MOVIE REVIEWS: Muppets Most Wanted (James Bobin, 2014)

Muppets Most Wanted

Alright, here is what I believe to be my last film review for a while. After the release of The Muppets the entire world became mad for the Muppets! Because of this, the Muppets continued doing more things. They were featured in a number of productions, appearing in online videos and music videos. One of those videos includes the incredible CeeLo Green Christmas video, All I Need is Love (Marc Klasfeld, 2012). IT WAS AWESOME! The Fraggles even appeared in a Ben Folds music video, Do It Anyway (Phil Hodges, 2012). IT WAS AWESOME! The Muppets also made a Christmas TV special with Lady Gaga, Lady Gaga and the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular (Gregg Gelfand, 2013). It…was not anything spectacular (although, I do love the scene where Piggy sings “Santa Baby”). The Muppets also appeared in commercials advertising Lipton Tea, Subway, and Toyota. (Watch the commercial they made with Terry Crews – it is too wonderful!) With all of this success, it made sense not only to have the Muppets appear in mainstream media more, but to also make more productions focused on them. What does that mean? MORE MOVIES!!! Enter Muppets Most Wanted (James Bobin, 2014)!!! Made by almost all the people who made the last movie (director, writers, producers, composer, song writer, etc.) and released almost 35 years after The Muppet Movie, this is a direct sequel to the last Muppet movie. This is a very unique kind of Muppet movie for that exact reason. Muppet movies have never been connected to one another, which was one of the fun things about them. They could do whatever they wanted. Here, there is a connection to the last movie they made. That’s not a bad thing, though. In fact, there aren’t that many connections to the last movie. The filmmakers could have reworked this and made it another stand alone Muppet movie. But the connections are clever enough that they actually do work for the movie. But let’s stop wasting time and just get into the review.

STORY AND THEMES & MESSAGES: As a lot of people have already stated, the story of this film is very clever and funny. A Russian Kermit look-alike named Constantine is the world’s number criminal, most dangerous frog, and an expert with explosives. He escapes a Russian gulag in order to pull off the greatest criminal stunt in the world: stealing the Crown Jewels of England. In order to do this, his right-hand man, Dominic Badguy (played by Ricky Gervais), convinces the Muppets to go on a world tour (which isn’t really much of a WORLD tour, seeing as how the only continent they travel is Europe). Dominic and Constantine sets Kermit up to be taken away to the gulag in Constantine’s place, and the two criminals are now controlling the tour. They perform in the cities that will get them closer to Crown Jewels. However, they’re being followed by Sam the Eagle and French investigator Jean Pierre Napoleon (played by Ty Burrell) because they believe the Muppets have something to do with the robberies all over the country. While this is happening, Kermit is being held in prison against his will by Russian prison guard Nadya (played by Tina Fey).
This is a really clever idea! I love that there are, in a sense, 2 Kermits who are absolutely nothing like each other! We’ll address that more when we talk about the comedy, but watching Constantine trying to convince everyone around him that he’s Kermit is more than entertaining. It’s much more believable then Kermit and Fozzie being twins for no reason!
I do agree that maybe there’s a little too much focus on the villains’ plan. On one hand, I do like Constantine! I love it anytime he’s on the screen, and I’ll take as much as I can get! However, if we are supposed to be rooting for our main heroes then we should have more time with them. I think that all the time we spent with Constantine and Dominic could have been given to the others. Let’s see more of Piggy’s feelings about what’s going on. How conflicted is Walter? How distressed is Kermit? It’s hard to say what exactly will do the trick to fix this because I do know all of these characters, I know what their intentions are, and I know how they feel. All I’m saying is that we don’t spend as much time with our heroes as we do with our antagonists, thus it makes it tricky to entirely feel the weight of what they’re going through and truly sympathize and root for them.
I hear that there’s a lot of stereotyping in this film. I don’t know a lot about European stereotypes, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t see that in some places. Why the crud are there leprechauns in the theater in Ireland? How come Napoleon takes frequent long breaks and vacations? How come all of his possessions are so small? I am strongly against stereotyping, but…this didn’t bother me at all…Well, the leprechauns kind of bothered me, but I was fine with everything else. Nothing else was really offensive to me. Most of the time, I see stereotypes in films as offensive because the jokes were too mean-spirited. Maybe those filmmakers actually thought people in a certain demographic behave a certain way or talk a certain way. Perhaps the filmmakers are probably just exploiting the mess out of those stereotypes to cause audiences to have a specific perspective on different people and cultures. It could be that filmmakers are just trying to make a lazy and easy joke so that they don’t have to try and work as hard. But I didn’t get any of that here. I felt these jokes were lighthearted and innocent enough that everyone could laugh at them, even people in Europe. It’s like a person who teases everyone, including him or herself, but in good spirits. The jokes never become too mean, and thus everyone is able to have a good laugh. That being said, I’m not going to say that you shouldn’t be offended by any of these stereotypes. If something offended you in this film, you have every right to be offended – no one can stop you from feeling a certain way. Just know that there are much harsher ways to make these kinds of jokes; especially coming from Disney, this could have been a lot worse!
The major theme in this movie is sort of one of the themes from the last Muppet movie. Remember when Kermit told Piggy, “I need you?” Well, in this film, the rest of the Muppets realize that they need Kermit. They want Kermit in their lives. That may seem like a simple message, especially for adults, but I really like it. I like the idea that we need interaction and a close bond with other people. One of the most important things in life isn’t that we can do whatever we want – it’s the people that help make living worth wild. After the Muppets got everything they wanted but were beginning to lose some of the most important people around them – Fozzie, Animal, Walter, and Kermit – they realized they didn’t need those wild and crazy luxuries anymore. They wanted their friends, the special people in their lives. I think that’s an important message for people, especially in this day in age. I know folks have gone on and on about it, but some many people are closed off from reality and from people thanks to the increase in popularity of technology and the internet. Rather than investing in a relationship with other human beings, a lot of people spend much more time investing in internet videos, blog pages, cell phones, iPads, and the works. I think this is an important message for them, and a good reminder for the rest of us.

