Starring Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, Charles Durning, Austin Pendleton
Directed by James Frawley
Expectations: High. Hopefully my loving memories of this, brought to the surface by watching the new one, will hold up.
After watching the recent Muppets revival film, I kept turning over my memories of watching the old gang throughout my youth. I could have been the main character in that film, full of nothing but love and admiration for my felt-skinned friends. The Muppets meant more to me than they probably should have, and this deep love of the characters made watching The Muppets something of a strange affair. As time went on afterwards I kept wondering if maybe I was misremembering the old trilogy of my youth, so as any good movie reviewin’ webmaster should, I decided that a series re-watch was in order. And as soon as The Muppet Movie began, I was greeted with that old feeling that I knew and loved. It wasn’t just a case of remembering wrong, the old ones clearly have the juice the newest film does not.
The Muppet Movie seeks to tell the origin story of how all our friends originally got together… or something like that. The film starts with the Muppets all gathered in a movie theater, waiting to watch The Muppet Movie. Kermit’s pint-sized nephew asks him, just as the film begins, if this is really how everyone got together. Kermit replies that it’s basically how it went down, signaling that while it’ll take us on an adventure, it’s not necessarily going to be one rooted in reality. This is a fantasy, or more accurately a dream, given to us through the eyes of a charming frog with a desire to make the world happy. Kermit’s big dreams inform the entire film, as well as teaching some great, moral lessons to children along the way.