Everyone loves the Muppets right? I mean I remember growing up watching the Muppets and that was from reruns of the Muppet Show or some of the movies that they put out. I’m pretty sure my continuous re-watching of our VHS of The Muppet Movie killed the tape because it no longer works (actually that was a couple of years ago even). As I get older and continue to re-watch the Muppets I grow fonder of them with each viewing. There’s so much that was just over my head and the cameos/appearances that meant nothing to me. So obviously my views on the movie should already be clear and I’m very biased.
The Muppet Movie was released in 1979 and the Muppet Show ran from ’76 – ’81, so by this point the Muppet Show was actually nearing its end. The movie is highly meta and is a viewing of the Muppets on a film that is about how the Muppets less or according to Kermit, “It’s sort of approximately how it happened.” While not every Muppet is included, the big names all appear in the story and those that don’t show up either in the viewing theater or at the end of the “movie” where all of the Muppets sit and sign the end of the “The Magic Store.”
Which brings me to the first reason as to why this movie rocks. The music. “Rainbow Connection” is obviously a kick-ass and moving song. It’s probably one of the most memorable of the Muppet songs and the use of it in the opening of the film is fantastic. It’s beautiful. I’ve also always been a fan of the Electric Mayhem songs. I think Zoot is part of the reason I learned to play the saxophone. “Can You Picture That” and “Movin’ Right Along” are two great songs in here that are faster paced. Again the finale “The Magic Store” is brilliant as well. I actually welled up at the end of the song when the rainbow appears and they all start singing together.
The Muppets themselves are great and I wont even bother trying to critic their performances. I will say how incredible it is as to what Henson and co. did by showing the full body of some of the Muppets. For the opening in the swamp, Jim Henson was underwater performing Kermit and the bicycle scene is another one that’s remarkable to watch, among others.
The cameos/human appearances are for the adults I think. I’ve slowly learned to appreciate them more and more. I think the first person I recognized was Steve Martin. You also have some other greats such as Edgar Bergen, Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, James Coburn, Dom DeLuise, Elliot Gould, Bob Hope (Fucking Bob Hope!), Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Richard Pryor, and Orson Welles. Charles During and Austin Penleton also play Doc Hopper and Max. That’s some serious star power, especially comedic star power. They are cameos though, but still. Just seeing a bunch of those guys is great.
The humor is great as well. There’s a lot of meta references and breaking the fourth wall. The Muppets in general have a very sort of wacky style of humor and it still holds up. It’s timeless and works across the age ranges.
The other great thing about The Muppet Movie is the diversity in the film. In a way it’s almost a mockumentary, but it is defiantly a comedy. It also consists of pretty much every other film genre out there. Action, Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy. It crams every little thing in one movie and it works because they don’t linger on anything to long. They knew where to draw the line.
The Muppet Movie still stands as a great film. I can’t imagine that kinds wouldn’t still like it and as someone who wasn’t born till 1990, I loved it as a kid and still love it. It’s simply a great movie.