HUMAN STARS, NEW MUPPETS, & CAMEOS: I must say that I think this film probably has the best cast of live-action human stars out of all the other Muppet movies! None of these people are dull, forgettable, or boring! Let’s talk about them!
1) Dominic Badguy – What really makes Dominic work in this movie is Ricky Gervais’ ability to interact with all of the Muppets like they’re actual people! He never treats them like they’re just puppets. He’s never winking to the camera. He’s not like an adult talking down to a child. He is a well-functioning being talking to another well-functioning being. It’s so genuine and honest, you almost forget that the Muppets are puppets yourself. Gervais also dedicates so much passion and energy into this film. He totally gets sucked into the story and into his character. I don’t see Ricky Gervais, I see an intelligent criminal who works under a frog. He’s funny, he’s honest, he’s the bad guy, Dominic Badguy!
Muppets Most Wanted - Dominic Badguy
2) Jean Pierre Napoleon – This guy is hilarious! A lot of that is, obviously, due to the fact that it’s Ty Burrell in the role! Another reason he works so well is because he’s sized up so perfectly with Same the Eagle! Sam is so stereotypically American while Jean is so stereotypically French! It’s so funny! His accent is funny, his dialogue is funny, his actions are funny. He’s so close to being a live-action Muppet himself, in fact! That’s really the best way I can describe this character, he is almost a live-action Muppet! If you mix Ty Burrell’s Jean Pierre Napoleon with Tim Curry’s Long John Silver from Muppet Treasure Island, you’d either have the perfect or too much of a live-action Muppet on your hands! I love Jean!
3) Nadya – Nadya is also a lot of fun! She’s more reserved than the other two live-action human stars. For the most part, she’s calm, rational, and sane. What I like about this character is that she’s not always over-the-top. She definitely has moments when she is, but she’s very reserved throughout much of the film. However, when she does go over-the-top, she is really funny. I love her trying to sing along with the inmates during the auditions for the review show. I love her affection for Kermit. I love her throwing up her arms in the air as she looks straight up and shouts “Kermit!” All of that is so funny and so good! It shows the different sides of her character, and it’s more than entertaining. Of course, Tina Fey is a great comedic actress already, so what did you expect?
4) Prison King, Danny Trejo, and Big Papa – Jemaine Clement, Danny Trejo, and Ray Liotta star in this movie as Gulag 38B inmates! I know a lot of people consider these actors cameo stars in the film, but they’re in the film so much that I have to consider them cast members. Their characters are very funny, but what makes them even funnier is if you know the actors themselves. Danny Trejo, Machete! – is singing and dancing in this number! Ray Liotta was trying to take out Denzel Washington in John Q (Nick Cassavetes, 2002), and now he’s auditioning for Kermit the Frog! Jemaine Clement…OK, I don’t know who he is; but that’s OK because his character is still funny. Anything with these guys and the other Gulag 38B inmates is fantastic! I love them all so much!
Muppets Most Wanted - Prison King, Danny Trejo, Big Papa

Alright, let’s get to the new Muppet introduced in this film, Constantine! I FRICKIN’ LOVE CONSTANTINE!!! He is amazing! He is one of the funniest Muppets created since Jim Henson’s days! Most of my favorite moments in the film include him! I love how diabolical and smart he is! I love it when he sings! I love all of the funny things he says and does! I know I said one of the problems with the story is that it doesn’t focus on the heroes as much as the villain, but Constantine is so likeable and entertaining that I don’t regret spending all of that time with him! He’s wonderful! Since the Muppets are making more productions and they’re releasing a new TV show next month, I hope that means I get to see a lot more of this guy!
Muppets Most Wanted - Constantine

Like the last film, there are a slew of cameo guest stars in this movie; it’s a “who’s who” game with the audience! Zach Galifianakis is back to reprise his role as Hobo Joe. We’ve also got Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Hugh Bonneville and Tom Hollander, Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Rob Corddry, Salma Hayek, Tom Hiddleston, Frank Langella, Bridgit Mendler, Debby Ryan, Ross Lynch, James McAvoy, Chloe Grace Moretz, Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl, Usher Raymond, Miranda Richardson, Saoirse Ronan, Til Schweiger, Russell Tovey, and Christoph Waltz. In deleted scenes, or the extended version on the Blu-ray, you can see Tyrel Jackson Williams, Debby Ryan, Peter Serafinowicz, Dexter Flecther, and Jake Short. Again, I don’t know much about any of these stars, so my favorite will depend solely on their role in the film. I love Josh Groban’s reveal at the end of the movie – I love how he spent the entire film locked in a sweatbox! I love Celine Dion’s appearance as Piggy’s fairy godmother! The two of them singing this silly song together is amazing! must say, though, I think my favorite cameo is Stanley Tucci as Ivan. I ADORE that joke centered around his appearance! It is so hilarious, and I always look forward to that moment whenever I watch this movie!
Muppets Most Wanted - Stanley Tucci

SONGS/MUSIC: Christophe Beck and Bret McKenzie are back to bring us some more great music! The score can be whimsical, dramatic, and soothing. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from Beck’s score, though! McKenzie goes all out to bring us some more amazing songs that add to the hilarity of the film! I need to say now that these songs will be judged solely on how entertaining they are. With a movie like this, it’s hard and pointless to say whether or not they continue the story or give us character development. They can, but these songs are here merely to entertain us. With that said, let’s take a look at these songs!
1) We’re Doing a Sequel: This is a great opening to a Muppet movie! It reminds me a lot of “Hey A Movie!” from The Great Muppet Caper. The song basically allows us to sit back and have a great time. The melody is so fun and memorable; I can’t help but dance every time I hear it! I love all of the jokes and references in this number. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew even mentions that “this is the seventh sequel to [their] original motion picture” – that is both true and funny! It’s enjoyable, it’s memorable, it’s funny, and it’s a grand opening! I love this song

(This is the best version I could get.)
2) I’m Number One: This is another enjoyable number. Again, the tune is fun, memorable, and danceable. As I mentioned already, I love Constantine, so the thought of him singing is incredible to me! He shows that he’s not just diabolical, but he is also a talented entertainer. He can dance, he can sing; maybe if he wasn’t being a criminal master mind, he could have created his own touring concert. I actually do feel sorry for Dominic during this number. He has to answer to a frog! Man, what is his life anymore? I must thank this song, though, for giving me the awesome phrase, “Dance, monkey, dance!” That is so hilarious! Just walk up to your friends and family and say, “Dance, monkey, dance!” It’s hilarious!

3) The Big House: This song isn’t as memorable as most of the others, but it’s still entertaining enough. We have a singing Russian Tina Fey – how cool is that? This is an interesting choice of style for the song. Why did McKenzie choose to go this route? I don’t know, but it makes it fun. This song does remind me a little but of the “Happiness Hotel” number from the Great Caper film…Huh. I knew the filmmakers were inspired by that film, but I didn’t know they’d try to redo EVERYTHING. Well, anyway, this song is pretty enjoyable. It’s a toe-tapper, it’s funny, and it makes me want to be sent to a Russian gulag as well. So long as Tina Fey is the warden and Clement, Trejo, and Liotta are my backup singers and dancers, I’m good!

(This is the best version I could get.)
4) I’ll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu): This song is…strange. Don’t get me wrong – it’s funny, entertaining, and memorable like the other songs, too. But…it’s so weird. In this scene, Constantine, posing as Kermit, goes to talk Piggy and tells her that he can give her whatever she wants. He then spins around, is wearing a 1970’s disco suit, and…starts this song. It just comes the butt out of nowhere and has almost nothing to do with anything. But it’s so funny! A fan is blowing on Constantine, he wipes vasoline on the camera lens, he gives Piggy a thingy-thing…OK…It’s so odd…but so funny! It’s not my favorite song in the film, but it’s still an entertaining number!

5) Interrogation Song: When I first heard this number, I immediately fell in love with it! This is one of the best songs in the film! True, there’s no real melody for the characters to sing, but we don’t need one here. Ty Burrell and the Muppets do a great job speaking rhymes in rhythm. It’s hard to say what exactly makes this song work. Maybe it’s seeing how each Muppet respond to the accusations in character. Maybe it’s Sam the Eagle and Burrell’s character accusing the Muppets. Perhaps it’s just watching the two of them acting off of each other. It could be seeing Burrell in a musical number. Possibly it’s the music that accompanies the song. Maybe it’s all of those elements. I don’t know, but this song is great! I look forward to hearing it anytime the movie is on!

