Friday, January 6, 2012

Movie Review: The Muppet Christmas Carol

This was the first Muppet movie produced after the sudden death of Jim Henson in 1990 due to flesh-eating disease (Streptococcus pyogenes). The first time I can remember watching it was the first time I flew down to Texas to spend Christmas with Leann's family. It is one of the Christmas movies they traditionally watch.[1] We watched it in her mom's van while driving around doing some Christmas shopping. (I think that was my first experience watching a movie in a moving vehicle, too.)

My verdict: Having a live actor take the part of the main character (Michael Cain), was an interesting choice for a Muppet movie. Cain makes a better mean Scrooge than reformed, but overall does a good job. I'm impressed with how many Muppet characters were created for this movie—especially considering that many of them only saw a few seconds of screen time. The two big Muppets (ghosts of Christmas present and future) just didn't work for me, and there was a bizarre instance of a lobster leaning out of a snow-laden window, but other than that I thought they did a pretty good job. They also make good use of many of the conventional Muppet characters. Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat provide some nice meta-story comedy. Turning Statler and Waldorf into two Marleys (the second is Robert Marley, i.e. Bob Marley) was kind of fun and changing Fezziwig to Fozziewig was clever. And I always like seeing Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker, the Swedish Chef, and Animal make their cameos.


[1] The only other version of A Christmas Carol that they own is the 1970 musical, Scrooge (read my review here).

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