Quick Take: Lovers and dreamers (and you) will love this movie.
If it's been a while since the last time you spent time with a frog on a bicycle or a bear in a Studebaker, and you have little ones at home, it's well worth taking another look at Jim Henson's masterpiece, The Muppet Movie. A simple Hollywood tale, we begin in the swamp listening to Kermit sing the plaintive and still gorgeous heartstring tugger "Rainbow Connection." It's the first of many wonderful tunes from late 70's/early 80's staple Paul Williams. We also see our first cameo as Dom DeLuise rows up to the banjo-playing frog and asks for directions. Dom's an agent in Hollywood and he inspires Kermit on a journey where he meets the Muppet gang, but will he arrive in time to sign that "standard rich and famous" contract?
In the way is Charles Durning as Doc Hopper, a Colonel Sanders style villain who runs a chain of fried frog legs establishments and wants to hire Kermit as spokes-amphibian. The Muppet Movie is filled with terrific set pieces including a Western Ghost Town a seedy bar and a County Faire where Ms. Piggy vies for a beauty queen crown. All your felt friends are present: Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo the Great, Piggy, Scooter and Doctor Teeth & the Electric Mayhem. Memorable tunes like "Movin' Right Along," "Can You Picture That?" and more bad puns and running gags than you can shake a stick at. Then there are the cameos. As kids we probably didn't care about Mel Brooks as a Mad Scientist or Steve Martin's turn as a surly waiter. It's fun to see these stars ham it up with the Muppet crew, especially now that we know who they are.
Released in 1979, The Muppet Movie looks surprisingly current. The humor is timeless, the characters are too, the songs are terrific, and that frog riding a bicycle trick they pulled off still impresses in this age of CGI. The Muppet Movie is as good as you remember it! Can you picture that?
Kids Will Like:
Despite the lack of CGI, most kids will like The Muppet Movie -- parents will too because Henson had a knack at subversive yet sweet humor and, especially with partner Frank Oz (Miss Piggy and more), he had the comedic timing of a vaudevillian. The movie is brisk and genuinely funny, the music is great, and as mentioned, the cameos make it even more fun for adult viewers. Kids will just see funny actors who excel at their craft.
There's nothing offensive here except a scary bounty hunter who uses a spear gun ("I kill frogs"), drunken revelry at a piano bar, and the horrible thought of "millions of frogs on tiny crutches." The moral of the film sure is uplifting. I'll just quote the final words sung in the movie: "Life's like a movie, write your own ending, keep believing, keep pretending, we've done all that we set out to do! Thanks to the lovers, the dreamers, and you!"