6) Something So Right: YEEEESSSSSSS!!!!! I LOVE this song! THIS is my favorite song in the movie! It sounds so sweet and soulful! This does sound like an R&B duet, and it’s so fantastic! I love the incredible lead vocals of Piggy and Celine Dion! I love it when the other Muppets join in and sing as well! Their voices – particularly Dr. Teeth, Floyd, and Rowlf – really contribute to the style of the song. I love that this musical number is shot like a music video; it’s so much fun! Why wasn’t this song nominated for an Oscar? If “Man or Muppet” was nominated and won, why couldn’t this song? I don’t know, but it ticks me off! This song is wonderful, and it always makes me smile!

7) Together Again: I wanted to address this song because it is an original Muppet song. You may remember that this song, written by the late and the great Jeff Moss, was first played in The Muppets Take Manhattan in 1984. It’s always nice to hear a classic Muppet song in a new Muppet film. It’s done really well here. We hear all the Muppets singing this number, and we see all the cameo stars singing it as well. I guess it makes sense to have this song in the film, seeing as how Kermit was apart from the Muppets for much of the movie and now they’re all together again. But do you remember when it Bobo and Uncle Deadly sung this song a bit and Walter played it on the piano in the last film? Hmm…Disney is really trying to get this song that Sony owns, aren’t they…Sony does own the rights to the song, right, seeing as how they own the rights to the film? I don’t know. Anyway, it’s a joy to hear it at the end of this film. It’s great and nostalgic!

PUPPETRY: In this section, I’ll be addressing all of the special effects. Let’s start with the traditional art of puppetry. These films keep trying to improve what they can do with these characters more and more. We constantly see a lot of head to toe on these characters. This film might contain the most number of full-bodied Muppet scenes out of all the other movies…Maybe. We even see a full Kermit walking on a table during the “Big House” number! It looked so real and natural, like he was walking effortlessly! Whenever we get any head to toe on a character, it looks natural! It doesn’t look like a radio controlled Muppet or anything like that. The characters just move naturally, like they are really alive! That’s no easy feat, and I think it’s pretty awesome! One of the main feats that impressed me was Constantine’s thumb. Throughout the film he’s always pressing a detonator, and his thumb really moves on it! Even during the scene where he’s watching a tape of Kermit, his thumb is pressing down on the remote! How did they do that?!? That is so cool! I’ll also say that Matt Vogel did a great job making Constantine look different than Kermit. Of course Constantine was built to look angrier and a bit different from Kermit, but Vogel added a lot of weight to his walk and movements as well. Whereas Kermit’s walk is much lighter and smoother, Constantine is heavier, almost as if he’s stomping to get to where he has to go. I also love his facial expressions. Constantine sort of has a permanent frown on his face. Even when he’s smiling, laughing, or just talking to someone, you can still see that frown that never leaves. It’s kind of funny!
The blue screen effect does not work to the film’s advantage. I’m always aware when the characters are standing in front of it because nothing in the background looks natural. The main place this becomes obvious is near the end of the film when all of the action takes place on the roof of the Tower of London. Nothing in the background looks real. On one hand, I guess it made sense to shoot that scene in front of blue screen since the Muppets had to stand on top of each other. But…couldn’t they have just worn blue suits? A scene that long shouldn’t be shot in blue screen because we not only recognize the effect, but it’s also distracting from everything else going on.
Finally, I’m not a fan of the CG used in this film. Maybe I’d feel better about it if it looked better, but it doesn’t look great. It’s pretty bad. I can tell whenever someone is being transposed into CG, and, again, it’s really distracting. I remember Constantine fighting off the guards as he escaped the gulag, Constantine hoping around during “I’m Number One,” and all the Muppets and cameos stuck on the wall singing “Together Again.” It looks unnatural, and it takes me out of the moment. I will say this, though: I respect the fact that they combined the techniques of puppetry and CG instead of just using CG. I can still tell that Constantine is always being performed by a puppeteer, not computer animated. The reason for this is because James Bobin said that one of the great things about the Muppets is that they are really there. They’re real – you can touch them. Too many films today use CGI to animate the main characters, and that’s always distracting because we all know they aren’t there. But Bobin insisted on having the Muppet performers controlling the characters so that we could still feel our characters are there. On the one hand…those CG moments are distracting because I can obviously tell that the characters are composited to CG. On the other hand, though, I’m glad that he’s preserving the relationship we have with the Muppets by keeping them in the film and not replacing them with CG. And who’s to say why they used CG in the spots that they did? Perhaps it was absolutely necessary – I don’t know. I can say, though, that I think Bobin has a great respect and understanding of Jim Henson’s Muppets. Whenever they make their next film, I hope he gets called to direct it again!
Muppets Most Wanted - Puppetry

COMEDY: When I heard a lot of people comparing this film to The Great Muppet Caper, I got really excited! As you may know from my other reviews and my Top 10 Favorite Muppet Productions list, that film is not only my favorite Muppet movie, but one of my favorite comedies ever! You can imagine that I was expecting a lot of great jokes and constant breaking of the fourth wall. And…I sort of got that. The film doesn’t break the fourth wall nearly as much here as the Great Caper did, and that’s where a lot of the comedy was. A lot of the comedy in the last film came from breaking the fourth wall as well! Whenever the Muppets do break the fourth wall, in this movie it’s really funny! In fact, my favorite joke in the film takes place when they address Walter joining the Muppets in their last movie! I wish they could have done it more, but that’s just what I wanted to see. Let’s dive deeper into the comedy that’s actually here.
A lot of the jokes come from references to other films. They parody movies like The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994), The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991), The Spy Who Loved Me (Lewis Gilbert, 1977), Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962), and others. These are some great classics and old capers for the film to satirize. The problem with that is these moments won’t be funny to people who haven’t seen these films. I haven’t seen any of these movies, so I couldn’t supply a laugh for these jokes. The Great Muppet Caper satirized some films as well, from what I’m told. But the comedy didn’t come from whether or not you understood any of those references. I don’t know a single movie that film parodied, and it’s still funny! That’s because the comedy came from the situations and the characters. If you took away the references, the film can still stand up on its own! Here, a lot of the jokes come from movie references, so they can be hit-and-miss with the audience.
That being said, however, the other jokes are really funny! A lot of that comes from the characters and the songs. As I said before, the human cast for this movie is unbelievable! I love them all, none of them are dull, and they invest so much into this film! All of the songs are funny and more than entertaining! The Muppets deliver, as they always do! I love every scene with Constantine! They make me laugh, and they make me laugh hard! At the end of his first scene, he emerges out of a swampy lake and says “It’s time to light the lights.” THAT IS SO AMAZING!!! The way he says it, the fact that he’s referencing The Muppet Show theme song, his accent – IT’S TOO GREAT! I also love what he says to Fozzie once he and Walter figured out his plan; he says “You have wockaed your last wocka, bear.” I CAN’T EVEN SPEAK ON HOW FUNNY THAT IS!!!…Huh. That’s the second “Wocka” joke a Muppet movie gave us…I can’t think of a joke that doesn’t work in this film. I know I haven’t seen the films they’re satirizing, but other people have. In fact, now that I know they were satirizing something, I can give a bit more of a laugh than I gave before. In my opinion, their best jokes are the fourth wall jokes, Constantine trying to impersonate Kermit, and any references to other Muppet productions.
I’ll end with this: if you haven’t seen the Extended Version of the film on Blu-Ray, get it! Not only does it answer some questions, but it also provides a lot more hilarious jokes! One involves the Muppets literally breaking the fourth wall. It’s so corny…but so funny! I love my DVD copy, but after picking up the Blu-Ray version from the library, I can definitely recommend that!
Muppets Most Wanted - Comedy

