MINOR SPOILERSMisunderstood classic remains one of Henson's finest and most personal films. It may seem funny to call a movie as beloved as this one 'misunderstood,' but people do seem to remember this one mostly for Jerry Juhl's snappy screenplay and Paul Williams's knockout songs. Now while these things are admittedly great, as is the movie's formal playfulness (screenplay-within-the-screenplay, film break, etc.), what distinguishes 'The Muppet Movie' from the other Muppet films is the serious, wistful thread that runs through the picture. It's a road movie, all right, but like most road movies, the pleasure is in the getting there, and the achievement of the characters' goals is tempered by uncertainty, and by the knowledge that they can never really go back again. Throughout the film, we are shown the down side of show business, even before the Muppets have 'made it': Piggy abandons Kermit without a second thought at a phone call from her agent, Gonzo expresses the loneliness and regret of a performer's life on the road in his haunting 'I'm Going to Go Back There Someday,' and, worst of all, Kermit is continually tortured and tested by Doc Hopper, who wants him to commercialize his art for the unholiest of purposes. (One can only wonder what Henson would have made of his family's management of the company after his death.) Kermit himself agonizes over his choices in the desert conversation scene, and the final 'Magic Store' number questions whether it's all been worth it, before concluding that it probably doesn't matter either way. All this is punctuated with the expected Muppet chaos and satire and deliciously awful jokes, and of course the serious stuff wouldn't work if it weren't. But 'The Muppet Movie' isn't just another jokefest, as the rest of the diminishing-return Muppet films would become. No, it's a lovely, gentle metaphor about the relationship between art and entertainment and business, and it's every bit as effective today as it was 25 years ago. 9.5 out of 10.
In many ways, the perfect movie. The "Incredible Journey" and Horatio Alger tale come together for a positive spin on the usually depressing subject of existentialism. In essence, the travails of the muppets boil down to the finale song of the movie: "Life's like a movie, write your own ending, keep believing, keep pretending." They create their own reality, which has all the trappings of every epic tale: a lofty goal at the end of what is necessarily a obstacle-laden journey; an ever-increasing group of like-minded individuals for camaraderie; a nasty set of villians who are not beyond all redemption; and a big-budget Hollywood ending because, darn it all, they CAN.Only Jim Henson could pull this off. He walks the line between sentimentality and philosophy without swerving too long or too hard into either. Of course it seems odd that invest such weight into a film starring puppets, but in the end perhaps they are the perfect, uh, puppet to make these points. The movie's atmosphere allows for the pure enjoyment of the Hollywood dream, the "happy" ending, unnecessary cameos, and bursting into song at the drop of a hat. Usually these aspects are anathema to quality in film, but the self-deprecating manner under which the story is delivered makes for guilt-free viewing. One of the few films that can truly be called "suitable for all ages."The other muppet-related films (including "The Empire Strikes Back"), while palatable, do not touch the simple grace of this film. Take, for instance, the musical number "Hope that Something Better Comes Along," the duet of Kermit and Rowlf. Amusing in its vaudevillian goofiness, yet makes a bitingly crucial point about the motivations behind life choices. Brilliant.
We all lost something important when Jim Henson died. But his magic alone wasn't sufficient to do more than clever skits, both before and after this gem. Some fated match of director, writers, songwriters and puppeteers came together to create an underappreciated masterpiece.Forget the kids -- this is a great work, period. Among the best story-films ever. And nowhere is the enfolding of reality and fantasy more rich than here. Naturally, you have the mix of humans (accented by celebrity cameos) and puppets. And some puppets are of humans, some of human-like animals, and some of animal-like animals. But that's just the tokens.The real novelty comes in the story. It is a film about the making of itself, with a wonderful sequence at the end where the film is represented in cartoonish props contrasted with a `real' rainbow. Throughout, one weaves between being in the story and observing the story. Kermit (Henson's alterego) says `I hope you appreciate I'm doing my own stunts.' Think about it.The songs, themselves self-referential, are important frosting: `why are there so many songs about rainbows?'`Life is a movie, write your own ending, keep believing, keep pretending...' You don't get that in common fare. If you have kids, this is the most educational exposure you can give them among the kiddie offerings. There's nothing more powerful than the ability to perform abstract reasoning and the foundation of that is the play between what things are and what things represent them. Thanks and God bless you, Jim.
