Muppets From Space
The Muppets are still searching for another species like Gonzo. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, along with his assistant Beaker, theorize that Gonzo may have come from an alien race, possibly the one that... View more >
Starring Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire... View more >
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Muppets From Space (1999)
So few movies are being released - and so few of those are for kids - that Muppets From Space will have an audience, and may even turn a profit for its makers. It's a perfectly enjoyable little movie, though at best it has the quality of a television special.
The opening is fine: we see Gonzo (voice of Dave Goelz) being refused a place on the ark by Noah himself (a cameo by F. Murray Abraham). You see, there's only one of Gonzo, a joke with which all Muppet fans are familiar. But is he alone?
The film clicks early with a gathering of all the Muppets, who inexplicably seem to live together in an enormous house. Reminiscent of the best ensemble shots from 'The Muppet Show,' this segment is directed well, assisted by catchy music. We glance all of the mainstays - Miss Piggy and Animal and Fozzie Bear (Frank Oz), Kermit the Frog and Rizzo the Rat (Steve Whitmire) -- along with the charming little bug-eyed Pepe the Prawn (Bill Barretta). Many other recognizable Muppets do their stuff as well. (It's hard not to belly-laugh at the sheep and penguins!)
Gonzo - apparently very old but a friend to these contemporary Muppets - is pouring his breakfast cereal when some of the spilled letters arrange themselves to read "Watch the Sky," followed by "R U There." Soon Gonzo is struck by something like lightning, and experiences a vision in which he is flying, unassisted, through space; two Cosmic Fish tell him that he is an alien, and he should await the return his fellow hook-nosed aliens, who left him behind ages ago.
All this is complicated by a plot involving a government conspiracy. (Do the threads of the narrative sound familiar?) Jeffrey Tambor plays K. Edgar Singer (c'mon - the name's not even cute!), an executive in an FBI-like operation. He has been charged by his boss, a general played by the venerable character actor Pat Hingle, to produce an alien. By roundabout ways, Singer (known as 'Ed') discovers Gonzo's alleged identity, and attempts to chase him down.
Really the film tries to do too much: its science fiction elements do not blend well with the spy flavor. Although there are spaceships and other fantastic items, there is also the Bondian device of weapons and fancy toys explained to the main Muppets - toys invariably used later on. Too, the film is mis-named: most of the action takes place on Earth.
Himself a distinguished character actor, Jeffrey Tambor here plays it too straight. A little over-the-top never hurt any performance in a Muppet movie. Roll or cross your eyes once in awhile, will you? Several other live actors do cameos, and most are worthy of a chuckle. Kathy Griffin is perhaps the funniest, in her role as an over-zealous guard. Of course the highlight of the acting is the voices. With Miss Piggy, Frank Oz delivers the same sardonic humor we are used to. I wished she was given a more major role in the plot. As Pepe the Prawn, Bill Barretta was also delightful, imbuing his character with subtle and often hilarious traits.
A Muppets movie has always meant solid entertainment, and this one delivers most of the time. It's certainly good to see the franchise still going - Elmo from "Sesame Street" stars in his own movie soon. A bigger vision and more rewriting, one hopes, will bring future Muppet endeavors up to the greatness of the first few movies.
A very funny movie, well worth seeing. The story is fine, if unclear about Gonzo's origin. I was surprised to see the faces of some well known stars in the movie, and that they don't get much time on screen. A must see.
This movie doesn't have the appeal for the adults in the crowd that their past efforts have had. It is a huge step down from "Christmas Carol" that we feared "Treasure Island" was a precursor to. Hopefully, they can turn this boat around before it gets out of hand.
On the bright side, Pepe has his first starring role and Bobo has a sizeable part this time out as well.
Great movie for the youngsters! My 4 and 7 year old laughed all the way through. Tough if others feel this movie isn't up to standards for adult viewers - the kids will love it!
"Muppets From Space" is the least favorite form the muppet people, who are carrying Jim Henson's legacy after his death. The film has some funny moments as it tried to a satire of the 1997 "Contact," but the film has more cameros than laughs.
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