CONCLUSION: I really love this movie! Sure I could have used some more comedy, and I’m not crazy about the special effects they used. But I love everything else about it! The comedy we did get was really funny! The puppetry doesn’t disappoint at all! The songs are overwhelmingly fun (and should have been nominated for an Oscar)! The characters – Muppets and live-action humans – are absolutely entertaining and enjoyable! The story is engaging and creative! I wish this had been a bigger commercial success than it was, but let’s not act like it was a failure or a disappointment. Critics still enjoyed this film. Audiences enjoyed this film. It did make some money in the box office. It may not have lived up to the greatness of The Muppets, but I don’t think it was supposed to. For as great and wonderful as that film was, let’s not forget that it was the Muppets’ comeback, their revival. You can’t have a grand comeback twice within three years! This film just wanted to be a fun and loving Muppet film, and that’s exactly what it is! I love this film, and it now fits somewhere on my Top 10 Favorite Muppet Productions list…I don’t know, maybe it’s Number 7 or 8 (just don’t tell Constantine I said that). If you haven’t seen it yet, go to the store and buy it! If you’re a fan of the Muppets, you won’t regret it!

Let me end on this final note: I’m really glad I was able to review these film during the 60th anniversary of the Muppets! Yes, the Muppets have been around for 60 years now! Since 1955, they have been entertaining us, and I’m so glad that they are still e You all know about their new show coming out this month, don’t you? On Tuesday, September 22, The Muppets (Bob Kushell and Bill Prady, 2015) will air at 8:00 pm on ABC!!! It’s going to be great! Tune in and watch it – we’re in for a great show!…I’m doing a lot of free advertisement today…It’s the Muppets – I owe them! Thank you all for keeping up with these reviews! I’m sure I’ll post more later, but it’ll be a while. More poems will come out later. God bless you all, I love you, and HAPPY 60TH BIRTHDAY, MUPPETS!!!!!

Muppets Most Wanted - Conclusion

MOVIE REVIEWS: The Muppets (James Bobin, 2011)

The Muppets (2011)

If you read my Top 10 Favorite Muppet Productions list, you know that I was not the least bit excited for this movie when it came out? Why? Because not only were the Muppets breaking up and being sold to different companies, but they also hadn’t been releasing good productions since the end of the ’90s. After The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, the Sesame Street Muppets sold to Sesame Workshop in 2000. Later we had the straight-to-video film Kermit Swamp Years (David Grumpel, 2002). Later that year, we got a TV movie, It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (Kirk R. Thatcher, 2002). In 2004, the Jim Henson Company sold the rights to the Muppets (Kermit, Piggy, and friends – not Fraggle Rock) over to the Walt Disney Company. (I will always rue the Muppets being owned by Disney!) In 2005, the Muppets released another TV movie, The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz (Kirk R. Thatcher, 2005). THIS IS THE WORST THING THE MUPPETS HAVE EVER DONE!!!!! Then there was Elmo’s Christmas Countdown Gary Halvorson, 2007), Studio DC: Almost Live (Kirk R. Thatcher, 2008), and A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa (Kirk R. Thatcher, 2008). All of these productions were mediocre at best. They had nice moments, but as a whole they did not work at all. They were pretty bad. In 2009, the Muppets began producing YouTube videos to reintroduce the Muppets to the younger generation. Their most famous video is their rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It was great, but I still wasn’t looking forward to this new film – I knew it would suck. It seemed as though I was the only one who felt that way, because everyone else was really hyped for this film! Everybody talked about it, all the critics praised it, and the Muppets were welcomed back to the forefront of mainstream. After I finally saw the movie over 7 months after its release, I must say…I fell in love with it as well. This film is AMAZING!!! I LOVE IT!!! This is one of my favorite films EVER!!! It is amazing how incredible and wonderful this movie is! Why do I love it so much? What makes this film so great? Let’s find out!

STORY AND THEMES & MESSAGES: The story is very engaging. One of the Muppets’ biggest fan, a young man named Walter, gets the opportunity to go to California with his brother, Gary, and Gary’s girlfriend Mary to see the Muppets Studio. However, he learns that an evil oil magnate, Tex Richman, is planning on tearing down the studio and drill for oil. Walter, Gary, and Mary find Kermit and tell him that the only way to save the studio is to raise $10,000,000. That means Kermit has to round up the gang, who has been broken up for a long time, and put on an old fashion telethon, Muppety style.
The story is good, but it’s very busy and full. There is so much going on in this story. (1) Walter wants to meet the Muppets. (2) Tex Richman has to make sure nothing comes in the way of his oil. (3) Mary wants to spend time with Gary, who is always looking over his brother. (4) Kermit has to round up all of the Muppets, that takes some time; especially when he has to convince Piggy to come back. (5) The Muppets have to convince a network to air their telethon, that’s a big deal. (5) The Muppets have to plan and rehearse their show, which is somewhat of a disaster. (6) Kermit can’t find a celebrity host. (7) The Muppets have to get the money they need to buy the studio back. It’s a lot! There’s is always something going on! It’s not necessarily bad seeing as how everything is so entertaining and they all have closure. However, it is a lot to take in. The earlier Muppet films were simple in their plots, and thus they had a lot of room to breathe. Here, the story is constantly moving.
That being said, however, the story isn’t bad at all. It gives us a lot of insight to our favorite characters. I like seeing what they’re doing when they’re not together. Gonzo owns a plumbing factory, that sounds about right. Piggy is the editor of plus-sized fashion in Paris, that’s perfect for her! Rowlf is relaxing and taking it easy in his home, duh! It all stays true to who these people are.
The entire movie stays true to who the Muppets are. I love that this film belongs to the Muppets. We see Gary and Mary in the beginning to sort of introduce the story, but we are ultimately looking at the Muppets. Unlike The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island, the Muppets don’t share the spotlight here. We are looking at Kermit. We want to see Kermit achieve his goals and learn something. I like watching Gary and Mary too, but the focus is not on them.
I think a lot of people were surprised by the number of emotional scenes in this film. There are a lot of tear-jerking moments in this movie! We’ll get to “Pictures in My Head” later. The nostalgia lies heavy when the Muppets sing “Rainbow Connection.” I read a comment when a lady said all the women and half the men were crying in the theater during this song. The other half of the men broke down when Animal began playing the drums. I always get emotional at the end, when the Muppets walk outside the theater to all of their fans cheering them on. It’s just wonderful to see people love and care for these wonderful characters! They’re so great to me, and I’m glad to see other people declare them as great too. As great as this moment is, though, my favorite moment is when they recreate the opening of The Muppet Show! From the time Scooter knocked on Jack Black’s door to the end of the theme song, I thought I was going to cry. It was so reminiscent of The Muppet Show, and it makes me smile wide! I love it!
I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a few things I didn’t like concerning this story. They’re not big, but they are things I want to address. First of all, some of my favorite Muppets don’t get too much screen time in this picture. Gonzo’s on screen for about 20-25% of the film, and I wanted to see more of him! He’s got a lot more time in front of the camera than Rizzo, however! Rizzo didn’t have any lines in the film! He was in 2 frames of the entire film: he was in the crowd when Kermit gave his speech to the Muppets, and he appeared with one of the groups of Muppets during the finale. ANGER! Unfortunately for me, Pepé does show up in this film. Thankfully he only has 3 lines, but that’s 3 more lines I’d like him to have. But my more serious problem occurs at the end of the movie. After Kermit’s speech, the Muppets are greeted by their fans, and the finale number, the movie says “The End.” But then, what happens? Tex Richman gets hit in the head and gives the Muppets their name and theater back! I’m not necessarily angry that he gave that stuff back to them. They definitely needed their name back if they were going to do more Muppet productions; they refer to their productions all the time. If the “Muppet” name was taken away from them, what would they had been called? I’m just disappointed with how they got their name and theater back. It’s rushed in 10 seconds as the credits are rolling. It’s funny, yes, but it still feels rushed and somewhat lazy, like it was a last minute thing. I just think the filmmakers could have been more clever in making that ending work better.
Since there’s a lot going on in the movie, you can imagine there are a lot of themes and messages too. I love Kermit’s speech toward the end about endurance and being strong is a great message. I love how Gary and Kermit learn not to let the love of their lives slip away from them. I LOVE the scene where Veronica shows the Muppets the type of TV shows that were currently popular, to show how crappy entertainment was. (I hated television in 2011.) My favorite lesson from the movie, though, is the one Walter learns. Gary tells him, “You always believe in other people, but that’s easy. Sooner or later, you’ve got to start believing in yourself; because that’s what growing up is, becoming who you want to be.” This was handled and conveyed with such care and delicacy. I was going through a little situation of my own when I first saw this movie, and that was the thing I needed to hear. I love that line, I love that moral, and I love how it was taught! Well done, movie! Well done!
The Muppets (2011). - Story

