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This is an outstanding piece of work from Peter Jackson. it's definitely puppets on "the wack." The characters would be insane and unique if they were human, but the puppet (Muppet-like) aspect of them gives this masterpiece even more character. I highly recommend!
First of all, if you have never seen a Peter Jackson movie before, do NOT
start with this one.
"Meet The Feebles" is a movie that, whether you like or hate it, you won't forget it. How could you, when it deals with drugs, sex, vomit, AIDS, Vietnam, and bloody massacres? And when all of the above is done by MUPPETS? (Actually not official Muppets, but it's clear that some of the characters - especially the female hippo - got inspiration from some of the actual Muppets.)
It's a sick movie, but actually it's also very funny. Peter Jackson is obviously one of the masters of cinematic sick humor. Though "Meet The Feebles" in now way compares to "Dead-Alive", it's still worth checking out for any Jackson fans.
Still, I had some complaints about the movie:
(1) The movie didn't have a high enough budget, making some sequences look TOO cheesy
(2) An obnoxious music score
(3) A musical score that doesn't know when to shut up
(4) Too many characters
(5) No characters get enough time to actually make them "main" characters
It's possible that even if you are a Jackson fan, you might be disappointed with the movie. I admit the five problems I've listed above almost got to the point where I wouldn't recommend the movie. But in the end, I was glad to have seen it. If you prepare yourself for this movie having some major problems, and you are not expecting a masterpiece like Jackson's "Dead-Alive", then by all means see "Meet The Feebles". Though as I said before, you have to be used to this director's kind of humor first.
Heidi, the star of the "Meet The Feebles Variety Hour" discovers her
lover Bletch, the Walrus, is cheating on her, and with all the world
waiting for the show the assorted co-stars must contend with their own
problems. These include drug addiction, extortion, robbery, disease,
drug dealing, and even murder.
I remember seeing this many years ago, before Jackson was given the "Lord of the Rings" movies. I knew him for "Bad Taste" and "Dead Alive", so this was not a particularly shocking movie. Strange, yes, and probably offensive, but not really out of bounds from what he had done before. (This made his connection to the "Rings" films even more strange... he seemed an unlikely choice.) If you happen to be sensitive or easily offended, avoid this one. But if you like edgy, offbeat films, you really must check it out. What Jackson constructed here is on par with any cult film from John Waters.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It may be unfair to rate and review a movie of which I've seen no more
than some twenty minutes, but what does it say about that movie when I
wasn't able to watch anymore of it? Why wasn't I able? A total absence
of (succesful) humour. Some terribly annoying voices and characters.
I was surprised to read so many positive reviews (on another movie site - I only read one on IMDb), and even more so to read that people think is a very good parody on The Muppet Show. The Muppet Show is an unparalleled series that has spot on characters and humour - for children and for adults. No extra pus, blood or porn can change that. In fact, it makes it even worse.
On the positive side, I can always appreciate the creative camera work in Peter Jackson films and the artwork on the puppets is pretty nice.
I was going to give it 3 out of 10, but since I haven't watched the whole film, just to keep it fair: 4.
I watched this movie yesterday as a random chill plan of healthy and
cool procrastination: watching movies about little monsters. So after
'The Gate' (a good one) and Munchies (don't watch it), it was Meet the
Feebles turn. And well, we still have like 5 more 80's little monsters
movies to watch but I'm quite sure this may be the best.
IT'S A MUST WATCH. Indeed. I mean, the idea is just pretty good: making kinda of a drama/black comedy story about what happens behind a big, famous, theater musical... What, you thought I'm talking about "Birdman" now? No, this is totally different. This whole thing is made with puppets. And not Henson's puppets. They can be as cute as creepy, as funny as kinky, as wise as dirty. I don't know. Is far way more violent than Birdman (if we're going to continue with the comparison)... And it has some characters that are good, still trying to do the right thing, while in Birdman we have a big bunch of crazy selfish actors trying to do everything for anything.
Of course, it is a MUST WATCH only if you are into B movies, 80's movies, cult classics or whatever... This is quite an accurate choice. Terribly disgusting sometimes, so be mindful with what you are eating while watching'... More than anything is just as mad as hilarious. I'd say go for it.
- Diego Olivas Arana
King Kong (2005), Heavenly Creatures (1994), The Lord of the Rings
Trilogy (2001-2003); what do they all have in common? Well other than
the fact that they are all high quality films, they all share a
director with the little seen; little loved 1989 New Zealand film Meet
the Feebles (1989). That's right; before Peter Jackson won critical
acclaim for his magnificent spectacles and J.R.R. Tolkien adaptations
he was the director of a twisted, tawdry parody of The Muppets
(1976-1981), ranking up there with The Toxic Avenger (1984) in its
level of vulgarity.
