Movie Name: The Muppet Movie
Studio: Henson Associates
Release Date(s): June 22, 1979
MPAA Rating: G
The Muppets have made it to Hollywood…now a major motion picture has been made about their journey. Follow Kermit the Frog as he leaves the swamp behind, meeting up with other Muppets like Fozzy, Dr. Teeth and his band, Gonzo, Ms. Piggy, and others as they make the cross country trip to try to make an important audition in Hollywood…while being pursued by Doc Hopper (Charles Durning) who is bent on getting Kermit to advertise his chain of frog-legs restaurants. How the Muppets make it Hollywood will have to be seen.
The Muppet Movie was the Muppet’s first big jump to a major motion picture. Directed by James Frawley, The Muppet Movie premiered on June 22, 1979. The movie got rave reviews and was very well received by the public.
The Muppet Movie just works. It is very close to the show in the type of humor it relies upon to get the audience. There is a lot of reflexive humor that makes fun of the situations themselves and the characters are continuously breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience. The smart script does a good job of appealing to younger viewers and older viewers without pandering to them or talking down to them.
Another carryover from The Muppet Show that found its way into the movie is the plethora of cameos by big named stars…or at least some stars that would have been appearing on Love Boat the time. The movie is dedicated to famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen who appears with his dummy Charlie just before his death. Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, James Coburn, Dom DeLuise, Elliot Gould, Bob Hope, Madelyn Kahn, Carol Kane, Cloris Leachman, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Teddy Savalas, Paul Williams, and even the great Orson Wells as the Hollywood big-shot Lew Lords all appeared in the movie. That will amuse the adults, but kids will like a brief appearance by Big Bird who is headed to New York City to strike it big in public television…on Sesame Street.
The Muppet Movie is boosted by a great soundtrack. I can remember going to my friend’s house and listening to the record as a kid, but the songs still hold true today including the breakout song “Rainbow Connection”. The Muppets are a natural for this type of movie, and it still is strong today.
The Muppets are an institution, and before the 1990s when they began to pump out movie after movie, a Muppet movie was something special. Check out the original…The Muppet Movie. Some of the FX might be a bit dated, but they work within the context. With a big new movie coming out in 2011 (over thirty years after the release of this film), The Muppet Movie proves that “Movin’ Right Along” should also have been the Muppet motto.