Tag Archives: Kermit the Frog

My Thoughts on: The Muppet Movie (1979)

I’ve been a fan of the Muppets since before I can remember (for that matter, even before I knew what a Muppet was). Be it Sesame Street or The Muppet Show, if it had Muppets in it, I watched it. That’s why I was so excited to get the opportunity to watch the original Muppet movie,  The Muppet Movie, in theaters, the way everyone got to see it forty years ago when it originally came out.

The movie presents itself as something of an origin story for how Kermit and the other Muppets first met and ended up becoming rich and famous in Hollywood. What starts off as Kermit the Frog’s journey to audition for a movie studio, quickly balloons into a tale of  close-knit friends following their collective dream to become famous entertainers. Along the way, Kermit picks up Fozzie Bear, Gonzo (and his chicken), Miss Piggy (who instantly falls in love with Kermit), Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, Dr. Honeydew and Beeker, and Rowlf the Dog. Along the way, this growing cast of characters have to elude the obsessed Doc Hopper (Charles Durning), who’s determined to make Kermit his spokesman for a chain of frog legs-serving restaurants (Hopper fails to see why a frog wouldn’t be keen on promoting restaurants that serve frog legs).

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Along with the story, which is charming, fun, and never gets old, one of my favorite things about The Muppet Movie is the never-ending stream of celebrity cameos. Seriously, they’re everywhere, and you never know who is going to show up next. I can’t list them all, there are just too many, but some of my favorites include:

  • Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy: The world-famous ventriloquist shot his cameo not long before his death. Ignore the fact that you can see his lips moving, that scene is perfect just the way it is.
  • Steve Martin: He’s hysterical in that scene he appears in.
  • Mel Brooks: Probably my favorite cameo of the bunch. Mel Brooks, as you might expect, owns the scene from the moment he appears. I have no idea how anyone kept a straight face while Brooks was in character.
  • Orson Welles: Yes, I said Orson Welles, the same Welles who starred in Citizen Kane and a whole bunch of other things. He only has the one line, but it’s a great line (I genuinely believed for a number of years that “the standard rich and famous contract” was an actual thing.)

And then there’s the many great songs throughout the film, including “The Rainbow Connection”, “Movin’ Right Along”, and my personal favorite “I Hope That Something Better Comes Along”, just to name a few. To this day, I love singing along with each and every one of those songs.

Seeing The Muppet Movie in theaters brought back a lot of happy memories, and I’m glad I was able to go see it again. Let me know what you think about The Muppet Movie in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

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Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

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Like the Muppet’s Christmas Carol before it, Muppet Treasure Island tells the story of Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver with the Muppet twist: Captain Smollet is Kermit the Frog; Fozzie Bear is Squire Trelawney Jr.; Mr. Arrow is Sam the Eagle (his character is a total opposite from the book version); the pirates are an assortment of Muppets; Silver has a pet lobster named Polly; Gonzo and Rizzo play Jim’s two friends and, oh yes, Miss Piggy plays BenjaminGunn, marooned on the titular Treasure Island by Captain Flint after Smollet left her waiting at the altar. The film was directed by Brian Henson, the son of Jim Henson, the late creator of the Muppets.

Aside from the original Muppet Movie, this was my favorite film to feature the Muppets growing up. The songs and music are funny and serve to keep the story moving along. The instrumental score was composed by Hans Zimmer (no wonder I love listening to it so much), with additional music by Harry Gregson-Williams. Zimmer certainly did not skimp on musical quality. The opening instrumental melody (before Billy Bones’ narration begins) is just splendid, with a driving horn theme that is reminiscent of sea songs and old films about the high seas.

My favorite songs by far are:

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“Shiver My Timbers” : This is the opening song set during the prologue where Billy Bones narrates how Captain Flint brought all of his treasure onto the island, and once it was buried, killed all of the pirates so that only he would know where the treasure was hidden (Billy Bones the first mate, stayed behind on the ship so his life was spared). I just love the men’s chorus as they sing this song, it’s driving, it’s good music.

Propirate

“Professional Pirate” : After kidnapping Jim and revealing himself as a pirate, Long John Silver (and company) sing of the virtues of being a pirate in an attempt to convince young Hawkins into joining them. Tim Curry’s great singing voice is put to good use here and this is a great musical number.

Boom_shakalaka

“Boom Shakalaka” : It turns out that Treasure Island is also the home of a tribe of wild boars (led by Spa’ am, get it?) who have made Miss Piggy their Queen (but of course), and “Boom Shakalaka” is the song they sing to summon her big entrance on an Asian elephant (how an Asian elephant got onto a Caribbean island I shall never know). Boom-Shakalaka is also her name among the tribe.

Cabinfever

“Cabin Fever” : After the voyage to Treasure Island has begun, the Hispaniola is becalmed at sea for almost a week, and the bored-out-of-their-minds crew goes slightly nuts, performing a song and dance routine about how crazy they have all become. It’s pure Muppet hilarity (notably, Silver, Hawkins, Smollett and Arrow are all absent from this number).

Even if you’ve never seen a Muppet movie before, Muppet Treasure Island is a great place to start. At 20 years old, this movie has lost none of its charm.

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