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Learning to write screenplays in my spare time; premium member of Raindance Film Festival/School (for whom I mange their web server having brought it over to my employers).
Interviewed Jane Goldman on adapting Neil Gaiman's Stardust for The Friends of English Magic.
The Muppets (2011)
Attack of the clones: It's the Muppets without The Muppets
A terrible film.
What set out to be a loving tribute to the original Henson Muppets has resulted in one of the worst kind of tributes imaginable: a highly sanatised Disney version in which little of the underlying adult humour and improvisation that made The Muppets what they were.
Why subtitle Camilla and the Swedish Chef?
While there are practical Muppet effects, there are still considerable VFX enhancements (arm rod removal, puppeteer removal, etc) - something that Jim Henson would have never had sanctioned - he believed in doing everything as practical as possible. Like a theatre performance. Yet he was a great advocate of technology - of which can be seen through the work of the Creature Shop in both animatronics and CG real-time performance. Some of the smallest things that made The Muppets, like the arm rods, the occasional glimpse of a puppeteer trying to hide of shot - were all part of the charm.
The fact that Frank Oz was unhappy enough not to work with Disney and the team, and that Steve Whitmere was threatening to have his name taken off the credits over potential plot issues, and that Kevin Clash didn't want to participate and that the CTW refused to license Elmo to Disney, speaks volumes about how Disney is treating The Muppets in the modern era.
Henson themselves have little involvement - the puppets are made by a third party company - the Muppet Man is a creation of another third party FX shop - the VFX folk have no connection with Henson. But the Muppet costumes are bizarrely enough fabricated by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
It's a nice try, but neither Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller - who have generally up to this point been involved in somewhat formulaic Hollywood comedies - are no Jerry Juhls, Jack Burns, Frank Ozes or Jim Hensons. The writers that gave us The Muppets that we used to know.
That said - the current generation kids will probably love this movie, the older generation may think they love it, but when you sit down and watch the original Muppet Show and Muppet movies - you'll see there is a very big difference in style, structure and technique.
The Muppets are dead. Long live The Muppets.