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Your Thoughts: Jim Henson's "Good Boy!"

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Phillip, Oct 10, 2003.


Will you support the Jim Henson Company and see "Good Boy!" in theaters?

Poll closed Jan 8, 2004.
  1. Yes, I will see it in the theater

    9 vote(s)
  2. No, I will see it on video or cable

    10 vote(s)
  3. No, I don't plan to see it at all

    11 vote(s)
  4. No, it's not showing in my country

    2 vote(s)

  1. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    Jim Henson Pictures feature film "Good Boy!" debuts today nationwide. Let us know what you think about this release, especially if you see it in the theaters. Keep in mind, if this film does well it will benefit the Jim Henson Company as a whole.


    You can also send us your review of "Good Boy!" to archive on Muppet Central. Let fans around the world know what you think of this movie.

    You can submit your review here...


    Below are links to a variety of reviews that you might find interesting...

    Reviews from rottentomatoes.com

    "An affecting, hot-buttered slice of toasted E.T. with a smidgen of Benji thrown in just because."

    -Wesley Morris, BOSTON GLOBE

    "A mix of E.T. and Cats & Dogs, it is a wonderfully sweet family film for all ages."


    Reviews from metacritic.com

    Chicago Tribune / Ellen Fox:
    A tearily adorable canine valentine.

    Entertainment Weekly / Scott Brown:
    Little is asked of talking-animal movies, save charm, heart, and at least one scene where said animal wears a lampshade. Good Boy! has all those things, plus a winning story line.

    LA Weekly / Ella Taylor:
    This latest offering from the Jim Henson stable puts a cheerfully broad new spin on the boy-and-his-dog franchise.

    Washington Post / Michael O'Sullivan:
    When it comes right down to it, the talking animal thing is sort of secondary to what is, at heart, just a simple but perfectly satisfying little story about a boy who wants to keep his dog.

    Associated Press
    ** out of four stars

    At least "Good Boy!" doesn't leave a mess on the floor that you have to mop up with extra-absorbent paper towels. But you still want to roll up a newspaper and lay a bonk to the nose on everyone involved with this dog of a family flick.

    Talking dogs should have more heart and humor than they do in this lame comedy from the Jim Henson "Muppets" factory.

    It's not for lack of talent, story or cuddly canines that "Good Boy!" lacks bark or bite. The idea that dogs came from outer space to colonize Earth is cute enough, the canines are even cuter and the movie's voice cast -- including Matthew Broderick, Carl Reiner, Delta Burke and Brittany Murphy -- is solid.

    But like a collie scratching endlessly at the same flea scabs, "Good Boy!" claws monotonously at a few dumb gags, with the script by first-time director John Hoffman barren of wit.

    "Good Boy!" stars Liam Aiken as 12-year-old Owen Baker, a misfit with a part-time job walking neighborhood dogs. Owen's a sad kid who has trouble making friends, until he gets a stray mutt, a terrier named Hubble (voiced by Broderick).

    Turns out Hubble's a scout from the Dog Star, Sirius, dispatched to Earth to find out how canines sent there thousands of years earlier have fared on their mission to take over the planet.

    A fluke accident with Hubble's radio equipment allows Owen to understand dog-speak. Suddenly, the boy can communicate not only with Hubble, but also with his dog-walking charges.

    The movie's heart is in the right place, but "Good Boy!" plays out with a stilted bag of tricks, relying far too heavily on gags about dog poo and flatulence.

    The digital effects used to make the dogs look as if they're talking are almost too understated, making their speeches appear lifeless when they needed a bit of that floppy flamboyance the Muppets are famous for.


    Herald Movie Critic
    ** out of four stars

    Dogs are from outer space. This is the first startling revelation in "Good Boy!" but by no means the most alarming one.

    Dogs are also intent on dominating Earth. That was the original idea, anyway, when dogs first came here thousands of years ago. As the preponderance of leash laws suggests, things haven't worked out as planned.

    The extra-terrestrial nature of canines is discovered by 12-year-old Owen (Liam Aiken), a kid who adopts an ordinary-looking mutt from the pound. His new dog Hubble is actually an emissary from Sirius (yes, the Dog Star), newly arrived on this planet to prepare the way for the mightiest dog of all, the Greater Dane.

