In the JHH, there was a conscious desire to do all types of Muppets .... I feel the JHH nevertheless had a much more consistent style of puppet than MT, and certainly a better quality of puppet.

    And yes, I love the characters. Dave Goelz is a very funny man and Digit is one of his classic characters, one of those Muppets that you can really say that everything he says and does is funny. Bean Bunny also came into his own, he's treated as this famous cute character who everyone hates but who they can't do the show without because he's commercial ... and Bean lords his cuteness over them ... and you get the sense that Bean is sort of a jerk. The combination is just quite funny. Leon and Gonzo made a nice team, since Leon was a perpetual bachelor with a real interest in women but who apparently shared (or didn't mind) Gonzo's love for chickens. There is something really strange about that. Irma seemed like a generic character, but I really took to her .... she had a Scooter like quality working behind the scenes but you knew she worked hard and was sort of in charge, and that the show was in good hands with her and Kermit. I liked Lindbergh a lot, he's basically a replacement for Beauregard, and could have been developed more. A human tends to be ignored on such shows too, but the very funny Chris Langham can't be ignored. The guest stars were also often ignored and abused, and sometimes used very minimally, only to the extent that they would be entertaining, and leave before their welcome wore out. We always got exactly as much of the guest star as we would want. I felt that the song numbers were of a generally higher quality (look at "The Music Keeps Rolling Along" and "Sweet Vacation" -- very catchy stuff), the special effects were excellently used, and the whole enterprise had a feel of quality and experimentation.

    What was important about the JHH was that it DIDN'T look backward. It looked forward, presenting a vision of the Muppets as waaaay ahead of their time and at the top of technology ... as indeed the Henson company was at that time. It was not an anachronism, but the tops in Hollywood creature effects, doing the biggest movies.

    With the JHH, a lot of people were really tuning in for the second half ... hoping to see another installment of The Storyteller. To enter that amazing fantasy world Henson had created. Of course you're blown away by the first half too, seeing that the Muppets had, at that point, aged incredibly well and maintained that cutting-edge quality.

    The Muppets always changed with the times .... they were a side act for Ed Sullivan and Jimmy Dean, and worked well as that .... then became the main event without forgetting that their job was to provide cutting-edge entertainment .... let's face it, what's more visually striking and entertaining ... the ordinary Sonny and Cher variety shows of the 70s, or the Muppet Show? Adults watched the show with their kids, sure, but they couldn't believe what they were seeing either some episodes.

    There are uses of today's technology in the VMMCM, but not 1/1000000th of what we would see if Henson were still alive I feel ..... the JHC is not innovating in any way, just trying not to sully the reputation of some beloved characters. They have done very little in recent Muppet projects that is innovative ... and if they did, they might be criticized for it, sure, but this is the problem.

    With Jim's passing, the day of puppets being cutting edge special effects died too. And the warmth that had previously gone into puppeteering, the love, died. Today's Muppets are an embattled species, and no amount of merchandising and passable Holiday specials can change that.

    People like a character like Pepe because he's fresh and genuinely funny. He's not based on the past of anything, he's just a puppet that Bill is enjoying puppeteering. There was a time when all the Muppets were like that.

    Yes, I would rather see Steve Whitmire do Bean Bunny than do Kermit. I'm sorry. I think it's important that someone do Kermit, but not at the expense of characters that he created himself and can do whatever the **** he wants with. (Although I could care less if he did, say, Flash again.) Dave Goelz' Gonzo has changed a LOT over time, and the top-of-his-form Gonzo in MCC is different from the excited, easily entertained, and slightly oblivious Gonzo of JHH, who is VERY different from the shy, depressive, ambitious but self-loathing and very quiet Gonzo of the original Muppet Shows .... a wisp of a weirdo who eventually got enough confidence to become the eccentric geek we know and love today.

    Maybe I'm fooled by Eric Jacobson as Fozzie and Piggy because he feels unrestrained and having fun .... Of course, the Fozzie and Piggy Muppets are showcase Muppets, well-designed classic complex characters that stand the test of time.

    Sure, nostalgia is good, but my problem with something like VMMCM is that in context of the Muppet Show Muppets I find that nostalgia doesn't last long at all. It seems to do almost nothing actually. Because maybe for me the Muppets are about seeing something you don't see anywhere else. And that's different from seeing something you don't see anywhere else, but that you've seen before.

    Writing solves a lot of this, and I feel the writing in something like Muppet Treasure Island was leaps and bounds ahead of most of VMMCM. For purposes of humor anyway. As for visual style, MCC probably came a lot closer to what Henson would have done with the material, with different kinds of Muppets presented in different ways.

    Farscape was the last recourse for the fantasy worlds I love so much, and that's going going gone now .... may something else of quality come along.

    People dis Crank Yankers a lot on this forum, and sure it's a bad show, but the main reason it's so easy to dis it is because the puppets suck.

    I hope to see an original and consistent style develop in the next Muppet tv series, with characters from all stages of the Muppets' history, and new characters who can come into the foreground, are well designed and original and don't look like any other Muppet, and are FUNNY, played by funny people.

    We shall see.
  12. the_great_gonzo

    the_great_gonzo Well-Known Member

    Man JHH sounds like a great show. Unfortunately, I was too young to enjoy it. I was 3 when it aired and I think I only saw one episode if any. I'm interested in seeing the show and finding out more about it because the characters sound really great but hey what are you going to do?
  13. Zack the Dog

    Zack the Dog Well-Known Member

    I don't think Jonny has a Sesame Street feel, but i DO think the three Elvis muppethave a very Sesame Street feel, along with many of the human muppets in the beging.

