“Muppet Treasure Island”

MOVIE REVIEW: “Muppet Treasure Island” stars Kevin Bishop (The Spanish Apartment, Russian Dolls), Tim Curry (Clue [1985], The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Dave Goelz (Fraggle Songs [1983 TV series], The Dark Crystal), Steve Whitmire (Sesame Street [TV series], The Jim Henson Hour [TV series]), Frank Oz (Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, The Blues Brothers), Jerry Nelson (Saturday Night Live [TV series], The Great Muppet Caper), Kevin Clash (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles [1990], Sesame Street [TV series]), Bill Baretta (The Happytime Murders, Muppets Most Wanted), Billy Connolly (Brave, The X-Files: I Want to Believe), and Jennifer Saunders (Shrek 2, Absolutely Fabulous [TV series]). It is directed by Brian Henson (Sid the Science Kid [TV series], The Muppet Christmas Carol), and written by Jerry Juhl (Sam and Friends [TV series], The Muppet Movie), Kirk R. Thatcher (Dinosaurs [TV series], Turkey Hollow [TV movie]), and James V. Hart (August Rush, Hook).

A Muppet spin on the classic tale of Treasure Island, where a young boy (Bishop) embarks on a journey to find hidden treasure with a rag-tag ship crew that may have a few unsuspecting pirates aboard.

Excuse me? A Muppet movie? As our first review of July; mid-July? Yes… yes, indeed. One from the 90’s, at that.

When I was visiting Atlanta last month, I got the chance to tour the Museum of Puppetry, which houses a Jim Henson exhibit. It’s by far the best part of the museum, detailing Jim’s beginnings and how a lot of his early ideas became the things we know and love today (“Sesame Street,” “The Muppets”). I got to see puppets that were actually used on his various programs, from Big Bird to Oscar the Grouch to Kermit the Frog. But there were a select few puppets that caught the eye of my girlfriend: Miss Piggy and a few select pirates from the 1996 Henson picture, “Muppet Treasure Island.” She absolutely adores the film, as it was a big part of her childhood. And having not seen it myself, she of course had us watch it later into the week.

I’m a fan of the Muppets, though not overtly. I haven’t seen their entire catalogue, nor have I gone out of my way to. As a kid, I loved “Muppet Christmas Carol,” and later the 2011 revamp “The Muppets,” but those were really all that I had seen. Well, aside from the mockumentary “Muppets” show that ABC tried to make a hit a few years ago (and failed). I always laughed at their comedy and the design of the puppets fascinated/entertained me. Rightfully so, I expected “Treasure Island” to do the same… and it did.

From start to finish, this picture entertained. The fusion of both Muppets and this old fiction tale is a masterclass, as the talent both in writing and puppeteering create a journey so fun that it’s hard not to laugh or smile. I did quite a bit of each, and found the style of storytelling to be right up my alley (that being the mix of both physical and meta humor). Because this is a period piece as well, the story is quite timeless, as the jokes themselves are either a riff on the “Treasure Island” tale or the film in general.

One of the more interesting elements to a Muppet picture is seeing just where these lovable puppet characters fit into the narrative. Of course, Gonzo and Rizzo saddle themselves with the lead human. Their banter and wit are the most enjoyable; Rizzo’s desire to turn the pirate ship into a luxury cruise for fellow rats had to be one of the greatest comedic elements of the picture. Fozzie, Sam the Eagle, and Miss Piggy were highlights on this adventure as well, each of them delivering a specific brand of humor (Fozzie had to be the most different of the roles he has portrayed). And who could forget Kermit. That frog is my favorite, and seeing him as the ship’s captain was too much fun.

Joining the puppets this go-around are a few humans, the biggest star being Tim Curry. It comes as no surprise that he is the villain. Honestly, if he was revealed to be a good guy in the story, I’d be even more shocked. However, despite the predictability, he pulls off the role extremely well (as he always does), and is a good sport throughout this wacky venture. The story itself is loads of fun, with enough music numbers, comedy bits, and lessons to keep one engaged. Jim Henson’s son takes the directing mantle on this outing, and I believe the man to did an exceptional job with the big shoes he had to fill. There were plenty of moments that I wondered how they pulled off the effects, and the fact that quite a bit of it was practical made it all the better (and less outdated). Sure, there are cheesy parts and predictable elements, but at the end of the day, it’s a fun adventure with a child-like imagination to it. Something that you don’t see often in newer family releases.

“Muppet Treasure Island” is a sincere treat that I believe all families will enjoy. If you have not seen it, but love humorous takes on classic tales, I recommend it. FINAL SCORE: 84%= Juicy Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

One response to ““Muppet Treasure Island”

  1. Pingback: July Movie Rankings | Juicy Reviews·

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