The movie aptly juggles a multitude of stories surrounding the struggling variety show cast and crew. The main character of Meet the Feebles is an aging star, Heidi the Hippo (Danny Mulheron) who is struggling to keep her relationship with adulterous producer Bletch the Walrus (Peter Vere-Jones). That, in addition to a sugary sweet love story between a hedgehog and a poodle is about the tamest thing about Meet the Feebles. There are subplots involving drugs, STDs, Vietnam flashbacks, gun violence and plenty of puppet sex.
The sheer ridiculousness of this nightmarish puppet show makes it too ghastly to look away. It appalls intrigues and impresses in equal measure. Everything from the camera-work to the puppeteering to the script are crude yet wildly effective. The size of each anamorphic puppet varies from elaborate sock puppet to a multi-crewed giant all requiring a certain level of skill which while not on par with Jim Henson, is fun to watch.
This film, coupled with Peter Jackson's Dead Alive (1992) makes me wonder where the director would be if he had stayed on the path of grotesque horror and gallows humor. Give the man a humungous budget, award winning actors and the top technical talents of Hollywood, and he'll give you a triptych of timeless classics. Give him just $750,000 a hand-held camera and some felt and he'll give you a memorable marionette experience that won't be equaled until Team America: World Police (2004). One thing's for certain if he had stayed on the path we wouldn't have had to endure The Frighteners (1996).
The script written by Jackson and three other New Zealanders is fresh and funny giving the audience everything from silly muppet-like puns to ribald musical numbers including "Sodomy" sung by Sebastian the Fox (Stuart Devenie). Much of the gross out humor is provided by a character simply known as The Fly (Brian Sergent) who buzzes around for tabloid gossip and develops his photos in a toilet.
The rest of the film is filled to the brim with knife throwing, machine gun toting; cocaine sniffing mayhem intermingled with rabbit-HIV and sadomasochism for good measure. I'd recommend this film to anyone with a warped sense of humor over a certain age. Those who were endeared by Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear and Gonzo the whatever, should probably avoid Meet the Feebles. Not because of its cynical treatment of hand puppets might ruin fond memories but because those same fond memories might be replaced by rude hilarity that ensues in Peter Jackson's 8th best film.
What a bizarre flick this is. Borderline porn, reversely different from Jackson's Bad Taste, this almost seems appropriate, one factor I loved about this. Set around this t.v. show where some of the puppets are really bad and devious sorts, most of the characters in Showgirls should get together with them. Everything and anything shocking comes up in this, including gore, some puppet porn, plus a fly feeding on faecies. Certainly something different, this PJ flick only had a couple of special screenings back in 91 at the Academy, and really I guess it deserved more. Definitely an improvement on his horrible but undeniably lovable dreck, Bad Taste, this captivates the viewer by how far these puppets go. Like Ted, the puppets here were well manned, some of them actually cute and likable like Robert the slightly stuttering hedge hog, and his bitch on heat, this white female poodle, Lucille, oblivious to the fact, she's about to become a star in this scuzzy rat's underground sex flick. Heidi the hippo, the star of our show, goes nuts in the end, guns blazing, at the discovery of her husband, Harry the Walrus, having it off with a southern bell speaking floosy. If you liked to be really shocked, deeply humored, or after something different, where the coin could toss both ways, give this one a go. Besides Robert, I really did love Heidi, especially eating out a bakery. I wish Peter Jackson still made these offbeat kind of films.
After his bad taste début, er, Bad Taste (1987), the young Peter
Jackson made the decision to take his filth-laden sense of humour to a
new level and direct Meet the Feebles, the kind of film you would
expect Jim Henson to make if his life had gone in an entirely different
direction and had formed a psychedelic drug habit. He still had little
budget to work with, as well as the (understandable) concerns from his
funders, but this was the first time he would work with his future wife
Fran Walsh, who would work with him on every film after this. Maybe it
is her influence that makes Feebles a noticeable step up from his
début, or maybe it's not, but the film works thanks to a director
seemingly more comfortable in his role, but still renegade enough to
inject his guerilla sensibilities into it.
The basic 'plot' revolves around The Feebles variety show, of which the main attraction is singer Heidi the Hippo (voiced by Mark Hadlow, Dori in The Hobbit (2012)), a former big star who has formed an uncontrollable attraction to cakes. Amongst the various characters is newcomer Robert, a softly-spoken and naive hedgehog who goes to great lengths to attract a seductive poodle he has fallen for. It is mainly through his eyes that we witness the mayhem of the show, which is ran by Bletch the Walrus (Peter Vere-Jones). Bletch is involved with Heidi, but is secretly having sex with a slutty feline, and is always making money on the side through Trevor the Rat's (Brian Sergent) pornography films. The show comes under threat when sex-addicted Harry the Rabbit contracts an STD and is given a few hours to live, but is busted by the Fly, a pesky journalist.
