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I distinctly remember seeing "Muppets Take Manhattan" in the movie theater
when I was 8 years old--following the film, I immediately demanded that my
parents purchase the soundtrack LP (yes, on vinyl!). I loved this movie
then; I love it still.
Actually, it's my favorite among the first three, classic Muppet films; "Muppet Movie" is great but overlong, while "Great Muppet Caper" is terrific, but seems a bit dated now. "Muppets Take Manhattan," on the other hand, never fails to entertain me, still makes me laugh out loud (the purse-snatching scene; Kermit in his Bert Convy 'fro), and even tugs at my heartstrings.
What's particularly nice about this adventure is that it's an affectionate love letter to Hollywood musicals of yore, without being overly parodying. The musical comedy cliches are presented in a matter-of-fact manner; just as we were expected to suspend our disbelief when Ruby Keeler went out onstage a nobody but "came back a star!", we suspend our disbelief to encompass a group of talking animals putting together a big budget Broadway musical in 2 weeks. These kind of hoary plot devices are presented straight-faced, without any self-conscious "winking" or irony.
The songs are all pretty darn terrific; the show-stopping "Together Again" finale is as good as any contemporary musical number of the last 20 years or so, while "It's Time for Saying Goodbye" always puts a lump in my throat: it's sentimental without being maudlin. The finale, "He/She Makes Me Happy" goes from being sweet to comically over-the-top in less than 3 minutes, and it's a joy.
The expected parade of cameos work well within the structure, without being intrusive. My particular favorites are Liza Minnelli's (the whole Sardi's scene is wonderful), Linda Lavin's (another terrific comedy moment: "YOU are Mr. Enrico Tortellini of Passaic, New Jersey!"), and Joan Rivers' (another gem). The Muppet performers are their usual, endearing selves: lovable, warm, likable. The "love triangle" between Kermit, Piggy and the human Jenny plays surprisingly well, and Piggy's jealous reactions are hysterical.
These days, "family entertainment" usually means disgustingly white-washed pap that anyone over 10 or 11 would find either sedating or inane. (Disney's live action "101 Dalmations" and its sequel spring to mind.) The Muppet movies proved that a G-rated film could be intelligent, witty, funny and entertaining for all ages. It's a formula that has yet to be improved upon, and "The Muppets Take Manhattan" just might be the best example of it.
This is my least-favorite of the three Muppet movies of the Henson
There just isn't enough Muppets. Most of the gang leaves during
very beginning and it's all about Kermit, Piggy and Rizzo.
characters, yes, but without the whole wacky ensemble it's just not
same. That, and the film is kind of just reinforcing what happened
the original Muppet movie, only replacing Hollywood with
Don't get me wrong, it's an enjoyable movie, but it's not grade 'A' muppet material.
Throughout this film, you might think this film is just for kids. Well,
it is mainly pointed towards them, but it's also well-rounded enough
with the jokes pointed also at the adults in the audience. This time
around, the Muppet gang try to get on Broadway, with the dire straits
keeping them from getting it produced, leading them to splitting up.
But Kermit won't stop, and his determination keeps things moving along
until after getting the deal together he gets hit by a car and sent
It's a send-up, in part, of those old starring vehicles from the 40s with musicals actually as the topic of a musical, only here there's the usual lot of zaniness and wonderful moments thrown into a pot of hysterically funny moments (Lou Zealand's boomerang fish; Gonzo's water-stunt display, the whisper campaign, among many others), but also with a lot of heart too. The Muppet writers aren't shy of the conventions, on the contrary, they embrace them to the point where it's almost refreshing to see such a 'lets put on a show' story where through thick and think the characters will meet their dream.
While not as totally original in scope as the Muppet Movie, it's got many catchy and memorable songs, excellent locations all over Manhattan, and even some intonations of inter-species dating (and marriage)! Cameos include Liza Minneli ("a frog?"), Elliot Gould (as the cop), Brooke Shields (propositioned by a rat), Edward I. Koch, Gregory Hines and Joan Rivers. So get ready to sing-along, or just have a lot of big laughs and romantic (yes romantic) times with one of the best Muppet movies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I first saw this film in the 1980's, I was in my middle teenage
years and somewhat reluctant to see this since I considered myself
grown up and out of the "Sesame Street/Muppets" age. I honestly don't
remember if I liked it at the time or not. However, somewhere in
college I watched this film again, and it wound up going (and staying)
into my personal Best Films Ever collection.
This film is LOADED with humor that goes far above and beyond what one would have expected from the Muppets. I mean, obviously the Muppets always have appealed to adults and children because there's humor geared towards both generations. But come on...Janice is accidentally overheard telling someone "I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it IS artistic"...there's a joke from a father to a son that if the son in love with Kermit the Frog then the father doesn't want to hear it...Gonzo saves a chicken with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (sp?) and afterwards says "I think we're engaged now"...these and plenty of other moments in the film had me rolling. Add to that very smart dialogue, very smart New York/Broadway "wink wink" humor, the usual large amount of celebrity cameos and some really enjoyable songs that don't border on "kid-level cheesy" whatsoever...this film is a masterpiece! I don't throw "10"'s out on a regular basis...but this one deserves it. Over 20 years later, this film totally holds up, perhaps even more so. The Muppets never were and never will be again, as funny and smart and just plain brilliant as this film was and is. ---Q
Very fun and impressive third Muppet movie has our heroes leaving college to make it big on Broadway in New York. Once again cameos and fun songs make up the film that re-captures the charm that "The Muppet Movie" had, but lost with "The Great Muppet Caper". There is also a little drama too though as Kermit gets in an accident and ends up suffering from a case of amnesia. Perfect for all audiences, the kiddies should gobble this one up with furious force. 4 stars out of 5.
