Gonzo is contacted by his alien family through his breakfast cereal. But when the men in black kidnap him, it's up to Kermit and the gang to rescue Gonzo and help him reunite with his long-lost family.
While living the quiet life in a swamp, Kermit the Frog is approached by a Hollywood agent to audition for the chance of a lifetime. So Kermit takes this chance for his big break as he makes the journey to Hollywood. Along the way, Kermit comes across several quirky new friends including comedic Fozzie Bear, beautiful but feisty Miss Piggy, and the Great Gonzo. But Kermit must also watch out for ruthless Doc Hopper, who plans to use him as his spokesman for his frog legs food chain.Written by
The illusion of Fozzie driving the Studebaker was achieved by having a little person drive the car via remote control from the trunk, using a television monitor to guide his steering. The puppeteers would lie on the seat or floor and not see a thing. The first time they tested it, the television monitor went on the blink, and the driver had to be talked through the scene by an assistant director on a walkie-talkie ("A little to the right, now, to the left...hold it..."). See more »
Just as Gonzo sails away with the balloons, he flies over the line of bunting banners twice. See more »
I'm Waldorf. We're here to heckle "The Muppet Movie".
Gentlemen, that's straight ahead. Private screening room D.
Yeah, they're afraid to show it in public.
[they laugh as their car proceeds forward]
See more »
Over first few credits, Sweetums bursts out of the screen, followed by many Muppet gags See more »
The longer 97 minute version, as originally released in theaters (in the UK at least) and released on video in the UK in the 80s, contains the following extended scenes:
Extended shots of Kermit entering the El Sleezo Cafe where Fozzie is performing, after the James Coburn cameo.
More of Fozzie being heckled in the bar. He honks a horn which falls apart, then says, "This is not my night."
Extra shots as Doc Hopper and Max watch Fozzie and Kermit dance at the El Sleezo. A little bit more dancing and more of the crowd manhandling Kermit and Fozzie.
An extended commercial for Doc Hopper's Frog Legs. More of Doc Hopper asking Kermit to be his spokesman.
Extra Fozzie in "Moving Right Along." "A bear in his natural habitat - a Studebaker."
Even more Doc Hopper trying to convince Kermit. "Shut up, Max!"
In the church, an extended recap of the entire movie by Dr. Teeth - we see shots from previous scenes. It's not clear if this was actually in the version which screened in theaters, or if it was added for the video version, as the laserdisc version seems to have been edited on video.
Doc Hopper and Max chase Kermit and Fozzie. Max asks what his cut of a million is. A whole extra car chase scene of Max trying to catch up to Fozzie and Kermit, and failing.
An alternate musical arrangement of "Never Before, Never Again".
Greatly extended version of Rowlf and Kermit dueting on "I Hope That Something Better Comes Along," with about two or three more verses. "A laddie needs a lassie." "Come Father's Day, the litterbug's gonna get ya."
Extra shot of Giant Animal laughing at the bad guys (possibly deleted because Animal's fingers were thought to look unconvincing - just a guess from me).
A lot more explosion and set destruction footage when Crazy Harry blows up the set at the end, before "Life's Like a Movie." Seems like padding really. It's set to circus-y music.
Extended and alternate ending in the movie theater - Sweetums says "I just knew I'd catch up with you guys." All Muppets talk and say funny things over ending credits. Robin says Kermit is a great actor. Fozzie repeatedly asks if he was funny in the movie, but no one will tell him that except Kermit. Muppets are in character for the entire credits. Music is also different in this section.
An inspired combination of slapstick, music, vaudeville and charm, The Muppet Movie takes all the now familiar characters away from the Muppet Theatre where humans were the minority, and plonks them right among the (almost) real world.
We meet Kermit alone in his swamp singing beautifully to himself, and after a chance meeting with the frog, a crocodile and a movie agent – yes it's that kind of film – Kermit is inspired to try to forge his own path in showbusiness.
Along his journey to Hollywood he meets aspiring stand up comedian Fozzie, amateur stunt man Gonzo and a group of zany musos known as The Electric Mayhem. He also finds that romantic sparks fly when he meets a diva pig with delusions of grandeur.
That's the core part of the initial Muppet group identified, the slightly awry element arrives in the form of a fat, sweaty guy in a white suit named Doc Hopper, who just happens to sell frog's legs as cuisine. He takes a shine to Kermit's pins and decides that he simply must have them to promote his wares, whether Kermit agrees or not.
The remainder of the film is essentially an extended chase sequence as Kermit and the gang hightail it towards Hollywood with Doc Hopper and his toadying (no pun intended) assistant close behind.
And this to me is the problem with the initial Muppet Movie, the best parts are the simple times, Kermit sitting on the log singing Rainbow Connection without a care in the world, the awkward but undeniable chemistry between pig and frog, the stoner-ish hep dialogue between the members of the Electric Mayhem, the stand-up bear who is terrible at stand up.
They kinda lost me when the film veered into 'eating the primary character's legs' territory. They definitely lost my four year old in the looming torture scene, and nearly killed the poor boy when the Frog assassin clad all in black and looking decidedly evil showed up. (I really didn't remember these things from my previous viewings.) Despite these depressing and out of place sequences there is still a lot to love about the first Muppet Movie, the constant breaking of the fourth wall is already obvious, the general funkiness of the Electric Mayhem and the timelessness of Kermit's tunes, the cheesy jokes that are so bad that you can't help but smile – especially when delivered with such innocence and charm by a handpuppet the inclusion of several big name cameos, none of whom for a moment let on that they are conversing with a sock, yet some of whom still manage to out-ham the very same talking puppets.
The Muppet Movie finds a bunch of frogs, pigs, bears and whatevers coming to terms with their own existence, growing into their own skin and fur. Over the years some peripheral characters became more central, and others stepped back to spout occasional quips when required.
Most of all this film showed that there was entertainment value to be found in these talking socks, and that people of all ages could enjoy their shenanigans guilt free.
Final Rating – 7 / 10. 'Mature thematic elements' aside, this is a fine intro to the Muppetational world.
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