    Hubble bestows upon Owen the ability to hear dogs talk. Hubble, for instance, speaks in the voice of Matthew Broderick.

    Owen must help Hubble prepare the neighborhood dogs for the Greater Dane's visit. If they can't pretend that man's best friend actually dominates humankind, the Greater Dane will withdraw every dog from the planet.

    Granted, there is not much suspense in this plot. If this movie ended with every dog on earth being removed from their owners, you could forget about "Gigli": "Good Boy!" would be the most hated film in the history of cinema.

    If there is any movie law that has stood the test of time, it's that dogs must not be messed with on screen. Blow up as many people as you want, and audiences will happily keep sucking down the sodas and Junior Mints. Hurt a dog and you've got a riot on your hands.

    "Good Boy!" breezes along in a cheerful manner. This movie is quite content to construct entire sequences around the joys of chasing a ball.

    The talking dogs are given rowdy life by voices belonging to Carl Reiner, Brittany Murphy and Vanessa Redgrave, among others. Yes, Vanessa Redgrave is in a movie about talking dogs from space.

    Molly Shannon and Kevin Nealon, two "Saturday Night Live" alums, are Owen's parents. But don't look for much grown-up humor; this is a kiddie film all the way. One dog's take on the human-pet power balance is about as sophisticated as it gets: "You don't see us picking up their poop."

    It's a modest winner. Jim Henson's production company is behind this one, and although there isn't a Muppet in sight, it has the same good-natured spirit. With no bite.

  2. Whatever

    Whatever Well-Known Member

    I think my bro and sis will like it... they love anything with animals....but I have no way to get to a movie theater, I would probably get killed if I tried to go on my bike!
  3. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    This goes on the list with Buddy for me. Just not interested. I'm kind of tired of monkey and dog movies. This concept was already done with Cats and Dogs along side the Creature Shop. I'll catch it on cable. I'd like to see Henson make more creative choices than typical disposable fare. It could be a good film, but we know they can do much better.
  4. jediX

    jediX Well-Known Member

    And aren't the characters just cgi anyways?
  5. Did the movie have the "Kermit and camera" logo at the beginning, I didn't see it in the trailers.
  6. Ryan

    Ryan Well-Known Member

    Couldn't have said it better myself.
  7. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    What? So there's no "Jim Henson Pictures" logo at all or just no Kermit? If either's true, that explains why I only see the MGM logo in all those commercials.
  8. Mark Filton

    Mark Filton Well-Known Member

    Oh boy. This IS a DOG of a movie :D


    Millions of Dog Owners Demand to Know: 'Who's a Good Boy?'

    -- Headline in The Onion

    If a child and a dog love each other, the relationship is one of mutual wonder. Making the dog an alien from outer space is not an improvement. Giving it the ability to speak is a disaster. My dog Blackie used his eyes to say things so eloquent that Churchill would have been stuck for a comeback. Among my favorite recent movie dogs are Skip, in "My Dog Skip," who teaches a boy how to be a boy, and Shiloh, in "Shiloh," who teaches a boy that life is filled with hard choices. Hubble, the dog in "Good Boy!," teaches that dogs will be pulled off Earth and returned to their home planet in a "global recall."

    I've told you all you really need to know about the movie's plot. Owen Baker (Liam Aiken), the young hero, adopts a terrier who turns out to have arrived in a flying saucer to investigate why dogs on Earth are our pets, instead of the other way around. This will be a no-brainer for anyone who has watched a dog operating a pooper scooper. Nor do dogs look like the master race when they go after your pants leg. But I am willing to accept this premise if anything clever is done with it. Nothing is.

    Having seen talking and/or audible dogs in many movies (how the years hurry by!), I have arrived at the conclusion that the best way to present animal speech is by letting us hear their thoughts in voice-over. Sometimes it works to show their lips moving (it certainly did in "Babe"), but in "Good Boy!" the jaw movements are so mechanical it doesn't look like speech, it looks like a film loop. Look at "Babe" again and you'll appreciate the superior way in which the head movements and body language of the animals supplement their speech.