HUMAN CHARACTERS, NEW MUPPETS, & CAMEOS: I love this cast! These characters, these actors – they’re all so wonderful! This movie is also unique because it introduces a new Muppet to the franchise! Let’s get into it!
1) Gary – He’s a fun guy. There’s not a whole lot to say about Gary. Like most live-action human stars in Muppet movies, Gary is not the most engaging character. He’s alright, but he’s not that entertaining. I italicize “that” because Gary is funny. He’s not as entertaining as the Muppets, but that’s because it’s not his movie. However, he does have a lot of likeability to him! I love the humor that comes from him. I love his heartfelt moments with Mary and Walter. I like how relatable he is. He’s a good guy!
The Muppets (2011). - Gary
2) Mary – I feel almost the same way about Mary that I feel about Gary. I do find her more entertaining, though. She’s funnier to me. I think that’s because of how Amy Adams is playing her. Mary is kind of a wide-eyed bland woman, but Adams puts a lot of the energy into the comedic moments. I love watching her sing. I love all of the jokes that involves her. They are all too wonderful!
The Muppets (2011). - Mary
3) Tex Richman – This guy is amazing! I love Richman! There isn’t much development to him, and you wouldn’t really understand why he hates the Muppets so much unless you’ve heard the soundtrack. But that’s part of the joke. Richman is an over-the-top bad guy. What is so ironic about this, though, is that Chris Cooper plays him pretty reserved for the most part. It’s not until toward the end of the film that he becomes bigger in terms of physicality and volume. But I love how deadpan he can be! I just love him!
The Muppets (2011). - Tex Richman
4) Veronica – I don’t like this lady at all! Veronica is a rude, mean, cruel douche! I don’t like how she talks to Kermit! I don’t like how she disrespects the Muppets! I don’t like the show she airs on her network! And I don’t like the way she talked about Benson! She refers to it as if there’s a problem with it. What the crud is wrong with Benson? Crud you, Veronica! Crud you!
The Muppets (2011). - Veronica
5) Jack Black – Jack Black’s role in this movie is incredible! I really want to find an interview where he talks about his involvement and enjoyment in this film. I love his first appearance in the film, and I love the surprise of having him come back during the telethon! He’s the celebrity that always second guessed being with the Muppets on The Muppet Show! I love how “Tuesday” is one of his trigger words! Why is “Tuesday” a trigger word? That’s a whole day of the week you can’t say! It’s great! This guy is wonderful, and it was wonderful seeing him in the film!
The Muppets (2011). - Jack Black
It was wonderful seeing a new character to the Muppets. Walter is a great addition to the group! I was surprised when a lot of people were confused how Walter, a Muppet, could be the brother of Gary, a live-action human. I wasn’t so surprised. Not only have the Muppets done a joke like this before (Kermit and Fozzie being twins), but in the Muppet universe we’re supposed to accept these creatures as real. Kermit is a frog. Fozzie is a bear. Miss Piggy is a pig. And now, Walter is a human. He’s a human in the likeness of a Muppet, but he’s a human nonetheless. Why can’t we believe he and Gary are brothers?
Walter has an innocence to him that is very refreshing. He’s very sweet and optimistic. He’s very much like a child in an adult’s body. From having stickers on his headboard to his belief that everything will be OK in the end, Walter is the child we all know and love. It’d be easy to have a strong annoyance or dislike for a character like this, a sort of man-child. I don’t know if it was Jason Segel and Nicolas Stoller’s writing, if it was Peter Linz’s performance, James Bobin’s direction, or some sort of combination, but Walter is a very loveable and endearing character! It’ll be interesting to see how the studio continues to use him in the future, but I’m excited to see him appear again! It’ll be fun! Walter is a great guy!
The Muppets (2011). - Walter
There are a slew of cameos in this film! You really have to be careful not to blink, otherwise you’ll miss someone. I like that these cameos sort of serve the same purpose they did in the first Muppet film – it’s a “who’s who” game with the audience. Who’s going to appear next? As always, it’s just great to see current stars interact with the Muppets! I will say that I don’t get as excited over all of these celebrities because I don’t know all of them. I don’t know all the cameo stars from the earlier films, but I’m familiar with more of them than I am with the celebrities in this film; I just don’t keep up with modern pop culture. But of those who appear, we’ve got Bill Cobbs, Alan Arkin, Kristen Schaal, Eddie Pepiton, Sarah Silverman, Aria Noelle Curzon, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong, Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, James Carville, Rico Rodriguez, Selena Gomez, John Krasinski, Neil Patrick Harris, Leslie Feist, Emily Blunt, Dave Grohl, Judd Hirsch, Jim Parsons, Zach Galifianakis, Mickey Rooney, and Whoopi Goldberg! Goodnents gracious, this may be the most number of celebrities to ever have a cameo in a Muppet movie! But that’s not all – some of the celebrities’ cameo scenes were cut. Those celebrities are Wanda Sykes, Kathy Griffin, Sterling Knight, Billy Crystal, Sarah Hyland, Danny Trejo, Ricky Gervais, and Rob Corddry. In fact, the latter three would go on to star in Muppets Most Wanted (James Bobin, 2014). I must say, though, that I read that Elmo was supposed to have a cameo in this film. He didn’t because Sesame Workshop and Walt Disney representatives could not come on good terms. CRUDDED WHAT?!? I NEED to see a Sesame Street Muppet have a crossover/cameo in a Muppet movie! That would have been so perfect! And it would have been great to see Elmo featured seeing as how his fame has grown so much since The Muppets Take Manhattan and A Muppet Family Christmas! SHAME ON YOU, DISNEY AND SESAME WORKSHOP! SHAME ON YOU!!! All of that aside, my favorite cameo in the film is Jerry Nelson! In his last Muppet role, he is the announcer in the Muppet Theater! He’s the one who says, “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host: Kermit the Frog,” and “The Muppet Telethon will be back after this break!” This is the last role he had before he passed away in 2012. This is the man who performed many of our favorite Muppets like Robin the Frog, Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Camilla the Chicken, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Pops, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, Uncle Deadly, J.P. Grosse, Count von Count, the Two-Headed Monster, The Amazing Mumford, Sherlock Hemlock, Herry Monster, Gobo Fraggle, Pa Gorg, and many, many, MANY more. Rest in peace, Mr. Jerry Nelson!
The Muppets (2011). - Jerry Nelson
One more thing I have to say is it was great to see classic Muppets from The Muppet Show appear in the background AND foreground in this film! I’m talking about characters like Nigel, Lips, Wayne and Wanda, and Uncle Deadly! I was as familiar with that show as I am now when I first saw this movie. Imagine my surprise when I go back and watch The Muppet Show and I see many of the characters that fill the screen in this film! It is all too wonderful!
The Muppets (2011). - Muppets

