Ultrasonic’s thoughts: The Muppet Movie (Original)

Kermit. Fozzie. Miss Piggy. Gonzo. Etc. To many people, these names are pretty commonplace. But back in the day – namely in the late 70s – there weren’t too many people who knew who these folks were. And for yours truly I never knew who the Muppets were until the original animated Muppet Babies series. But between the Muppet show, and especially this movie, I can see how the world was introduced to these characters and how said characters gained the following that they have.

The way the story begins is great. Basically it has all the characters from The Muppet Show in a movie theater and then transitions to Kermit in a swamp singing to himself, nothing more. But then a chance encounter with a talent agent who was also rowing his boat in that same area changes things, for the agent tells Kermit that the latter has talent/potential and should try his hand at show business in Hollywood. And beyond being able to make a great living, Kermit would be able to do what he loves – performing and making people happy. Deciding to take a chance Kermit makes his way to Hollywood, but not before encountering an aspiring stand-up comedian named Fozzie Bear who also has Hollywood dreams too and Kermit offers to invite Fozzie along, to which the latter happily accepts. Now one would think that these two would be well on their way and that would be that, but in true Hollywood movie fashion, this is anything but simple, because Kermit and Fozzie end up encountering Doc Hopper who has a plan of his own – making Kermit as his mascot for Hopper’s struggling fast food business, which include frog legs.

Managing to evade the man for a while, Kermit and Fozzie hit the road, encountering other great characters along the way like Gonzo, Rowlf, Miss Piggy, Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, who all decide to come along with the exception of the latter band, and all the while trying to stay a few steps ahead of Doc Hopper, who isn’t going to stop until he has made Kermit his mascot. Even if that means doing it by force.

Eventually Kermit decides he has had enough of being chased and decides to confront Doc Hopper and his gang, with help from his friends.

Finally, Kermit and friends – with Dr. Teeth’s band in tow this time – make their way to Hollywood and manage to secure not just Kermit’s audition, but auditions for everyone, which leads into the end of the movie, which is just what everyone had been watching.

In all, this is a fun movie, and with a near-perfect combination of tongue-in-cheek humor, fourth-wall breaking, guest stars and good music, this is one that will tap into that inner child in you. While Jim Henson never intended for the Muppets to only be for kids, he did say something that I think may have gotten lost over the years:

“The Muppets aren’t really for children, but rather the child in all of us.”

Jim Henson

And that right there is what makes the Muppets work, and why they have managed to stick around even after Jim Henson’s passing. The characters each have something about them that audiences can latch onto, and with each generation there isn’t really too much reinvention. And with this film audiences get to see that. And even when the characters do their musical numbers it blends with the story so well that you can’t help but smile and laugh in the best of ways.

Plus, the message in the movie is a nice one, and one that we as people tend to forget: that it isn’t always about the destination, but the journey. From the places you go, to the people you meet, the experiences you have – that’s what makes life special, not just the endgame, but all the things leading up to it.

So, if you haven’t seen this classic movie yet, go check it out!