Alright! I’m done screwing around and am finally back. Surely you can hardly contain your enthusiasm! After the stunning quality of my last few posts, I don’t blame you.

Netflix is my new best friend. I can watch as many old movies as I want for about thirteen bucks a month. Waiting for them to arrive in the mail sort of sucks, but I figured it would be a great way to revisit some films without having to buy them all. And, so far, it is. [End shameless plug here.]

Recently, I put the first three Muppet movies in my queue. The first to arrive was The Great Muppet Caper. I loved this movie as a kid and remember watching it quite a few times, so it’s obviously perfect material for this blog.

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This doesn’t happen very often, but The Great Muppet Caper is nothing like I remembered it. It’s almost a completely different movie. Perhaps you think I’m going to say it’s a festering pile of crap and that I hated it and wish I’d never ruined a beautiful childhood memory.

Well, you’d be 100% wrong.

I did not recall this movie being so hilarious, probably because all the humor went sailing over my little head. I don’t know why I liked it so much back then. As a matter of fact, I don’t know how any kid could fully appreciate this movie. Maybe for the action, the songs, or the Muppets themselves, but most of the humor is far too sophisticated.

For example, the fourth wall is pretty much non-existent. The opening sequence features Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo giving a running commentary on the credits. If you can show me another film that does something like this, I’ll give you a cookie.

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I really like the first big number, “Hey! A Movie”. Be sure to watch for lots of humorous stuff in the background here. Highly entertaining, and catchy as all hell. (I’m still humming it.)

The plot of the movie isn’t Oscar material by any means: Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo go to London to try to catch the thief who stole jewels from Lady Holiday, a famous fashion designer. In this movie, the plot isn’t really the point. Normally, weak stories piss me off, but for this, it works. It’s so much fun to watch that it doesn’t really matter how half-baked the story is. It’s not meant to be taken too seriously, and their constant reminders that, hey, this is just a movie, really help.

Also, if you like those old MGM musicals, this movie pays homage to them while also making good-natured jabs at them. That is to say, there are quite a few songs in this movie. The best part is that pretty much all of them are good.

One of the most memorable is Miss Piggy’s daydream number, a very over-the-top water ballet routine. Yes, pigs can do synchronized swimming. The funniest part of this is Lady Holiday’s villainous brother Nicky singing in a very obviously dubbed voice. The whole thing sounds ridiculous– and it is –but it’s meant to be satirical, so stop being a curmudgeon and laugh already.

However, my favorite number is probably “The First Time It Happens”, which is also pretty over-the-top, but the dancing is elaborately choreographed and the music brilliantly arranged. It made my jaw drop. I didn’t remember it being that spectacular. I guess you don’t appreciate such things when you’re nine.

There’s also a hilarious scene with John Cleese (of Monty Python fame). I also must have zoned out during this part, because I didn’t even remember it. The humor here is far too subtle– and dare I say, British –for little tykes to grasp.

The only thing that bothers me about this movie is the very strange love triangle between Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Nicky Holiday. If you think about this one too much, it’s a little disturbing. But, like I said, not meant to be taken seriously. Charles Grodin’s campy performance of the Nicky character further reinforces this.

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As always, Jim Henson and his team confound us with their fantastic Muppet performances. I still don’t get how they did the bicycle thing, and that water ballet thing must have been absolute hell to shoot. For their technical achievements alone, they should be commended, even if you don’t like their brand of humor.

Anyway, I’m not really sure who this movie’s audience is. If you like the Muppets, off-the-wall humor, and big production numbers, then…wow, you’re just as much of a weirdo as I am.

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