5 Things That The Muppets… Again! Needs

The Muppets... Again!

The Muppets… Again! is currently filming in London. I haven’t spied Kermit around town, but I live in hope. Emulating the success of The Muppets is going to be difficult. Unless, of course, the filmmakers follow my recipe…

1. More ’80s Robot

’80s Robot was one of the stand out things in The Muppets. He needs to return, bringing with him a host of eighties pop culture artifacts.

2. More Rowlf

Yes, Rowlf did feature in The Muppets, but his role was minimal. Bar Kermit, Rowlf is my favourite Muppet so he needs a bigger role in the sequel.

3. Great Original Songs

The Muppets soundtrack is a fantastic mix of original songs and classic hits. The Muppets… Again! needs to replicate this by giving us more songs like ‘Pictures In My Head’ that may or may not have made me have something in my eye.

4. A Muppet Babies Interlude

Muppet Babies was one of the hot eighties cartoons; which was no mean feat. The Muppets…Again! should pay homage what would have been some viewers’ first introduction to the Muppets.

Muppets Tiny Tim

5. A Cameo from The Muppet Christmas Carol’s Tiny Tim

Have mercy.

The Muppets… Again! is due for release on 21st March 2014.

God Bless Us, Everyone

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Instead of doing a traditional ‘best Christmas movies’ list, I thought I would put a slight spin on it. Below are my top three Christmas films, my top three films set at Christmas (where the main plot revolves around something other than Christmas) and my top three films screened at this time of year (but that have nothing to do with Christmas).

Traditional Christmas Films

1. The Muppet Christmas Carol

What is Christmas without The Muppet Christmas Carol? A surprising faithful adaptation of Dickens’ perennial classic (albeit with Muppets and songs), Brian Henson’s 1992 film is heart warming. Tiny Tim is one of the most endearing characters in film history, while the songs and humour make The Muppet Christmas Carol a festive essential.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas

With beautiful imagery, a great score by Danny Elfman and a charming plot, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas has become a Christmas staple. Jack Skellington does what we all secretly want to do; take over Christmas. Kidnapping the Sandy Claws is not the standard Christmas fare, however it is an awful lot of fun.

3. Scrooged

Another version of A Christmas Carol makes my top three, but for good reason. Yes, the very ending of the film descends into a reservoir of schmaltz. However up to this point, Scrooged is most amusing in its rendition of the Dickens tale by way of a television executive in late 1980s New York. It also features the cutest human Tiny Tim in the form of Calvin.

Films Set At Christmas

1. Batman Returns

‘Come what may, Merry Christmas Mr Wayne’. Batman Returns, set against the backdrop of the festive season, is rather a tragedy. But a fine comic book film, with the festive season rearing its head again and again. Gotham’s own Santa Claus turns about to be not as charitable as you would hope.

2. Gremlins

Subversion is the order of the day in Joe Dante’s Gremlins. The Bedford Falls-esque town is terrorised by small malevolent creatures in this black, Christmas-set comedy. Gizmo is one of the hottest characters ever committed to the silver screen, who wouldn’t want him as a Christmas present?

3. Die Hard

The ultimate Christmas-set action movie, Die Hard is nothing short of iconic. The office Christmas party goes awry, and only one man can save the day. No matter how bad your Christmas Eve may be, it’s a certainty that John McClane’s is worse.

Films Screened At Christmas

1. Labyrinth

I first saw Labyrinth on 24th December 1989. I am not sure if Labyrinth is one of my favourite films because I saw it on Christmas Eve, or if Christmas Eve is my favourite day because that was when I first saw Labyrinth. Whichever way, Labyrinth is a glorious 1980s fantasy musical.

2. The Wizard of Oz

I first saw The Wizard of Oz as a toddler around Christmastime. Needless to say, I was terrified by the Wicked Witch, and confused as to why mother was letting me watch a horror movie at such a young age. Wizard of Oz became a classic because of its constant scheduling in the Christmas period, something that still holds true today.

3. Singin’ in the Rain

My first viewing of Singin’ in the Rain was on Christmas Day. It is another film which has nothing to do with Christmas but is frequently screened in the holiday period. It is easy to see why; memorable tunes, some great comedy and the beguiling talent of Gene Kelly.

Film Review: The Muppet Christmas Carol

One of the finest Christmas movies of all time gets a re-release in time for the festive season.

Charles Dickens, as played by Gonzo, relates the story of A Christmas Carol. Miserly moneylender Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts, who attempt to teach him the error of his ways before it is too late…

The Muppet Christmas Carol is in many ways the perfect Christmas film. It combines comedy, emotion and drama in a way that appeals to viewers of all ages. Moreover, the musical numbers are very catchy.

Charles Dickens’ infamous Christmas fable is one that has been adapted numerous times. In a sense this version adds little to it except Muppets and songs. However, the reason the film works as well as it does is because the characters are endearing and the Muppet style of humour is in abundance.

The Muppet Christmas Carol is surprisingly faithful to its source material, despite most of the characters being played by Muppets. Much of the dialogue is lifted directly from Dickens’ story; the only break from this is the original songs. Furthermore, unlike many adaptations that have given the story a contemporary setting, Brian Henson’s film retains the Victorian London setting and the atmosphere that this provides.

Michael Caine makes a great Scrooge, bringing to the role the required exaggerated meanness. The Muppets are well cast in their respective roles, particularly Kermit as Bob Cratchitt and Rizzo the Rat as Charles Dickens’ sidekick. The Muppet Christmas Carol also features the cutest Tiny Tim.

Given that the film is twenty years old, it may be expected that special effects now appear dated. While this is true of the older DVD edition, on the big screen print special effects look fine.

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a festive classic for good reason. The cinematic re-release will allow a new audience to engage with it.

The Muppets Trailer

I love The Muppets! I used to love Muppet Babies and Muppets Tonight back in the 1990s. The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of my favourite Christmas films. Therefore many months ago, I was very excited to hear that a new Muppet movie was in production. I thought my days of scouring the Disney Store for Muppet merchandise would be over; Kermit toys would be bountiful. The Muppets is released in the US shortly, but we do not get to see it until 10th February 2012 in the UK. In the mean time, here are the trailer and a still from the movie. Cannot wait for this one!