|In this episode: Muppets From Sapce | More Digital News|
MUPPETS FROM SPACE
Oh, those Muppets! They are so lovable and wacky. There's nothing like them. Take a favorite sock of yours and stitch on some googly eyes and a red felt tongue. It's your favorite sock, right? And you made it yourself, right? And even though it's ugly, it's yours and you made it and love it, right? Well, the Muppets are still more lovable. It's a rare instance of prefabrication winning out over old-fashioned goodness.
Muppets From Space is goofy and silly and wacky and all the things you'd expect from a movie starring Muppets. It also has quite an involved story that includes alien communication from outer space, self-doubt and confusion, the love of extended family, intrusion by a secret government agency, work rivalry, invisibility, a brain sucking machine, a talking sandwich, and a prawn doing ballet.
The best part for me about this movie is it includes a lot of the new Muppets from Muppets Tonight, formerly of ABC and now of Disney Channel. Muppets Tonight is a brilliant show. There are a couple episodes that will forever remain examples of perfect comedic writing. I have no idea if they will eventually produce more episodes of this show, but we can only hope. Muppets Tonight is an on-the-nose mix of non-sequiturism and pop-cultural punditry, a clean-minded South Park. This is kind of what I was hoping for from Muppets From Space.
Well, it may not be fair to compare a half-hour show to a feature-length movie (wait, it worked for South Park!), but Muppets From Space is missing that sharp edge found in the show. This is not bad, though, it just means the movie is more movie and less show, more story and less gag. That makes it a strong film. And there were definitely times I was laughing hilariously. But I was kind of bored a couple times. Oh, I hate to say that, but it's true. I got a little bored. It has to do with Rizzo the Rat. I don't really like Rizzo; I generally think he's annoying and unfunny. Here, while he didn't bother me nearly as much as usual, I got tired of him. I also have never been much of a Miss Piggy fan, and she has a lot to do in this movie. Again, she did have some great moments and didn't bother me as much as usual, but she was quite prominent. To make me sound like a broken record, Gonzo, the character around which the movie is centered, also has been just kinda funny for me in the past. But I didn't mind him at all in this movie. He was actually touching and sad! Gonzo as a dramatic character. The universe always amazes me. (Oh, and he was part of the excellent Muppets Tonight segment with the Refined Young Cannonballs. More points there for Gonzo.)
What I really wanted was more of the truly funny characters, most of which are part of Muppets Tonight. Johnny Fiamma and Sal make a cameo, but oh I wanted more. Maybe some Andy and Randy pig. Thankfully, a couple of the Muppets Tonight characters get lots of screen time. To wit: Dr. Neuter and Pepe the King Prawn (I wasn't sure exactly what he was until this movie, to be honest). But Pepe without Seymour? Dr. Neuter without Mulch? Okay, so I got half my wish. I am therefore half happy.
Oh, that's not true. I am happy. The movie was fun, funny, clever, and cute. So I'm just being a Statler and Waldorf, here. One of the strengths of this movie is the sight gags. There are some doozies, and they made me laugh harder than anything else.
Muppets From Space is good fun, and while you won't laugh nearly as hard as you will watching the South Park movie, hey, this is better family entertainment. And it's Muppets! We can all use more Muppets.
MORE DIGITAL PROJECTION NEWS
There is news today that Disney will be showing Tarzan using digital projection. Three theatersin Orlando, Burbank, and Irvinewill be using the Texas Instruments DLP system, the same one used in the digital projection of Star Wars One I saw a few weeks ago.
According to the same story, An Ideal Husband has been projected digitally at the Sunset 5 in Hollywood since mid-June. Hmm! Who knew?
I saw Muppets From Space at the same AMC in which the digital Star Wars is playing, so after the movie I popped by just to get another look. After coming from a traditionally-projected movie, the digital Star Wars looked more like video. Again, the skin tones were bad, but the resolution was not as good as film. While the colors were vibrant and the image sharp, there was a flatness to it all. Like watching video! So I still stick by my belief that digital projection needs another 5 years to be perfected.
|©1999 Steven Lekowicz|