The Muppets Movies Ranked

         
 

17 November 2011| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Kermit the Frog. Miss Piggy. Gonzo. And my favorite, Fozzie Bear. Six major theatrical releases have arisen with the ragtag troupe since Jim Henson launched their first movie in 1979. This Thanksgiving weekend we finally get a new Muppets movie simply called The Muppets. The latest installment really is a fine throwback to the franchise’s roots. If you’re still catching up before seeing the new one, here’s a guide of the best to worst in the series.

1. The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) – Yes, the third in the series is my favorite of all. Kermit the Frog and the gang graduate from an east coast college and decide to take their campus act to Broadway. Dabney Coleman is the producer who bankrolls their show, but Kermit has an accident that hurls him into amnesia and turns him into a two-faced meanie. Miss Piggy wants to get married, but not to the arrogant new Frog. Corny soundtrack, but come on, heartwarming musical numbers. Plus, Juliana Donald (she’s a ringer for Rashida Jones) as their human gal pal is absolutely adorable.

2. The Muppet Movie (1979) – The first in the series begins with Kermit leaving his origins of the swamp to hit the road for Hollywood movie success. Fozzie Bear is the first friend he meets. Kermit is in bizarre pursuit by Doc Harper (Charles Durning) who wants him to be a pitchman for his French-fried Frog Legs restaurant chain. Mel Brooks is an evil doctor who will lobotomize Kermit’s friends, or else. Miss Piggy is a shameless moocher who comes and goes throughout the story, and is in most need of the lesson of friends sticking together.

3. The Great Muppet Caper (1981) – Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear are the world’s most harmless reporters, but if they’re going to keep up in the trade then they have to go after a real story. Naturally, the gang goes after jewel thieves in this very English affair set in Great Britain. Their accommodations? The Happiness Hotel, of course! Erstwhile, Miss Piggy is mistaken as a fashion designer. Cameos by John Cleese and Peter Ustinov as stiff upper lip Englishmen.

4. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) – By this point, the series moves away from traditional adventure by acclimating the muppets into classic chartered material, and notably, son Brian Henson moves into replace his father. As a result, Kermit is relegated to a smaller role than we would like to see. Against all reason, it’s actually an effective Dickens’ adaptation because of Michael Caine’s splendidly heartbreaking performance as Ebenezer Scrooge. It’s been said, that even with Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat mugging and pratfalling in the same shared scene, Caine doesn’t even act like he’s in a Muppets movie.

5. Muppets in Space (1999) – The bad rap that ended theatrical Muppets movies until its recent resurrection. The first half hour ain’t bad, with a great rambunctious opening – it’s like the Frat House of Muppets livin’ sloppy like you glimpsed in “The Great Muppet Caper.” But once it gets into the plot of Gonzo longing for contact with his lost ancestors from space, with a hostile military on their tail, it gets stale. And long.

6. Muppet Treasure Island (1996) – For me, even though it adapts Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic fable, it’s the one to stay away from. It actually strains too hard to come up with artsy lighting and camera effects. The classic sea voyage has its majestic moments, but it all forces our beloved Muppets to act out of character to become seafaring characters. Tim Curry plays the sneering Long John Silver, a little too sneeringly.

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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