Jim Henson as Kermit, Dr.Teeth, Rowlf and Waldorf.Frank Oz as Fozzie, Piggy and Animal.Jerry Nelson as Floyd Pepper, Robin the Frog, Lew Zealand and Crazy Harry.Richard Hunt as Janice, Statler,Beaker and Scooter.Dave Goelz as Gonzo, Dr.Hunnydew and Zoot.Charles Durning and Mel Brooks.cameos by Steve Martin, Carol Kane, Orson Welles, Bob Hope, Richard Pryor and others.This is the first Muppet movie of the billion others that came out, and is also the best, by far! This deals with Kermit the frog going on a trip to Hollywood and meeting the other characters along the way. This movie, along with being already good, has excellent songs performed by the Muppets, including Rainbow Connection, Can You Picture That?, Moving Right Along and others. This movie, unlike the other Muppet flicks, carries a strong sentimental value to me. It's such a nice movie. Also noted is it's many cameos featuring Steve Martin, Mel Brooks and a dozen others. It's really one of the best family films out there today!my rating-A plus. 109 mins. rated G.
Y'know, it's very interesting watching this... half the people involved with it are now dead...Anyways, it's been a long time since I've watched anything Muppet related, but this stuff is pure gold. I'm a great fan of puns, and this movie has them quite well placed, but one of the amazing aspects of it is its pacing: it's not really high-speed children's pacing where the filmmakers just randomly decide to move the story along without giving the character's depth, it's just kind of moves along with the characters wherever they want to go.Kermit the Frog is just an awesome character. His voice and the expressions on his puppet-face are fantastic. But above all, he points out why he's popular--"he can sing and make jokes too!"--but more appropriately why he's so endearing--he, without any effort, inspires everyone to search for their dreams. In the meantime, he also has to deal with himself, which is an uncommon theme in family movies.It also contains quite an ensemble of comedians making appearances here and there, some to great effect, others to a little less (I think Mel Brook's part was just a bit overplayed, do you?). Some parts of the film are just kind of odd. But it's highly imaginative and takes itself to the same destination from a very different direction.Moving right along...--PolarisDiB
A bunch of full-length movies featuring the Muppets, created by Jim Henson & Co, have been made, but "The Muppet Movie" was the first one of them all, and the first in the original trilogy, which also features "The Great Muppet Caper" and "The Muppets Take Manhattan". It was released seven years before I was born, so I obviously didn't get to see it at the time (nor did I get to see its two successors when they were first released). However, I saw a lot of the Muppets during my childhood, mostly after Henson's premature death in 1990. I finally got around to seeing this movie for the first time around the mid-nineties, after hearing the soundtrack. Unsurprisingly, I liked it at the time, and revisiting it in recent years hasn't exactly been disappointing.One day, while Kermit the Frog sits in a swamp with his banjo after singing "Rainbow Connection", a Hollywood agent named Bernie comes by in a boat and urges him to pursue a career in Tinseltown. Kermit takes his advice and goes west. He soon meets Fozzie Bear, an unsuccessful stand-up comedian in a restaurant, and convinces him to come along. The frog is also noticed by Doc Hopper, the owner of a frog leg restaurant chain who wants Kermit to be his mascot. As a frog, Kermit is disgusted by this, so he refuses and leaves with Fozzie. On their road trip across the country, Kermit and Fozzie meet other Muppets who join them, including Miss Piggy (who soon becomes Kermit's love interest) and Gonzo. Unfortunately, as they all try to make their way to Hollywood, Doc Hopper, assisted by Max, is willing to do anything to force Kermit to become his restaurant chain's mascot, so Kermit finds himself in increasing danger! One thing many people praise this film for is the songs, and I can understand why. There is, of course, the Oscar-nominated "Rainbow Connection" at the beginning, and more good tunes follow, such as Kermit and Fozzie's catchy road song, "Movin' Right Along", and "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday", a poignant ballad sung by Gonzo. "Never Before, Never Again", the song Miss Piggy sings when she first sees Kermit, is the only one I would consider rather weak, and their romance seems awfully sudden. The Muppets in this movie are generally lovable, just like they are on TV, and some of them provide a lot of the humour, including Fozzie, making his first appearance in the film hopelessly trying to entertain people in a restaurant with his stand-up, and, well, if you're familiar with these famous Muppets, you should know what to expect from each of them. Some of the live actors who appear briefly in the film can also be funny, such as Dom DeLuise as Bernie the Agent and Steve Martin as the "Insolent Waiter." Also, it's not 100% comedy. There are serious parts of the film which they also did well.Watching this original Muppet movie again this year was my first time watching any of them since seeing "Muppets from Space" (one of the Muppet movies made after Henson's death, released in 1999) for the first time last year. I was very disappointed when I saw that film, which had never happened before when I watched any film or TV show featuring the popular puppet characters! Not only is that movie not very funny, I also think it's a tad too dark and cruel for the Muppets, as I stated in my review of it! However, I can't say I think the same of any of that movie's predecessors, including this one, relea
21 years, 5 more muppet movies, and several Presidents later, this movie remains a classic and, in my opinion, the best of all Muppet Movies.The entire family can enjoy this movie, and that's lost in current movies. Something that you would take your 6 year old to wouldn't really hold your interest, and vice-versa. The characters are in danger, but no real harm can be done. The characters are in stressful situations, but they don't shout profanities. What less would you expect from the beloved Muppets?I find myself cracking up at the running gags and little implied jokes in this movie. The funniest are heard under a character's breath. Not only that, but it has an absolutely inspired musical score. Never since this movie have the Muppets shown such a broad range of emotions through their music.All the Muppet movies are good. Even Muppets from Space, the least entertaining of the lot is fun. But if you want a really good time, get the original. You can watch it over and over...