SONGS/MUSIC: Oh boy, here we go! The music in this film is fantastic! The score is composed by Christophe Beck, who we’ve talked about before. His music is outstanding here, it adds to the tone greatly. He really feels the emotions our characters onscreen are feeling. Most of the songs are composed by New Zealand performer, Bret McKenzie. His songs are absolutely fantastic! These wonderful songs, written with such hilarity and heart, makes McKenzie’s songs as memorable and great as Paul Williams’ songs! Let’s talk about them.
1) Life’s a Happy Song: What’s funny about this song – the whole opening of the film – is that it should be something that people hate. Listen to the words! The characters are singing about how great and perfect they’re lives are. Doesn’t that annoy you? Doesn’t that make you angry? Doesn’t that tick you off? Depending on how someone tells you about their perfect life that has no problems, you’d be upset. But that’s thing: it’s the way they do it. Here, this life seems pleasant. It’s actually quite encouraging. This song doesn’t make me wish I was in Gary’s and Walter’s world; it makes me look at my world and say, “it’s a happy song!” It’s so welcoming and warm, you can’t help but smile when you hear this number! I love it!

2) Pictures in My Head: This song was written by Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis, and Chen Neeman. I said in my review of The Muppets Take Manhattan that I was surprised when I heard that the “Saying Goodbye” number made people cry since I never cried when I heard it. THIS song, on the other hand, is a totally different story. Here’s the difference for me: in “Saying Goodbye,” I knew the Muppets would get back together in the end. My present was fine because I knew what was in the future. That movie also came out during a time when the world still went crazy over the Muppets. Here, Kermit’s singing about something that happened – something that really happened – very recently! It really felt as though no one cared about the Muppets, these characters we all knew and loved and wanted to see more of. My present was now gray and depressing because the recent past was sad. I felt the weight of emotion in Kermit’s voice and lyrics. I wanted to be one of those pictures on the wall so I could reach out and give him a hug! My goodness, this song is so sad! And didn’t you gasp and smile when you saw the pictures come to life and sing to him? And didn’t the smile quickly go away when you saw the portrait of Miss Piggy? MOST DEPRESSING MUPPET SONG EVER!!!!!

3) Me Party: I frickin’ love this song! This is the anthem for any person whenever they find themselves alone. I can’t help but sing and dance anytime I hear it! I know it doesn’t really have much purpose in the film, but that’s OK. It’s short, sweet, and entertaining! Again, it’s like the songs in The Muppet Movie! Let the disco music play, and enjoy your you party!

4) Let’s Talk About Me: I’m not going to lie, I really hated this song when I first saw this film. “Really,” I thought. “A rap number? There’s a stupid rap song in a Muppet movie – a stupid rap song that has nothing to do with anything?!” After time passed, I realized how wrong I was. First of all, much like “Me Party,” this song is short, sweet, and entertaining. Secondly, the Muppets have always been great at satirizing, and this song satirizes modern raps. Third, CHRIS COOPER IS RAPPING!!! That’s all I need! This song is hilarious, it’s wonderful, and it’s enjoyable!

5) Man or Muppet: Oh boy, here we are! I don’t know a person who saw this film that doesn’t like this number! This song was so great, it won McKenzie an Oscar!…Which was always confusing to me. This won an Oscar, but “Rainbow Connection” didn’t?…Oh well. This song is funny, genius, and catchy. It takes a hilarious spin on the traditional message of accepting who you are. The scale and the size of the production on this song is what makes it funny. I love this song so much!

6) The Muppet Show Theme Song: This song was, of course, written by Jim Henson and Sam Pottle. There’s not much to say about it except I love how they recreated this theme almost perfectly! Of course there are some differences between this and the original theme of the show, but look how close they were! And it’s wonderful to hear the voices of the original Muppet performers in this track! Listen carefully, and you can hear Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, and Richard Hunt! It’s wonderful!

7) It Smells Like Teen Spirit: What’s great about this film is that the Muppets are putting on sketches like they would on the original show. Here, they take a famous song and put a barbershop quartet spin on it! It’s funny!

8) Forget You: Chickens sing a CeeLo Green song? Golden!

9) Rainbow Connection: Oh, this will make you cry! Get the tissues ready!

10) The Whistling Caruso: This song was written and performed by Andrew Bird. It’s a very beautiful song. I can imagine hearing this in a classical opera. It just sounds so sweet and charming. It’s very lovely!

11) Life’s a Happy Song Reprise: For as much as I love the first rendition of this song, I love this version even more! It’s much more satisfying to hear all of the Muppets singing this song at the end after their happy ending! It’s endearing, it’s fulfilling, and it brings the story full circle. It’s just wonderful!

12) Mahna Mahna: Not only is it a great Muppet classic, but it’s still Jim Henson’s and Frank Oz’s voices on this track! The soundtrack to this film is awesome!

