Retro Review: ‘The Muppet Movie’

Director: James Frawley

Cast: Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo, Miss Piggie

Plot: After a random encounter with a Hollywood Agent, Kermit the Frog leaves his home in the swamp to travel to L.A., picking up other fame seekers on the way. Also, they’re Muppets.

Review: There are two types of children’s entertainment. There’s the type that is made to wring a buck out of the parent’s wallets by making their product as marketable as possible and churning out as much crummy merchandise as possible. These forms of children entertainment is bright, colourful and, outside of a ‘re-imagining’ for a modern audience, doesn’t hold any long term value. It’s not uncommon for them to just rip off whatever else has been popular recently, such as Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh following Pokemon.

The Muppets, and by extension pretty much anything created by Jim Henson, comes not from a need to line pockets but a genuine desire to entertain the youth. Their values hold true across the generations (aside from some minor racism during the 70’s), their jokes remain funny and the characters are just as endearing as ever. Since the debut of The Muppet Show decades ago very little about the Muppets have changed. The designs are the same and the running gags are still trotting along. It’s because of this after many, many years and many, many repeat viewings The Muppet Movie is still amongst the best that the children’s entertainment market has to offer.

Maintaining the Muppet’s trademark behind-the-scenes approach from their television show the movie begins with the Muppets attending the screening of their own movie, dropping the viewer straight into the madness. Considering the movie details the Muppets meeting one by one it’s a great start having the madcap humour playing from the start. When the ‘start’ of the actual movie begins we are treated to what is still one of the greatest original movie songs ever composed. Anyone who doesn’t love ‘Rainbow Connection’ is indeed a disappointing individual.

From the strong beginning this roadtrip movie goes from strength to strength as the various Muppets join forces with Kermit on his pilgrimage west, all the while being chased and threatened by Doc Hopper who wants Kermit to endorse his Frog Leg fast food chain. Each of the main Muppets gets their moments to shine and the story is kept flowing along by the immensely catchy songs that pepper the scenes. An endless parade of celebrity cameos turn up in every scene and whilst some of them have slipped into obscurity others, such as Steve Martin, are still relevant and add their own brand of entertainment to the proceedings. Even cinephiles will delight to see Orson Welles sitting in the big seat at the end of the film.

Whatever your age, whatever children memories your have, The Muppet Movie is sure to delight.

Score: TEN outta TEN