The Muppet Movie

The Muppet Movie ★★★★★

As I assume people saw with my previous review of this film, this is my favorite film of all time. For me everything about this film is perfection, from the music to the puppetry to the comedy and just every little aspect of it. Most of all, to me this feels like the place where we get the purest performance of Kermit the Frog, and because of that, the closest we can get to Jim Henson as the star he always was. Jim was a visionary and at the same time someone who was very down to earth, someone who could see whole worlds create themselves in his mind, but at the same time knew what was needed for audiences to connect to them. As the first Muppet movie, and their first appearance on film, not video, this was the ultimate test of Jim's vision, and to have gone off so wonderfully is a testament not only to Jim's vision, but to the work the entire team he built up over the years was doing. Jim had a beautiful soul, and to get even a brief glimpse of that fills me with so much joy and awe that there is no way anything else could even come close to changing my favorite movie.

With that said, I want to actually get into this film, because it is fascinating. First, I want to suggest that this might be the best example of postmodernism ever put on film, before Blade Runner or Pulp Fiction. From the moment you get a glimpse of this poster, a take on the classic Gone With the Wind, you know what's going on. This is a film that gets a good amount of its comedy from metahumor(and the rest from corny jokes). It directly references several films, including Casablanca and High Noon. It features countless cameos, including Edgar Bergen(who the film is dedicated to), Bob Hope, Richard Pyror, Mel Brooks Steve Martin and even Orson Welles(who apparently knew all the Muppets by name, and could tell when they had changed). And there are constant references to the fictional nature of the film. It even starts with the Muppets gathering to watch the film itself. My favorite meta moment has to be with the Electric Mayhem, where Kermit and Fozzie pull out the movie script so the band can get caught up. I think the corny jokes add a little something too, because they create an atmosphere of absurdity that makes everything seem suspect, but not in a bad way. Even as all of this is happening the emotional core of the film remains with Kermit, who chose to leave his home to make millions happy. From the moment Rainbow Connection begins throughout the film, especially his dream speech, Kermit is Jim, who came out of nothing and with the simple goal of making people happy was able to build a group of like-minded individuals, sell a dream to the big companies, and truly change the world.

Along with the emotion and metahumor, there are some really incredible technical aspects of this film. This includes the swamp scene, where a hollow log was built so Jim could perform Kermit underwater. It also is any time the Muppets show their legs, something that hadn't been done yet, especially Kermit riding his bike(which was mostly done by a wired rig above everything). The one moment that isn't the best is the dance scene in El Sleezo, where Fozzie and Kermit are composited onto the stage. It looks a bit too flat to be convincing, but seeing them dance is still pretty fun. The ending as well is incredible, with almost every Muppet made up to that point being performed by over 250 puppeteers, including John Landis and TIm Burton.

Really I can't say enough about this film. I love it dearly and it will always be my favorite film, and it is my number one comfort film, whenever I need it. I hope everyone else enjoys this film as much as I do.