PUPPETRY: The puppetry in this film is really impressive! These characters look so alive and humanistic! Aside from the rats skating and scrubbing the stage in a montage in the middle of the film, there aren’t any scenes or moments that feature the Muppets pushing the envelope of puppetry like they did in their earlier films. However, just look at the way these guys move! The Muppets are doing things here that I’ve never seen them do before. To actually see the Muppets push a door open, pull a case open, or grab something is remarkable! Again, you have to remember these characters have rods on their wrists in order to really understand the significance of the work here. My favorite pieces of puppetry actually involve Walter. He doesn’t just part his lips to whistle – he actually puckers his lips! I loved watching him climb on the furniture and walk during the opening number. What really blew me away was him pulling the trigger on his water gun at the beginning of the film! Watch it – he’s pulling the trigger, and his hands aren’t built to do that! How was that accomplished?!? I don’t know, but it looks fantastic! I believe all of these characters are real!
The Muppets (2011). - Puppetry

COMEDY: There is no way I can talk abut the comedy of this film in its entirety. It is way too good! The comedy is so strong and so amazing! We’ve got a lot of great fourth wall jokes which, you may remember, the Muppets were always great at doing! When ’80s Robot suggested picking up the Muppets using a montage, Fozzie proposed driving by map, Gary referenced to the song and dance numbers he performed, or Mary made the comment that this would be a short movie – all of those were great and fantastic moments! They were appropriate! They were funny! They were always wonderful! I love the jokes that the characters said to give themselves a distinction. One of the best moments in the film (which is saying a lot) takes place whenever Tex Richman delivers a “maniacal laugh!” That is hilarious! How did Segel and Stoller come up with that?! It is so perfect! There’s no real reason for it, but gosh darn it if it’s not one of the funniest jokes I’ve ever heard in a movie! I also love the jokes that reference the other Muppet productions! When I saw Sweetums leaving Mad Mad Mooney’s to chase the Muppets in a car down the road, that was outstanding! I could not believe they put that in the film, but it worked so well! The only joke I don’t really get is the ’80s Robot. What’s the joke? Why exactly is that funny? I can tell that something is supposed to be funny about that, but I don’t get it. The things he does and says are funny, but the concept of ’80s Robot is confusing…Oh well, whatever! The comedic moments in this film are way too funny! The filmmakers clearly worked hard to make ALL of these jokes funny! There’s thought, there’s effort, and there’s talent! The filmmakers all knew that in order to make the heartfelt moments very emotional and powerful, they had to balance it all out with the lighthearted comedy that only a Muppet movie can bring! What can I say, folks? The comedy in this movie is top notch! It will have you laughing from beginning to end!
The Muppets (2011). - Comedy

CONCLUSION: I am so glad I was wrong about this movie! I do not believe I have ever been more wrong about a film than I was when this picture came out. Sure, I have a few problems with it, but they’re all very, very, very minor. This film brought audiences all over the world back to the characters we love! It reminded us why we love them so much! Their personalities and their spirits are so endearing. These characters made out of foam and fabric can so wonderfully and perfectly convey human emotions unlike anything else I’ve ever seen! This film totally embodies the spirit of the Muppets – the spirit of Jim Henson! This does feel like one of the earlier Muppet films! It’s great! It’s obvious that there was a lot of great care in making this film. Segel, Stoller, Bobin, McKenzie, and the rest of the crew worked as hard as they could to make a wonderful Muppet film, and they more than achieved their goals! This film is funny, memorable, impactful, emotional, and relatable! I love it, and I can’t wait to watch it again later! Thank you so very much, filmmakers, for this most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational movie! God bless you all!

P.S. Here are some of the amazing parody teasers that came out for the movie:

Jason Segel, James Bobin, Nick Stoller Bret McKenzie MUPPET MOVIE image

MOVIE REVIEWS: Muppets from Space (Tim Hill, 1999)

Muppets from Space

One month after Muppet Treasure Island, the Muppets brought a new show to television, Muppets Tonight (Jim Henson Productions, 1996-1998). It was a sort of updated version of The Muppet Show, but…it was bad. Very bad. It didn’t feel like a Muppet show, and the main Muppets we all know and love (Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, and Piggy) took a backseat to new Muppets who we can’t even name today…with the exception of a few. This introduced a dark time for the Muppets when their productions were…not very good. Mostly everything ranged from OK to HELP ME JESUS, HOW WAS THIS GREENLIT?!? I say most things because some of them were good. I hear Big Bag (Nina Elias-Bamberger, 1996-1998) was alright; I loved watching The Wubbulous World of Dr. Suess (1996-1997) as a kid; and Bear in the Big Blue House (Mitchell Kriegman, 1997-2007) was pretty popular among fans. But we also got Elmo Saves Christmas (Emily Squires, 1996) and Elmopalooza! (1998). But in the summer of 1999, it seemed as though the Muppets were due for another feature-length film. Enter Muppets from Space. This film came out during a time when a lot of sci-fi films were taking place. This was supposed to be the Muppets’ parody of that genre. By the sounds of that, this movie should be awesome, right?…Well, you’d think so. As a lot of you know, this movie is famous for being the worst Muppet movie ever made. Does it really deserve that title? Is it true? Well…let’s find out.

STORY: The story and the set-up are the most problematic elements of the movie. It just begs so many questions. First of all, who the crud wanted to know Gonzo’s species? Who was dying to know that? By the time this movie came out, Gonzo existed for over 30 years. That’s more than 30 years of us accepting him as a whatever. That’s his identity! That’s his character! We were all comfortable with that! We didn’t need to know his origins or his species! Second of all, this does, in all honesty, open the door for a mature set-up. Perhaps this could create some adult dialogue and situations with the Muppets. Gonzo wants to feel like he belong in a world where there’s only one of him – the conversations almost write themselves! So, what do we get here?…Gonzo is an alien…WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!? You choose to give us something a third grader could have thought of?!…I don’t even know what to say to that! Gonzo’s an alien. HUH?!?
As I said, this movie was supposed to be a parody to sci-fi movies. The problem with that is there doesn’t seem to be enough parody; and by enough, I mean none at all. This film seems to take itself way too seriously. We’re supposed to accept that Gonzo’s an alien. We’re supposed to believe there’s a government agency searching for Muppet extra terrestrials. Nothing in the film says that this is a parody or a joke. We’re just supposed to accept this story and that it exists within the Muppet universe.
It’s ironic that we’re supposed to take the story seriously because the script is a joke. The dialogue the characters speak is so strange. Listen to some of Edgar’s conversations with Rentro (Bobo the Bear). It’s too mature for children to understand, but it clashes with the story that is too juvenile for adults to take seriously. When Gonzo tells Kermit how he feels about being an alien, it sounds like a coming out speech. I can hear a closeted homosexual giving that same speech word for word.
I think the biggest problem is that this doesn’t feel like a Muppet movie. It feels like the Muppets attempting to make another kind of movie, a sci-fi/action-type of movie. There’s nothing wrong with those kinds of films, but it doesn’t feel very Muppety. If you’re going to make a movie for the Muppets, make a legitimate Muppet movie! Even though I have problems with Muppet Treasure Island, it still feels like a Muppet movie. This does not. The story takes itself too seriously – it is too absorbed in the genre it was supposed to parody – to feel like a classic Muppet movie.
Muppets from Space - Story

