MUPPETS FROM SPACE
The Great Gonzo is depressed: of all the Muppets - Pig, Frog, Bear, Animal, Rat - he is
the only one who isn't, um, Something. And he is the only one who is alone. Then he gets
messages from outer space (well, he thinks he does, the rest of the Muppets think he is
cracked) and he realises his long-lost rellies are actually aliens and coming to find him.
Unfortunately the messages are also picked up by K. Edgar Singer (Jeffrey Tambor) an evil
bureaucrat in charge of a government spook facility cunningly disguised as a cement works.
Gonzo and his best pal Rizzo the Rat are Muppetnapped by the spooks after appearing on
UFOmania, a TV chat show fronted by Andie MacDowell - until she's porkchopped by Miss
Piggy, that is. Rescue by the rest of the Muppets and a meeting with the extraterrestrial
Gonzos is what happens next.
"I saw Muppets From Space with a 4-year-old, who would appear to be the prime
target audience. Neither of us found it "hilarious" as the blurb suggests, and
although it was nice to see Gonzo in the lead, it became obvious very quickly why he
hasn't been a star before. Although the younger member of the party didn't fidget that
much, the elder did. We didn't mind the movie, but we weren't exactly rapt. Director Tim
Hill trundles the thing along as if driving a cement truck: slowly and carefully. It's
gorgeously colourful and lovely to look at, as usual, but Muppet fans may be disappointed
that, for instance, real stars like Sam Eagle and Fozzie Bear get so little of the action.
(Miss Piggy is piggy as ever, but then isn't she always? And Kermie could have phoned in
his performance from a lilypad in Beverly Hills.) Okay for a baking hot afternoon in an
air conditioned cinema, but don't expect real Muppet magic."
"The Muppet creators are up to their usual high standard with this latest effort.
Sure, modern technology with its whizz bang computerised animation has left them behind.
And sure, there are the boring bits for adults. But somehow the people behind the Muppets
always give us a film with a heart and enough cute, memorable moments that still keep
coming back to us days later to put a smile on our faces. One such moment here is when
Rizzo the Rat is sent to the rat experimental laboritories by the bad guys. Weíre
presented with a bunch of rats so rich in character that when they are put through their
paces by the sadistic scientist, Dr. Tucker (David Arquette), the results are quite
hysterical. There are enough other such moments to sustain the film. The question for the
real Muppet connoisseur, with Kermit, Fozzy Bear, and Miss Piggy very much in the
background, becomes: is Gonzo a big enough star to carry the film as the lead character?
Initially it seems doubtful, but as the film progresses how can we not care about someone
who feels so totally alone in this world. And besides, he has excellent support from Rizzo
the Rat and very cool newcomers Pepe the Prawn (donít call him a shrimp) and Bobo the
Bear (always funny). OK, so the attempted satire of the movie never gets past the obvious.
Itís a Muppet movie. Just sit back and enjoy the ride."
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MUPPETS FROM SPACE (G)
CAST: Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Bill Barretta, Jerry Nelson, Kevin Clash, Frank Oz,
Jeffrey Tambor, F. Murray Abraham
DIRECTOR: Tim Hill
PRODUCER: Martin G. Baker, Brian Henson
SCRIPT: Jerry Juhl
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Alan Caso
EDITOR: Richard Pearson, Michael A. Stevenson
MUSIC: Jamshied Sharifi
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stephen Marsh
RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Col TriStar
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: December 26, 1999
VIDEO RELEASE: June 28, 2000
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment