Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Movie #454: The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Muppet Christmas Carol is...pretty much just like what it sounds. It stars Michael Caine, a whole fuckton of Muppets (voiced by Steve Whitmire, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, David Rudman), Steven Mackintosh, Jessica Fox, and Meredith Braun.

You know the story. Caine plays Scrooge, Kermit plays Cratchit, Robin plays Tiny Tim, Statler and Waldorf play the Marley brothers. Gonzo plays Charles Dickens as the narrator, with Rizzo the Rat as his sidekick and comic relief.

Now, for all the Muppety stuff, the movie plays it pretty straight. Scrooge is appropriately hard and doesn't make any silly asides or fourth wall breaks (Gonzo takes care of that). Kermit can be earnest and good-hearted with Piggy as his wife, and the scenes where we learn that Tiny Tim has died have some weight because the characters involved haven't been completely ridiculous previously.

The "casting" choices are pretty apt; I'm sure they used Gonzo as the narrator because Frank Oz is still around doing the voices, so Gonzo still sounds like himself, while those of us who have loved the Muppets all our lives still know that Kermit isn't Jim Henson (sadly). It works, though, because Gonzo is far too...well, gonzo to be anyone else. Likewise, Statler and Waldorf are far too fun to be consigned to minor roles, so it makes sense to split the role into two "Marley brothers."

The songs, though...hrm. They're not terribly long, but they're also not terribly interesting. "Marley & Marley" is about the best we get, and even then that includes Statler and Waldorf moaning like weirdos.

All in all, it's a good example of some of the weirdness that the Muppets got into in the 90s, and it's not a terrible interpretation of the source material. I think, though, that if I'm choosing a Muppet movie I'll choose a different one, and if I want A Christmas Carol I'll watch Scrooged.

My Grade: B-
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: The Muppet Movie