I was lucky enough to see this film countless times when I was a child. A few days ago while taking a break from college work I saw the movie on television and was really impressed by it. The film is excellent. Kermit and the gang are not only entertaining to children but also to adults. Children are entranced by the puppets and the humor is very well suited to adults. If you have children I recommend this film, there's singing, puppets, action, and Miss Piggy what else could be more entertaining and it beats being stuck with the teletubbies.
Jim Henson's Muppets were a favorite of mine since childhood. This film makes me feel like a kid again. Okay, the Muppets are back with Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog and their friends. The premise is that they are trying to get on Broadway in a musical show in where else but New York City. You will see cameos by the then New York City Mayor Ed Koch. Anyway, the film turns 25 this year and I hope the kids of today will learn to appreciate the lightheartedness of the Muppets Gang. The problem with the show is Kermit goes missing and the gang has to find him in New York City. It's worth watching for kids and even sentimental adults like myself.
After getting the formula about right with The Great Muppet Caper, the
series takes a strange turn with 'Manhattan' only a few years later.
Veteran Muppet Frank Oz takes the helm from Jim Henson and makes a few
minor but noticeable changes. Gone are the nods and winks to the
audience for the most part, and the film is far more plot based and
linear than the slapstick shenanigans of the first film.
Kermit and the gang are finishing college and pondering their futures, which will very likely result in them all moving on separately and losing touch. However Kermit boldly concocts a plan that will see the gang remain together, by heading en masse to Manhattan to launch a massive stage musical called Manhattan Melodies, with all the Muppets as performers or stage hands.
Unfortunately after just a few short days, no success and low on funds, the various characters are forced to disperse and forge their own future, with the promise from Kermit to summon them all if/when the musical gets greenlit. Kermit takes a job in a diner and everyone goes their separate ways.
In many ways this is a more depressing film than the first two even with the frog killing theme for long periods of time the characters mope and ponder a future alone, and it seems that the Muppets will never again operate in unison. Of course this isn't how the film ends, but even in a puppet movie you don't need to be kept sad for over half the running time.
The jokes are less frequent and the tone less tongue in cheek. The cameos are still plentiful but are more 'look here's the famous cameo' than in other films. The inclusion of the Muppet Babies in a thinly veiled promo for the spin-off is as entertaining as it is blatant, and in some ways is a minor indictment on the dull tone of the rest of the film that it can be upstaged by a flashback.
There is another attempt at a grand sequence with Piggy taking a skate through the park, but it is far less successful than either of the sequences from Caper, and the big finale was an apt but desperate ending to proceedings.
Final Rating 6.5 / 10. I by no means am saying steer clear of Manhattan, but after the Muppet Movie got the ball rolling and Caper took such a great leap forward, it is disappointing that the franchise would take a step back like this.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This Muppet movie is different from the first two. See, in the first two, it was a movie within a movie. In Muppet Movie, they watched a movie they made of themselves. In Great Muppet Caper, they walked us through the movie, but Muppets Take Manhattan isn't actually a movie, it's the Muppets in real life. I hope everyone understands that concept.
Kermit the Frog, Fozzie, Gonzo, Miss Piggy, Scooter, Animal, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Janice, Zoot and Camilla are all in college. They put on a show for their fraternity and would like it if their show were good enough for Broadway. So after graduation, they leave New Jersey and go to New York City! As soon as they get there, they're down on their luck. They're broke. Penniless. The only lodgings in their price range were bus station lockers. They stop at a restaurant where rats are waiters. The owner, Pete, gives Kermit hope. Kermit's friends feel they depend on him too much and decide to go off on their own. So begins a very heartbreaking music montage where each one goes their own separate way. But Kermit isn't giving up. He's going to get Manhattan Melodies on Broadway if it's the last thing he does. He becomes friends with Jenny, who helps him try to pass his idea to talent agents. But during all that time, Miss Piggy was watching Kermit and got very upset whenever he and Jenny hugged. They're reunited in the park and during a coach ride, they reminisce about when they were babies. This scene spun off into the Muppet Babies! A very cute scene! Clever idea and so was the TV show. Kermit had received letters from his pals. Scooter became a theater manager, Rowlf became a pet store clerk, Gonzo was a daredevil, Fozzie was hibernating in Maine, and so on. Kertmit receives a letter from an agent who was very interested in the play! Bernard Crawford and his son Ronnie. Great! They were going to Broadway! No more bad luck. Except for Kermit, who was hit by a car and developed amnesia. He became a corporate advertising agent with three other frogs, Gill, Bill and Jill. The friends had to snap Kermit out of it and get ready for opening night! And when Manhattan Melodies opened that night, there was a huge turn out! Even the Sesame Street gang was there! The end resulted in Kermit and Miss Piggy getting married--by a real minister!
Despite this being a different kind of Muppet movie, it's still a good one. And like the first two, this one has celebrity cameos. There's Dabney Coleman, Brooke Sheilds, Joan Rivers, Art Carney, and Gregory Hines. So if you like the Muppets and you'd like to see the Muppet Babies in Muppet form, you gotta see this film.
The Muppets Take Manhattan
The best of the "Muppet" films sees the iconic furry creatures venturing to Manhattan in hopes of lighting up Broadway with their songs and dancing. Funny, touching, and simply great fun for all ages--I haven't seen the original "Muppet" film but I think it'd be hard-pressed to beat this. I got this as a free rental at my video store and kept renting it over and over again for free. If I ever see it on DVD I'm buying it immediately.
**** 1/2 out of *****
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