Besides being a wonderful person, Jim Henson was a genius. While the Muppets continue going strong today, I feel the original productions that Jim was involved in had an extra special spark to them, and it doesn’t get better than The Muppet Movie. For example, I believe this was the first movie to have puppets as the stars with all humans as secondary characters.
Perhaps one reason for the film’s success is that before the movie was made, Jim Henson and collaborator Frank Oz, along with the film’s director James Frawley did a test, bringing the puppets to real locations to see how they would appear in the real world.
This footage is one of the truly special bonus features on this new Blu-ray. I had only seen snippets of this footage in the past, but more than fifteen minutes is presented. Although this piece was not intended to be professional movie making, it will probably keep you as entertained as the movie itself.
Back in 1990, Jim Henson appeared with then CEO Michael Eisner before a live audience at the Disney-MGM Studios, and created a buzz of energy when he pulled Kermit the Frog out for the excited crowd.
The type of content presented in the “screen test” bonus feature includes Kermit telling Fonzie he is made of foam rubber, and that he’s not a real bear – real bears don’t have magenta noses. Fozzie rebuts by telling Kermit he’s got a wire on his arm, but it’s only for movement. This was a treat and hopefully a hint of seeing even more behind-the-scenes treasures in future releases.
Just like Disney, Jim Henson’s Muppets were truly family entertainment that could be enjoyed by any age, and his productions were timeless. The Muppet Movie was written by two of the best: the late Jerry Juhl, also a head writer on the Muppet Show television series, was responsible for so much of the personality and creative, zany humor of the Muppets, and another Muppet Show writer, comic legend Jack Burns. (Are any of you old enough to remember the Burns and Schreiber show?)
For all the chaos and madness in The Muppet Movie, there’s an equal amount of heart. Some of this can be contributed to the beautiful and timeless music, all written by Paul Williams, who also appears as a piano player in the
So don’t just walk - run, sprint, trample over people to grab your copy of one of the greatest movies ever made (IMHO), The Muppet Movie!