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Muppets from Space

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Director
  
Tim Hill

Initial DVD release
  
October 26, 1999

Duration
  

Country
  
United States

6.2/10
IMDb

4.3/5
Amazon

Genre
  
Adventure, Comedy, Family

Film series
  
The Muppets

Language
  
English

Muppets from Space movie poster

Writer
  
,
Joey Mazzarino

Release date
  
July 14, 1999 (1999-07-14)

Cast
  
Similar movies
  
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Jeff Panacloc perd le contrôle !
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Tagline
  
Space. It's not as deep as you think.

Muppets from space tralier


Muppets from Space is a 1999 American science fiction family comedy film and the sixth feature film to star The Muppets, and the first since the death of Muppets creator Jim Henson to have an original Muppet-focused plot. The film was directed by Tim Hill, produced by Jim Henson Pictures, and released to theaters on July 14, 1999, by Columbia Pictures. The film is a deviation of other Muppet films as it is the only non-musical film. It is also the last Muppet feature film to have the involvement of Frank Oz; he would retire from Muppet performing the following year. The film was shot in Wilmington, North Carolina at EUE/Screen Gems in 1998.

Contents

Muppets from Space movie scenes

Muppets from space survival


Plot

Muppets from Space movie scenes

The Great Gonzo has always been identified as a "whatever"; but, after having disturbing dreams of abandonment and rejection, he begins to realize just how alone he is in the world. One of his nightmares involves his being denied entry by Noah onto his Ark. The next morning, Gonzo tells Kermit the Frog that he is getting tired of being referred to as a "whatever." After an alien race appears to be trying to send him a message through his bowl of cereal, Gonzo realizes that he may not be so alone after all and climbs to the rooftop to watch the sky. Gonzo is struck by a bolt of lightning and communicates with a pair of cosmic fish, who reveal his origins as an alien from outer space.

Muppets from Space movie scenes

Unable to convince Kermit and his friends of the aliens' existence, Gonzo is lured by Agent Baker into the clutches of K. Edgar Singer of C.O.V.N.E.T., a government organization disguised as a cement factory. Singer is aware of the aliens' attempts to communicate and thinks that Gonzo is the key to convincing his superiors that aliens do exist. Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat are taken to C.O.V.N.E.T. by an agent. Rizzo's antics cause himself to be flushed down a tube by a man in black (Hollywood Hulk Hogan). Rizzo ends up having to go through C.O.V.N.E.T.'s rat training and medical research held by Dr. Tucker, alongside other Muppet rats. After Miss Piggy interrogates Baker, she, Kermit, Fozzie Bear, Pepe the King Prawn, and Animal go to rescue Gonzo and Rizzo from C.O.V.N.E.T., using such inventions as a door in a jar, a rubber duck that emits invisibility spray, and mind control gas from Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker.

Muppets from Space movie scenes

A talking sandwich asks Gonzo where the alien ship can land, and Gonzo suggests Cape Doom (a beach), unaware that Agent Rentro (Bobo The Bear) is listening. The gang arrives At the military base to rescue Gonzo and Rizzo. They use invisible spray but when Fozzie washes his hands upon exiting the restroom it wears off. Animal is unleashed upon a female guard. Rizzo frees Gonzo from the dissection table while the rats attack Dr. Phil Van Neuter; Singer and General Luft witness the attack. Luft feels that his time has been wasted and leaves angry. Singer discovers from Rentro that Gonzo is heading for Cape Doom, and he prepares the Subatomic Neutro-Destabilizer to use on the aliens. Rentro tells Singer that his car has been impounded because of unpaid parking tickets; they use the company car--a cement truck.

Muppets from Space movie scenes

The Muppets rescue Gonzo then go to Cape Doom; a crowd of alien-happy spectators await their arrival. The ship comes to Earth and the aliens, who all resemble Gonzo, explain that many years ago they lost him but now welcome him back into the fold. Singer shows up and tries to kill the aliens, but thanks to Rentro (who has disabled his Subatomic Neutro-Destabilizer), he is unable and is laughed at. Gonzo considers going into space with his long-lost family but chooses to stay with his fellow Muppet Show cast-mates. Singer is invited by the aliens to go with them and leaves as Earth's ambassador.

Muppets from Space movie scenes

As the Muppets are watching the stars from the roof, Gonzo tells Kermit he wonders why his family asked him to build a Jacuzzi. Pepe chuckles because he and Rizzo had pretended to be them and asked him to do it.

Cast

Muppets from Space movie scenes

  • Jeffrey Tambor as K. Edgar Singer, the head of C.O.V.N.E.T.
  • Pat Hingle as General Luft, a military official who K. Edgar Singer reports to.
  • Rob Schneider as the TV producer of UFO Mania.
  • Andie MacDowell as Shelley Snipes, a UFO Mania anchorwoman.
  • Gary Owens as UFO Mania Announcer (voice)
  • Muppet performers

    Muppets from Space movie scenes

  • Dave Goelz as The Great Gonzo, Bunsen Honeydew, Waldorf, and Birdman
  • Steve Whitmire as Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Bean Bunny, and Cosmic Fish #1
  • Bill Barretta as Pepe the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear, Johnny Fiama, Bubba the Rat, The Swedish Chef, Rowlf the Dog, and Cosmic Fish #2
  • Jerry Nelson as Robin, Statler, Floyd Pepper, and Ubergonzo
  • Brian Henson as Dr. Phil Van Neuter, Sal Minella, and Talking Sandwich
  • Kevin Clash as Clifford and Carter
  • Frank Oz as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and Sam Eagle (voices only)
  • Adam Hunt as Scooter (voice only)
  • John Henson as Sweetums
  • John Kennedy as Fozzie Bear (puppetry only), Sam Eagle (puppetry only), and Dr. Teeth
  • Peter Linz as Miss Piggy (puppetry only)
  • Rickey Boyd as Animal (puppetry only)
  • Kristina Donnelly as Baab the Lamb
  • In addition, Whitmire, Boyd, Kennedy, Linz, and Drew Massey made on-screen cameos as hippies at Cape Doom.