CHARACTERS AND CAMEOS: This should be interesting. In addition to talking about the main human stars and cameo guest stars, I’ll briefly address the new Muppets that appear in this film.
1) K. Edgar Singer – Edgar, like the story, is nothing new or interesting. He’s pretty dry. On paper, he’s as bland, boring, and dull as damp paper. However, Jeffrey Tambor’s portrayal of him makes this character so entertaining to watch! I love him! That is what a great actor or actress does: they take a person’s character out of the pages and breaths life into them! Tambor is not just a great comic, but he’s a wonderful actor as well. I love watching the choices he makes – the expressions he makes, both subtle and unsubtle. Tambor really does make this character and this movie a lot of fun!
Muppets from Space - K. Edgar Singer
2) General Luft – This character frustrates me. Not only is he boring, but he’s ignorant. Why wouldn’t he believe Singer’s reasonings that aliens are coming to earth? Even if he need more evidence, the proof he provided would have made me suspicious. I certainly would have thought, “Hmm. I should look into this more!” How in the world could the same message, “R U There,” show up all over the world as a practical joke? At least look into it more! Crud you, Luft! Crud you!
Muppets from Space - General Luft
This film does continue the Muppet film tradition of having celebrity cameo guest stars…As a whole, they don’t work well. In a traditional Muppet movie, you can have random celebrities show up for no reason. It’s a joke. It’s a funny joke. You can do that! Here, the story is too serious to have a joke like that work. Hollywood Hulk Hogan appearing out of nowhere doesn’t make sense! Kathy Griffin shows up just to be Animal’s new girl toy for the day. We’ve also got Ray Liotta, Josh Charles, Gary Owens (who lends a voice cameo), F. Murray Abraham, David Arquette, Andie MacDowell, Joshua Jackson and Katie Holmes from Dawson’s Creek, and Rob Schneider. You might call me crazy for this, but Schneider’s actually my favorite cameo in this movie. This is one of the few restrained and non-offensive roles he’s played. It’s actually rather nice to see him do something like this.
Muppets from Space - Rob Schneider
Some of the newer Muppets from Muppets Tonight appear in this film. We’ve got Johnny Fiama and Sal Minella, Dr. Phil Van Neuter, Bobo the Bear (as Rentro), and Pepé the King Prawn. All of these characters are played by Brian Henson and Bill Barretta. I won’t lie, I didn’t like any of the new characters on Muppets Tonight. They weren’t funny, they weren’t relatable, they weren’t interesting, they weren’t charming. For the most part they yelled and screamed all the time, and that was their character. The only new character on the show that had a full personality was Bobo – and even then, I didn’t like him on the show. I like him in everything else he’s in, including this movie, but that was not the show for him. The character I’m surprised by how big he became was Pepé. He had literally no personality on the show! How did he get such a big role in this movie?! How did people find him so likeable and fun?! I would have loved if people went that crazy over Clifford! Clifford was miscast as the host of Muppets Tonight, but I still love his character! He’s so cool! And Clifford originated on The Jim Henson Hour in 1989 – he existed while Jim Henson was alive! I wish we got more of Clifford today! He brings a different feel to the Muppets that they didn’t have before, a more urban coolness to him. I love it! I love him!…But I digress.
Muppets from Space - PepeMuppets from Space - Clifford

SONGS/MUSIC: The score composer of the film is Jamshied Sharifi. The song composer…is an unfulfilled role in this film. Yeah, there are no songs in this movie. Ain’t that strange! This Muppet movie does not have any songs in it! Why would the filmmakers produce and create a new Muppet film without including great Muppet songs! This goes back to what I said earlier: this film feels like the Muppets trying to make another kind of film, a sci-fi and adventure-type film. It doesn’t feel like a legitimate Muppet movie! What was the last Muppet production you saw that didn’t have any songs? Every straight-to-video production, television show, TV special, and movie the Muppets ever made all included songs. Muppet Babies had songs, and that was animated!
There are songs in this movie, but they’re not new and the Muppets don’t sing them. They’re neo-soul/funk/R&B songs from the 1970s. I don’t know how or why this genre of music fits with the sci-fi genre of film, but…I’m not going to lie, I like these songs! Your appreciation for the music in this movie is based on whether or not you like funk. Even though it doesn’t make sense to have this music in this Muppet sci-fi movie, I still love these songs! I love this tone and style the music is in. In fact, when I was a kid this film introduced me to great classics as “Flashlight,” “Brick House,” “Shining Star,” and the other songs that appear. I have a lot of fun listening to them. I actually can’t imagine a lot of the scenes in this movie without these songs.
I know there’s not much else to talk about and I can’t go through all of the songs in this movie, but here are notes on some of the musical moments.
1) Brick House: A lot of people have said that this is the best scene in the movie…Yeah, it is! If the Muppets were to live in the same house, this is pretty much how I’d imagine their mornings. This scene as a whole is the closest thing in this film to capturing the Muppet/Jim Henson spirit.

2) Celebration: This is the only time the Muppets sing in this film…unless you count Rizzo singing the Oscar Meyer Weiner song.

3) Shining Star: The Muppets have a music video! Not just a montage – a legit music video! That’s neat! I think the only other times we had ever seen a Muppet music video before this was on Sesame Street. That’s pretty cool.

PUPPETRY: The puppetry in this movie is really good if you pay close enough attention to it. In my opinion, it’s better than the puppetry in Muppet Treasure Island. The characters do simple human things that puppets cannot do on their own. Gonzo opens a drawer. Do you know how to get a puppet to do that while making it look simple and ordinary? Rizzo turns a key in the lawnmower. The Muppets open doors. There are penguins – full scaled penguins – diving into a bathtub. It looks so simple, but when you think about it you realize that the filmmakers and performers had to work very hard to make these actions look as realistic as possible. In the last Muppet movie, it sometimes looks like they’re trying to do something; the Muppets were trying to fight during the battle scene towards the end. Here, they’re just doing the actions as simple as anybody else can do it. I love that!
Muppets from Space - Puppetry

COMEDY: The comedy is OK. Often times, the jokes do not work. There are only 2 fourth wall jokes, and they’re not funny. You have to pay attention to them, or else you’ll miss them. However, when a joke does work it is very funny. Anytime the Muppets do or say anything that matches their unique spirit, the jokes are hilarious! Statler and Waldorf partake in their usual wise cracks, and they’re great! I like the silly and naive comments Fozzie makes (with the exception of him not knowing what scotch tape is). Sam’s short speech to the people on his front lawn is fantastic! And, of course, Bobo the Bear gives the funniest line in the movie!

It’s so odd and strange, but it’s so funny!
I can’t talk too much about the bad jokes because they don’t stand out as well as the good jokes. There are plenty of bad jokes, but the good ones are more memorable. As a whole, the comedy is OK. When something is done or said that matches the spirit of the Muppets, the jokes work well and they are absolutely funny!
Muppets from Space - Comedy

CONCLUSION: OK, so you see that this movie has a lot of problems. The story is crap, the writing is weird, there are no original songs in this film, and the comedy is hit and miss. But there are good things about the movie as well. The puppetry is impressive, some of the jokes are really funny, and the Muppets still act like the Muppets. As a whole, this movie is OK. It’s not their best work, but it’s far from their worst. Believe me, the Muppets would go on to do much worse than this film. At least in this film, our characters still seem like themselves despite a faulty script. So long as Kermit is still himself and the rest of the Muppets are still themselves, I’m in a good place. Despite the problems this movie has, I still like it! I enjoy it a lot! The good stuff is more than likeable, and the bad stuff is fun to make fun of. If you don’t like this movie, I can understand why; the story and script are just too strange for the Muppets. However, it’s also understandable why you may like this movie. The Muppets are still the Muppets. They’re still entertaining, they’re still loveable, and they’re still relatable. Take it for what it is.
Muppets from Space - Conclusion