What Meet the Feebles lacks in taste and any sense of actual purpose, it makes up for in sheer invention and entertainment. It moves along furiously, never stopping to consider something as unnecessary as plot, drifting from one scene of complete debauchery to the next. If you would be offended by the sight of animal ejaculating through his elongated snout onto the the pierced udders of a dominatrix cow, then I would recommending passing on this one. The humour is almost akin to that of South Park, but doesn't bogged down with satire or observational gags, and instead seems to seek to disgust. It is juvenile, certainly, but it's undeniably funny, and is simply too twisted and disturbing to go about unnoticed. It is the anti-Muppets, representing depravity where Henson's creations were driven by naive optimism (although the puppets here are quite wonderfully designed).
After the proceeding Braindead (1992), which employed a lawnmower as the answer to a house overrun by horny zombies, Jackson seemed to grow up and film the astonishingly dream-like Beautiful Creatures (1994). It is simply mind-boggling how the director of this, a film that has a contortionist get his head stuck up his own a**e, would go on to be the biggest director in Hollywood and create one of the finest achievements of modern mainstream film-making, The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003). Although he never won any Oscars for them, there is plenty to enjoy in early Jackson. You could even say that some of the hideous creations in Feebles were a pretext to some of the monsters seen in Rings and The Hobbit. Although I don't remember seeing Gollum eating s**t out of a toilet with a spoon.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While it's nice to see the great mainstream success that filmmaker Peter Jackson has achieved, there are those such as this viewer that really would like to see him return to his roots in outrageous, over the top low budget class-sicks such as "Dead Alive", "Bad Taste", and this memorable bit of cinematic insanity, which takes Muppet like puppet characters straight into hard R territory. These characters are cast and crew of a variety show with more than its fair share of behind the scenes tumult. The star hippo is completely stressed out, the frog knife thrower (a Vietnam veteran) is a hopeless drug addict, and the rabbit MC believes himself to be dying of a venereal disease. In this wonderfully warped vision that co-writer / co-producer / director Jackson creates, puppets have sex, defecate, swear, vomit, and gruesomely slaughter each other. Yup, this is far from being appropriate for kids, but that's the whole point, and one is compelled to keep watching this deliciously dark comedy just to see what nastiness Jackson and company will come up with next. First rate puppeteering, truly fun puppet design, enthusiastic vocal performances, and genuinely catchy songs are part of the package in this priceless puppet perversion. The characters are entertaining, too, whether they're endearing (such as well intentioned nice guy Wobert the Hedgehog) or just plain despicable (Trevor the Rat, who indeed is every bit the walking and talking vermin). The movie is a marvel in terms of art direction and spectacle. One of the gut busting highlights has the flustered, in-over-his-head director fox staging his own production number where he pays tribute to sodomy. Jackson just dives headfirst into the mayhem, leaving all of the credits for the end, and does a fun job of skewering show business in general, with the appropriate casting of a fly as a stereotypically sleazy journalist set on exposing the hapless rabbit's secret. And the jokes keep coming when we get an update on the surviving characters before the end credits begin. If the prospective viewer really enjoyed "Dead Alive" and "Bad Taste", they should find this adequately amusing as well. Eight out of 10.
I remember at the ripe young age of six watching this film on thanksgiving with my two sisters, grandmother, aunt, mother and father, and ol' uncle Charlie, who brought it in from the mom & pop VHS rental store just down the street. we sat in a crowded living room and watched peter Jackson's family masterpiece illuminate the room on a 24 inch television set. everyone laughed, everyone cried, and at the end, we all hugged and parted ways, feeling bonded closer together. I grew up with this film always in my memory, flickers of soothing sounds of grandpa terry chuckling while his big belly shakes like a warm pot of jello, as a fox discusses the joy of his favorite activities with a crowd of hundreds in a musical sensation. I remember my sister Janet weeping during the breathtaking war scene, and i remember the hippo, oh how i remember the hippo. that was years ago, but i just recently got the exact VHS from my uncle for Christmas 2 years ago, and as if it were my own passing of the torch we both sat and watched it in my living room, as my wife and children played outside in the ever encompassing snow. now I show it every year to my children and friends during the holiday season. This film is not only art, its a journey, for young and old, and through this journey we are all connected. Go out and rent this immediately for your whole family to enjoy. 11/10.
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