    But speech is not the real problem with "Good Boy!" What they talk about is. The movie asks us to consider a race of superior beings who are built a few feet off the ground, lack opposable thumbs and walk around nude all the time. Compared to them, the aliens in "Signs" are a model of plausibility. The dogs live within a few blocks of one another in Vancouver, and we meet their owners. I kept hoping maybe Jim Belushi had moved to the neighborhood with Jerry Lee, from "K-9," or that I'd spot Jack Nicholson walking Jill. (Jack and Jill: I just got it.)

    But no. The humans are along the lines of Kevin Nealon and Molly Shannon, as Owen's parents. The dogs are voiced by Matthew Broderick (as Hubble), Brittany Moldowan, Brittany Murphy, Donald Faison, Carl Reiner and Delta Burke. Voicing one of the dogs in this movie is the career move of people who like to keep working no matter what. At least when you do the voice of an animated animal, they make it look a little like you, and your character can be the star. But when you voice a real dog, do you have to stand around all day between shots talking to the trainer about what a good dog it is?

    Copyright © Chicago Sun-Times Inc.

    (Hey Henson Company! Don't forget to put Kermit on Kimmel again a few months from now when you're trying to unload a warehouse full of "Good Boy!" DVDs. Good luck! :D )
  9. Chilly Down

    Chilly Down Well-Known Member

    I agree with Jamie. I can't blame the Henson Company for making a talking-animal comedy, as that's all that seems to sell nowadays. But I feel like, been there, done that. The only time I liked it was with the first "Babe" movie. The other movies just looked annoying and loud and not worth my time. Same with this one.

    If Jim Henson Pictures comes up with a truly creative original idea, with great puppetry and CGI effects, I'll be glad to see it. (Whatever happened to the video-game spoof "Game Over" that they were developing?) In the meantime, no dog or monkey movies for me.
  10. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I cannot stand talking dog films, and I saw Buddy and greatly disliked it. It seemed good, it had a good plot, but it just flopped in it's execution...

    George of the Jungle I liked, though. I felt, dispite the cast (and the lack of Tiger and Weevil as the villains) it was true to the original cartoon. Plus John Cleese as an Ape Named Ape... that was perfect!
  11. sarah_yzma

    sarah_yzma Well-Known Member

    video for me. I LOVED cats and dogs, but I think you hit the mark once with stuff like that (although I might see the sequel just to see if the humor continues) the only part that looks cute (in good boy) to me is the part about the cookies.
  12. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    All things considered, Good Boy did pretty well last week. The film came out third in overall ticket sales of $13 million.

    1. Kill Bill _ Volume 1
    Miramax ($22 (m) million).
    $22 (m

    2. School of Rock
    Paramount ($15.4 (m) million).
    $15.4 (m

    3. Good Boy
    "Good Boy!", MGM ($13.1 (m) million).
    $13.1 (m

    4. Intolerable Cruelty
    Universal ($12.5 (m) million).
    $12.5 (m

    5. Out of Time
    MGM ($8.5 (m) million).
    $8.5 (m

    6. House of the Dead
    Artisan ($5.6 (m) million).
    $5.6 (m

    7. The Rundown
    Universal ($5.2 (m) million).
    $5.2 (m

    8. Under the Tuscan Sun
    Disney ($4.9 (m) million).
    $4.9 (m

    9. Secondhand Lions
    New Line ($3.2 (m) million).
    $3.2 (m 10. Lost in Translation
    Focus Features ($2.8 (m) million).
    $2.8 (m
  13. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    I thought it got 4th, but 3rd's better! Weird how the Jim Henson Pictures logo appears nowhere in the commercials, trailer, or even the web site...and yet this is probably JHP's most successful film.
  14. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    Notice that this film is being marketed by MGM (just like Very Merry Muppet Christmas is being distributed by MGM). Jim Henson Pictures was originally formed with Henson/Columbia in 1995. I don't know if this has anything to do with the logo/promotional issues or not, but it's a possibility.
  15. Beebers

    Beebers Well-Known Member

    I prefer to be supportive of everything Henson does but I don't think "Good Boy" is among their better efforts.

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