The latest Muppet movie begins at the end. Not like in media res, I mean like the first thing you see in this movie are the giant words “THE END.” We’re back at the end of the last Muppet movie, and it slowly dawns on the Muppets that the cameras are still rolling. This could mean only one thing!
Obviously, James Bobin forgot to shout cut.
No, wait, the Muppets are doing a sequel! So, the movie begins with a meta moment when the Muppets realize they’re now in a sequel, and they sing an absolutely hilarious song about this fact entitled “We’re Doing a Sequel.” So now they’re puppets, who are actors, who are playing themselves in a movie. It’s kind of like This is The End, except I don’t think James Franco is a puppet. At least I’m pretty sure he’s not.
Anyway, the best part? This movie was going to be called The Muppets Again! Because it’s about the Muppets, again! It’s so absurdly stupid it’s kind of brilliant, which is why it was changed at the last moment to Muppets Most Wanted. They went with a more descriptive, less generic title that somehow managed to be less descriptive and more generic.
Everybody got that?
Good, now explain it to me.
Looks like we have an addendum to the addendum; but since this movie comes out next week (and our own beloved editor is apparently clueless about its existence), now is a good time to share the trailer for Muppets Most Wanted.
Muppets Most Wanted stars (besides the Muppets, obviously) Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell and is directed by James Bobin. It hits American theaters on March 21.
Just in time for the new Disney Muppets film Muppets Most Wanted (hitting theaters this March) comes a new tie-in book, The Muppets Character Encyclopedia. According to the Muppet Wiki, this 200-page hardcover book features entries on more than 150 Muppet characters and more than 600 full-color photographs. “The most sensational, inspirational, muppetational character encyclopedia ever! You can play the music, light the lights, and meet all your favourite characters from the Muppets in The Muppets Character Encyclopedia. From Animal to Zoot, meet over 150 of the most memorable and best-loved Muppet characters from the 1970s to the present day. It is packed with facts about Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, The Swedish Chef, and all their wild and wacky buddies. Featuring full-colour images of each Muppets character with annotations. Fact files provide info on each character (and some little known facts), including their role in the Muppets pantheon and details of their first appearance.” It’s available now on Amazon from Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd.
Since 2009, artist and writer Roger Langridge has been playing in Jim Henson’s world by creating various comic book series featuring the Muppets for Boom! Studios. Titles like The Muppets, The Muppet Show, and The Muppet Show: The Treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson. Now, over at Marvel Comics, they’ve announced that all of these titles have been brought together to be released in march in a new hardcover collection, The Muppets Omnibus. The Comic Book Resources page has a more complete preview of this full-color collection, coming next year on the Disney Comics imprint.
Walt Disney Pictures have announced several upcoming feature films, and among them is the sequel to the successful 2011 re-launch of The Muppets. Currently titled The Muppets… Again, the new film is scheduled for release in March of 2014. According to The Muppet Wiki, “The film is planned to be a ‘comedy caper’ set in Europe. Ricky Gervais will star as ‘a male lead whose intentions are always in question’ along with Ty Burrell as an Interpol inspector, Tina Fey as a ‘Russian femme fatale,’ and a ‘slew of cameos’”. [Oh like they ever have that in a Muppet movie!] The sequel will be again directed by James Bobin, and scripted by Nick Stoller, who co-wrote the 2011 film with star Jason Segel.
Muppet fans around the world were recently saddened by another loss: Jerry Nelson, who had one of the longest careers of anyone in the world of Jim Henson’s Muppets, passed away on Thursday the 23rd at the age of 78. He was best known by legions of children around the world — including many who are now adults — as the voice and puppeteer of Count von Count, the beloved Sesame Street character who loved to count things as much as he loved to laugh maniacally. He was also the voice of the seldom-seen mammoth-like Mr. Snuffleupagus, Herry Monster, and Robin — Kermit the Frog’s young nephew. More recently he was the voice and hands behind Floyd Pepper, bass player for The Electric Mayhem on The Muppet Show and subsequent movies. And after that, he brought to life Gobo Fraggle, the leader of the band of colorful characters on Fraggle Rock. So far, there’s no word on how Mr. Nelson’s passing might affect any plans that Jim Henson Productions (or their current owner, the Walt Disney Company) might have for a Fraggle Rock movie. As for Mr. Nelson… as Floyd Pepper might say, Rest in Peace my man.
In case you missed it, Archaia Entertainment have collected several of their comic book titles based on the work of Muppets creator Jim Henson into a series of hardcover full-color graphic novels. First up is Jim Hensons Dark Crystal, Creation Myths. From the pre-release publicity, this is “an original graphic novel hardcover set one thousand years before the crystal cracked, before the world of Thra fell to strife and destruction. Original Dark Crystal movie concept designer Brian Froud will plot, provide the cover, design characters, and art direct.” The stories are by Brian Holguin, and the interior art is by Alex Sheikman and Lizzy John. Archaia have also collected Jim Henson’s The Storyteller in a hardcover volume, with stories written by Katie Cook and illustrations by a bevy of well-known artists. Up next is an original graphic novel based on Jim Henson’s film Labyrinth, which Archaia editor-in-chief Stephen Christy speaks about on their web site.
2011 has come and gone. Before we all get excited about 2012, now is a good time to take one last look at the best the past year had to offer. In movies, anyway.
Roger Ebert has written that the best way to enjoy a movie is in a crowded, reactive theater. I beg to differ.
The best way to enjoy a movie is in an empty theater, where you do not have to worry about your fellow moviegoer’s reactions coloring your own.
I learned this lesson from the Muppets; perhaps my fondest movie theater experience is having an entire theater alone with just my family watching The Muppet Christmas Carol. It's probably neither the studio’s nor the theater owner’s favorite way for you to watch a movie on the big screen, but if you find yourself laughing out loud alone in the dark, you know that it is really you laughing.
Sadly for the Muppets, but happily for me, I had the theater all to myself for The Muppets. I found myself laughing in the dark once more.
Now that the Warner Brothers comics aren't being done by huge committees, the practice has moved to the Arch* companies. For better or worse, I can't say. Also there's a huge selection of non-pamphlet items this month, including three huge pricey bargains from Fantagraphics that I'd go for if I didn't have everything already. If you rely mainly on a standard pull list at your comic shop, you need to read this month's selections.