Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas (2002) Review:

Jim Henson's Muppet crew is known for making memorable, heartwarming, emotional performances. However, for this holiday film particularly, I saw, nor experienced none of this for 3/4 of the film. It was not until about 10 minutes to the end, did this Muppet vehicle actually produce some smiles. As for the rest, audiences will be frowning at the screen.

Ms. Bitterman (Cusack) bashing Kermint
This Muppet Christmas story is mainly about Kermit. Yes, the story does have his friends in it but for the most part, they are mostly shunned from the screen. As the days get closer and closer to Christmas Eve, the Muppets come to realize that they owe payment to the rotten, nasty real-estate mogul, Rachel Bitterman (Joan Cusack). The problem, if Ms. Bitterman doesn't get her payment on time, she will boot the Muppets from their theater and replace it with a racy dance club.

I really don't think writers Tom Martin and Jim Lewis knew what Christmas movies entail tone wise. This film hardly had any joy in it all. Cusack's character is so bad, that her character practically has equal amount of screen time as Kermit. And the fact that one of Ms. Bitterman's assistants thinks everything she says is a sexual innuendo is not funny at all. It's a Muppet Christmas film, how is that appropriate!? And the worst part is, is that it's not even Cusack's character that was cruel to the Muppets. The whole script had all from celebrities to other movie parodies stomping all over the Muppets.

Let's also not forget how the story was told. This movie is one of those films where it places you in the middle of everything and then rewinds to show you everything you missed. Is that absolutely necessary? There's no need for cutting in and out between scenes just to have Whoopie Goldberg (playing God) contemplating the obvious saying, "This doesn't look good", to a fellow angel, the awkward Daniel, who brings up the whole issue to her, played by David Arquette.

Daniel (right) trying to calm Kermit down.....
The whole job of Daniel is to show Kermit that his life isn't over no matter how hard it seems. Daniel does this by showing him another virtual world where Kermit had never been born. Making things worse, the initial meeting between these two characters is not funny or happy. To have Kermit screaming "I WISH I'D NEVER BEEN BORN" a dozen times and Arquette's character sweating for not knowing what to do, is not making the film anymore enjoyable. Plus, the other world Daniel shows Kermit is fairly dark for a children’s movie. This whole subplot is just filler and it should have been omitted.

The special effects are standard for 2002 and the music Mark Watters had its emotional tunes but this time it dragged the film down. It's rare that an audience runs across a film score that actually works at evoking the right tones but all for the wrong reasons. Watters produces an assisting score but the tone of the story is so negative, that the score never accelerates the movie any. This is a real disappointment from the Muppet crew. There was even a small voice cameo by Mel Brooks playing what looked like Jack Frost's (1998) grandpa, and that character was left out too.

This Muppet production is a sad attempt at making a jolly Christmas film. The tone is heavily depressing and the gags are intentionally mean spirited.

Points Earned --> 4:10

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