    But i would say the Burl Ives clone was a snowman rather then a monster.

    I think Kermit's voice really shines in this movie, at the end thought you here A LOT of Rizzo in kermit's laughing, but i think this specail is very henson like, not exact! but had many henson like moments, i also think kermit looked more like Jim's kermit in this movie at certain time example when kermit is watching gonzo sing, also the full body kermit standing in the snow.

    i just found Sam's voice very bad, scooter was great, janice was liveable and piggy and fozzie were amazing, even though Lew's voice seemed a little werid, it still feel's like lew and his personality and tone.

    i also wish there was more of the chirstmas show, like how kermit comments miss piggy and that she has to get ready for her next number, we don't get to see that next number, it would have been nice to see more of the classic muppets do stuff on stage, like a segment with Sam, and bunsen and beaker, and the chef. Rizzo could have been used a little more too.

    also it would have been nice to see a few more muppets in the world with out kermit.

    i think the movie needed a little more writen into it, but i would perfer watching this movie then MTI, MCC, or MFS as i find it better then all three.

    there were only about four non-muppet muppets as i call them in the film rather then a bunch or no-name, no speices muppets like in MCC, or MTI. the four were Poodle pants, Howard the pig, Lester the scary blinking eye muppet(seen in the back ground) and the dead beat rock group non EM human Muppet(also seen in the back ground) oh yeah and the Elivs muppets and a few human muppets in the beging)
  14. Crazy Harry

    Crazy Harry Well-Known Member

    This term confusses me. What exactly makes a Muppet 'Non-Muppet'ish?
  15. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    For the record, the JHH is my favorite version of a Muppet Show...and yes that includes TMS, and MT. While TMS was great, and I was fortunate to see the last season in its original airings...
    JHH was such an amazingly ahead of its time, and truly edgy show. It was made in the last great era of the Muppets, and featured a brave new focus on technology and ideas.

    I mean who would have thought creature shop meets traditional Muppets would look so cool?

    And the concepts, characters...in 1999 the Matrix came out, but in 1989 JHH was reflecting these 'cyberpunk' William Gibson ideas with neural jacks, computer control rooms, etc. And this was all before the internet and everything. Not to mention JHH had over the top inuendo a good 12 and a half years before VMC but more tasefully done.

    And the Song of the Rainforest...wow. JHH was the last JHC production that trulyhad some inspiring tunes.

    Then somehow by MT JHC went to this Sesame look. Look at the beginning of VMC...all the street people are basically anything Muppets out of Sesame. The Elvises for instance pretty much are Sesame.

    So weird how JHH was too ahead of its time, then 7 years later MT was not so ahead of its time. Though I love MT...I mean it bore Pepe. Also Im confused...at Muppetfest they showed off 'virtual Muppets' in real time...though over a decade before on the Secrets Behind JHH they showed virtually the exact same technology with Waldo which looked pretty similair.
    Anyways, just hope they mix up the edginess of JHH, with some new ideas and a slight hint back toward TMS on the new show.
  16. Zack the Dog

    Zack the Dog Well-Known Member

    Crazy Harry

    you want a list?

    it means that it's face looks like it was beated with a two by four

    it mean's in most cases it's NOT an animal or monster muppet

    it means the character has an ugly(but not cool
    monster/creature) face, i mean "ugly"

    it mean's you don't care if you ever see this charcter again and wish you never saw himin the first place

    it mean's that he/she will never become a fan favorite or main charcter

    it mean's that if the character was about to be thrown into the fire place...you would not save it....

    Zack)Rowkf the, oh there's more....Dog

    oh yeah, they had ugly faces alright, thankgoodness for the rats and penguins...and even real human people too!
  17. Crazy Harry

    Crazy Harry Well-Known Member

    From your describtion, you could just as easily refer to them as 'just plane bad'.
  18. Zack the Dog

    Zack the Dog Well-Known Member

    no,no,no it's very important that i say how much i dislike them, it's gotta be the total opisit of my love for the "real" muppets like Kermit, Rowlf, Janice,Gobo,Oscar and yes even Crazy Harry.

    And we all know hom much we can say about how much we love them, can't i say how much i dislike that little child non muppet muppet in the beging that wipes his nose while looking at the toy train in the window?:D

    Zack)Rowlf the, aww, i'm staring to feel a little bad for them now,Dog.
  19. Chilly Down

    Chilly Down Well-Known Member

    I agree. The "Anything Muppets" in that beginning looked pretty generic, even for Anything Muppets. I would have rather see Link or some other character walking in the background. They went out of their way to BUILD these boring characters that no one will see again!

    JHH's puppets were such an artistic triumph. I guess because of its failure, that's why they went "retro" with the MT characters. But I wish they'd return to a more complex style myself.

    BTW, Cory, I like your idea too. I'm not sure an arty Muppet film is what's needed right now, but it's an intriguing idea and I'd like to see it someday. As long as it's not Cirque de Lame! :p
  20. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tom! Btw, it would'nt really be an 'artsy' film per say, but a sweeping visionary epic like Lawrence of Arabia or English Patient meets Being John Malkovich and What Dreams May Come. Ok, maybe that is a bit arty.

    Btw, just heard from JHC this morning about my movie idea!
    I'll post that on here soon.

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