Jim Henson's The Muppet Movie is a charming, funny and brilliant film that can be watched AND enjoyed by adults and kids. I feel this is my favorite childhood film because it combines great characters, great story, and great wit that it is irresistable. The plot involves Kermit the frog (puppeteered and voiced by Henson) in his odyssey across America to follow his dream in Hollywood. Along the way, he meets Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo (my favorite), Miss Piggy, Rolf, and DR. Teeth and the electric mayhem.
This film has so many good things I can't even say them. But it is memorable and every time I think of a puppet or muppet, I will think of this film. Look for cameos from Mel Brooks, Dom DeLouise, Paul Williams, Madeline Kahn, Bob Hope, Richard Pryor, Steve martin, Edgar Bergen (and Charlie McCarthey), Elliot Gould, Carol Kane and the great Orson Welles. Excellent and spectacular, one of the best films of the 70's. A++
Growing up as a kid one of my favorite things was Jim Henson's Muppets especially Kermit the Fog, I enjoyed the show had Muppet storybooks and action figures and even plush toys. So I just recently for the first time watched something of old pop culture history that being 1979's "The Muppet Movie". I must say too that the film was wonderful! The writing and story was just great the film is very funny and it gives a good message in the end plus it's supported by appearances from many top notch stars. This film shows how the Muppets began their rise to fame as they showed it in their own way by doing their own movie! Remember the song dreams begin with a rainbow! Kermit has a fateful meeting with a big time talent agent and it's then that his hopes of becoming a star has him on a journey to Hollywood! Along the way on his journey for show business he meets his usual cast and gang of characters Fozzie the Bear(the bad comedian)the Great Gonzo(chicken)and the prim and proper Miss Piggy as all too have big dreams on the way out to California. Now enter the drama and road encounters with Doc Hooper(Charles Durning)who as a fast food mogul wants Kermit to promote his French fried frog leg franchise, yet probably Kermit is gonna be a cooked frog! Along the way the journey is funny and entertaining with fun and crazy mishaps and it's guided along with the witty lines and musical songs including the hit "The Rainbow Connection". Plus it's supported just fine by appearances from legendary stars like Mel Brooks, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Dom Deluise, and Orson Welles. And in the end it proves a special and important message that as you see the Muppets learn that real life can actually be in the form of a movie. And really with your thoughts and dreams you can make your own movie. Overall a good classic that both adults and children will laugh with and enjoy.
Who doesn't love the muppets?! Impossible it is to watch them without getting some kind of warm, fuzzy feeling inside. So, I guess what's important is that this movie seemed to very successfully capture what makes the muppets so special. I don't remember much about the details of the plot but the various moments and characters in the film I recall quite fondly. In fact, there was quite a nostalgic atmosphere to the whole movie but without being self-conscious in any bad way. Refreshing for someone who possibly gets too hung up on meticulous details and technique; the "magic" transcends all that other stuff. 'Tis indeed what movies are made of.So, how does the film achieve these things? Hmmm, nice question! Stumped am I? Let's see. Really, I feel like it's quite simple. The filmmakers believe in their material and don't take themselves too seriously in the process. I probably wouldn't say the film has many truly inspired moments, but it does have a certain life to it (that funnily enough a great many "real people" movies lack). A zest. You really want to believe in these funny little people and their adventures. They also have a certain innocence about them that makes them all the more endearing.Generally I get the impression that the people that made the movie just weren't afraid to try whatever felt right to them at the time which gives the whole thing quite a loose feel. Kind of like a really accessible and enjoyable extended jazz session. Lots of talent, little predictability and plenty of warm personalities coming through. The cameos were of course a bunch of nice surprises for instance. Maybe I don't feel I have much to say about it because I was half-asleep when I saw it (and/or as I write this review). Anyway, I'm sort of semi-repeating myself here but I really liked the sense of family the movie had. Full of love I suppose you might say. Again, a feeling of nostalgia comes to mind which not many films manage to achieve so effectively or effortlessly.And to repeat myself once more, one of the film's best charms is its very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Like the Nathaniel Hawthorne quote about happiness being (like) a butterfly, so The Muppet Movie greatly succeeds partially by not seeming to try to do so. Same with beauty being best undiscovered or untouched or unforced or something like that. Anyway, if that sounds sappy, I also reckon it was pretty hilarious.So, all in all, this movie was very funny, touching and difficult not to smile along to. Plus it features lots of great music! Highly recommended to all humans, both the young and the young at heart.