The Muppets are back, minus their brilliant creator Jim Henson. This time they are looking for pirate treasure and adventure on the high seas in Muppet Treasure Island. Brain Henson, son of Jim, has stepped into his father's shoes and taken the Muppets back into the mainstream for the second time (A Christmas Carol was the first Muppet movie without their original creator). The story, based on Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island has all of your favorite characters from the original novel plus a few new additions, like vacationing rats acting like they are on the Love Boat.
I was really looking forward to seeing this movie, and right from the beginning I was not disappointed. The first few minutes of the film are truly breathtaking. Attention to detail is something that the Henson people have always been famous for and I was glad to see this tradition continued. The filming of the movie is beautiful, especially some of the ocean scenes. The movie is worth watching for that alone, but there is even more reason to see it: The opening scenes start of this incredibly catchy song, where the pirates are first burying the treasure and the various plants and rocks and birds and things all sing along to celebrate the burial. The rest of the score is equally good, and the music is yet another highlight of this movie.
The story, as you know, really begins when young Jim Hawkins (Kevin Bishop) and his two companions, Gonzo the "whatever" and Rizzo the Rat, get hold of the map leading to the treasure and attempt to find it. He enlists the financial aid of Fozzie Bear who selects a ship with Kermit the Frog as captain. The journey is littered with jokes that an older audience will think of as "inside jokes", but they are still entertaining to the kids in the audience. There are various parodies of movies and television shows. All of the old favorites are back; Gonzo and Rizzo take the center stage (from Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy) as Hawkins' friends. The self-references (where the characters refer to themselves in the movie) are done very humourously. Once again, the Muppets do a better job of carrying the story across than their human counterparts.
The best acting performance, among the non-Muppets is by Tim Curry, who plays Long John Silver, though I think he could have done more with this role. The other major "human" actor is Kevin Bishop who plays Jim Hawkins. I can't say I was impressed with him, but it must be pretty difficult to work with foam characters. His voice was incredibly high and rather annoying at times.
Miss Piggy is stunning as usual. She and Kermit continue to play the "ill-fated lover" bit, though her appearance in the story line is a bit delayed. Almost every character associated with the Muppet show is present in this movie, and that adds a nice touch of nostalgia.
The movie is filmed beautifully and I highly recommend it, especially if you have a kid at home. It will bring back plenty of fond memories.
Muppet Classic Theater reincarnates classic children's fables with Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy as the primary protagonists.
The revamped stories include The Three Little Pigs where Miss Piggy is the Practical Pig counterpart who outwits the Big Bad Wolf, thus making a statement for female liberation; The Boy Who Cried Wolf with a cool tune; King Midas where Queen Midas (Miss Piggy) is the one who wants the golden touch; Rumpelstiltskin with Gonzo taking the lead; The Elves and Shoemaker; and The Emperor's New Clothes where Rizzo gets to shine.
The reworking of the fables is mostly boring with few new innovations. However they do exist and can be amusing at times. Some of the tunes are very good (such as Gotta Get that Name from Rumpelstiltskin) and some are really bad. If you have a lot of patience, I recommend renting this one, but otherwise it's really not worth it.