    Cameos

  • F. Murray Abraham as Noah
  • David Arquette as Dr. Tucker, a sadistic scientist that works at C.O.V.N.E.T. and is in charge of the medical research that involves the rats
  • Josh Charles as Agent Baker, an operative of C.O.V.N.E.T.
  • Kathy Griffin as a female armed guard of C.O.V.N.E.T.
  • Hollywood Hogan as himself, an operative of C.O.V.N.E.T.
  • Ray Liotta as the gate guard at C.O.V.N.E.T.
  • Joshua Jackson as Pacey Witter, a character from Dawson's Creek
  • Katie Holmes as Joey Potter, a character from Dawson's Creek
  • Production

    Frank Oz was not available for most of the film's production. As a result, his characters were performed on set by other Muppet performers, with Oz later looping his voice in post production. For most of the filming, Peter Linz, John Kennedy, and Rickey Boyd performed his characters. Their voices can be heard in several scenes used in the film's theatrical trailer, as well as the blooper reel.

    Muppets from Space would mark the first appearance of Scooter since Muppet Vision 3D (1991). He was voiced by Adam Hunt (brother of Scooter's initial performer Richard Hunt).

    The film's visual effects were provided by Illusion Arts.

    Writing

    An earlier draft of the story was written by Kirk Thatcher called "Muppets in Space." In the screenplay, aliens abducted Kermit because they believed him to be their leader, leading the other Muppets to attempt to save him. A set of Welch's Jelly Glasses were produced based around this theme. According to the production notes featured on the DVD, the film was inspired by Gonzo's song in The Muppet Movie (1979), "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday".

    In a 2009 interview, co-writer Joey Mazzarino revealed that he left the project before shooting started, and stated: "We were working with a director, Randal Kleiser, who had directed Grease, one of my favorite movies. We got the green light, it was Jerry Juhl’s script, and they asked me to do a pass, and I wrote a very parody-heavy script. We parodied Men in Black, Contact, Alien, and we were very close to shooting. Then I got a panicked call from Henson saying that they were firing Randal. They said, 'We don’t feel like he’s bringing enough vision.'... So they flew me out to LA to pick a new director, and we picked a director who was a very nice guy, and he did a decent job, but he wanted to get rid of all the parody stuff."

    Mazzarino disliked the ending of the film, and explained that in his draft Gonzo did not turn out to be an alien. The aliens were getting signals from episodes of The Muppet Show and made themselves to look like Gonzo as they considered him to be the "ultimate being." In the end, they would reveal their hideous forms, and Gonzo would remain a "whatever", with his true family being the Muppets.

    Music

    Muppets from Space was the first Henson musical film to not feature original music, opting instead for a soundtrack consisting primarily of classic soul and funk tracks.

    Some tracks were remade by contemporary artists, such as "Shining Star" by the Dust Brothers featuring Jeymes, and "Dazz" by G. Love and Special Sauce, recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound in Sheffield, Alabama. The band was in the studio recording with Little Milton on the "Welcome To Little Milton" record. The band got a call from Jason Brown, their manager, while in the studio, to record a song for the movie. Will McFarlane, who was a Shoals/Malaco studio regular, and former Bonnie Raitt guitarist, played with the band on the song. Parliament's "Flash Light" was updated by George Clinton as a duet with Pepe the King Prawn named "Flash Light (Spaceflight)".

    Two soundtracks were released featuring music from the film. One was an album containing the classic soul and funk tracks, while the other was an album containing the film's score. The film's score was composed by Jamshied Sharifi with additional work by Rupert Gregson-Williams and released by Varèse Sarabande.

    Earlier drafts of the film contained original music, including the song "Eye 2 the Sky", written and recorded by Ween, which was not included on the soundtrack. This song was intended to be sung by Gonzo. Dave Goelz had also recorded a new rendition of "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday" for this film, a song which had originally appeared in The Muppet Movie. This song was also dropped but was included on the Muppets from Space soundtrack, also sung by Gonzo.

    Release

    According to Brian Henson, the film was planned by The Jim Henson Company to be released in the winter, around February 2000, However, Columbia wanted Muppets from Space to be one of their big summer movies, rushing production and causing there to be less advertising for the film. It also suffered competition from Walt Disney Pictures' Inspector Gadget.

    Box office

    Muppets from Space grossed $22.3 million worldwide against its $24 million budget.

    Critical reception

    On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 63% based on 56 reviews. The site's consensus reads "If Muppets from Space lacks the magic and wit of its cinematic predecessors, this pleasingly silly space romp is funny and clever enough to make for better-than-average family entertainment."

    Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a two-star rating (out of four) and concluded his review by saying that "maybe Muppets from Space is just not very good, and they'll make a comeback. I hope so. Because I just don't seem to care much anymore." Conversely, Robin Rauzi of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review stating that "twenty years after The Muppet Movie and 30 after the beginning of Sesame Street, there is still life in these creations of felt, foam rubber and fake fur. With care, they will easily entertain and educate a third or fourth generation of children. The magic is back."

    In a 2000 interview, Frank Oz described the film as not "up to what it should have been," and "not the movie that we wanted it to be."

    References

    Muppets from Space Wikipedia
    Muppets from Space IMDbMuppets from Space Rotten TomatoesMuppets from Space Amazon.comMuppets from Space themoviedb.org