Jerry Nelson

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The Dark Crystal Review


OK
Is there such a thing as a children's cult film? The Dark Crystal may be as close as we have, but Jim Henson and Frank Oz's collaboration won't keep many of today's kids entertained for long. Kooky creatures are the lasting legacy of the film; the story doesn't inspire much excitement -- as one puppet (whose mouth barely moves when he talks) is tasked with healing a broken crystal and thus thwarting the impending rule of a gang of other, evil puppets. His journey takes the form of an almost casual stroll through his magical kingdom, as he encounters one outlandish creature after another en route to victory. Overly simplistic, I'll frankly take Labyrinth when it comes to fantasy puppet movies.

The Great Muppet Caper Review


Good
"Great?" I'm not sure about that, but this minor kiddie classic is reasonably entertaining, if only for the chance to see Charles Grodin falling in love for a stuffed pig.

The film opens with amazing promise: Immediately dazzling us with a plethora of Hollywood in-jokes (the poking of fun begins with Kermit and Fozzie mocking the opening credits). A musical number ensures us of the myriad thrills and chills that will soon arrive.

Continue reading: The Great Muppet Caper Review

The Great Muppet Caper Review


Good
"Great?" I'm not sure about that, but this minor kiddie classic is reasonably entertaining, if only for the chance to see Charles Grodin falling in love for a stuffed pig.

The film opens with amazing promise: Immediately dazzling us with a plethora of Hollywood in-jokes (the poking of fun begins with Kermit and Fozzie mocking the opening credits). A musical number ensures us of the myriad thrills and chills that will soon arrive.

Continue reading: The Great Muppet Caper Review

The Muppet Christmas Carol Review


Weak
Well, the Muppets have taken their turn at just about every other story known to man, why not Dickens' A Christmas Carol, too? Unfortunately, talking animal puppets and a largely cold drama don't really mix, and this strange melange of kiddie flick and Christmas fable never quite comes together.

Case in point: Charles Dickens, who narrates this film himself, is played by -- get this -- Gonzo. He's not a writer, he's a lamplighter who takes a break from his work to tell the story of Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine), the famous miser who (in this version) wants to give Bob Crachit (played by Kermit the Frog) a mere half-hour off for Christmas and is the subject of jokes at local gatherings. People and puppets mix at random here. Unlike in films like The Muppet Movie, where the puppets are on a crusade to reach Hollywood and the humans encompass only characters they encounter on the way, The Muppet Christmas Carol blends both together. It's a little freaky to see them all sitting together -- in British period dress, too -- around the Christmas dinner table.

Continue reading: The Muppet Christmas Carol Review

Muppets From Space Review


OK
Many critics will disagree with me, but I'm of the opinion that the Muppets, as characters, can do no wrong. Each Muppet has well-developed, quirky traits that make people of all ages love them. And that is what saved this film.

Unlike most of the other Muppet films, our featured star in this particular one is Gonzo. As we all know, Gonzo is a "Whatever", but this explanation of his species is no longer good enough for the long-nosed freak. He longs for family, and the satisfaction of knowing what he is. Then no sooner than you can say, "Wakka-Wakka", Gonzo's origins begin to reveal themselves. And they do this, ever so appropriately, through his breakfast cereal (well I thought it was funny).

Continue reading: Muppets From Space Review

The Muppet Movie Review


Excellent
Like most movies of its year, The Muppet Movie looks (and is) really dated. But it's worth it to willingly suspend disbelief at how dated it is --- to appreciate the good-natured humor and comedic flair of Jim Henson. Henson tried to entertain both kids and adults, and though both audiences were probably easier to please in the days before all comedy became irony-soaked, Henson was one of the first to add sly postmodern touches. And while the movie promotes the annoying myth of Hollywood as the dream factory, magic store, etc. it more than makes up for it by borrowing comedians from several generations, from then-new comics like Steve Martin and Elliott Gould to veterans like Bob Hope and Orson Welles(!), for an endless string of cameo appearances.

The plot loosely follows the odyssey of Kermit the Frog from his swamp home to Hollywood in search of celebrity. The desirability of fame and stardom is never questioned. The Hollywood worship becomes pretty maudlin at the end, thanks mainly to songwriter Paul Williams, whose songs are palatable at first ("Rainbow Connection" was a hit) but become too much before the end of the movie.

Continue reading: The Muppet Movie Review

The Dark Crystal Review


OK
Is there such a thing as a children's cult film? The Dark Crystal may be as close as we have, but Jim Henson and Frank Oz's collaboration won't keep many of today's kids entertained for long. Kooky creatures are the lasting legacy of the film; the story doesn't inspire much excitement -- as one puppet (whose mouth barely moves when he talks) is tasked with healing a broken crystal and thus thwarting the impending rule of a gang of other, evil puppets. His journey takes the form of an almost casual stroll through his magical kingdom, as he encounters one outlandish creature after another en route to victory. Overly simplistic, I'll frankly take Labyrinth when it comes to fantasy puppet movies.
Jerry Nelson

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