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The Muppets are, in their own way, very much like James Bond. There are expectations for each movie; gags that must be present -- Piggy must THWACK her beloved Kermie and so forth. The trick is to keep it all fresh. When the Muppets have a solid story on which to lampoon, the visual and aural hoo-hahs fly fast and furious. Here, they do. Brian Henson, in his second outing as Keeper of the Franchise succeeds admirably in packing the screen full of visual puns.
OK, enough with the "sound like a film critic talk". On to Muppet Treasure Island.
It's too bad you have to read this because Cranky does one, mean Pirate voice, that he does me mateys. That he does.
So there be Jim Hawkins, swabbing the deck in ern out of ther way tavernplace, when a Pirate Treasure map falls inter his hands. But first, there must be a SONG!!!!
In their last outing, the Muppets took on (and apart) Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". This time out they turn their fuzzy felt bodies towards Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island". Along the way take apart bits and pieces of Casablanca, Evita, Mickey Mouse, Lupe Velez movies and a couple of bits of PC terminology. Gonzo the Great stars, so there's more than a fair share of masochism jokes. It's not one-Gonzo sided. Beeker takes more than his share of abuse as well. Also at the top of the bill is Rizzo the Rat (you can't have a piRATe movie without one......)
We get most of the humans out of the way right up front. Absolutely Fabulous' Jennifer Saunders, here a walking visual joke on top of everything else, and British comic Billy Connolly set everything up for the story of Jim Hawkins (Kevin Bishop). There's a pirate treasure map. There s a ship and pirates and everybody sings a lot of songs which, frankly, Cranky never really did care for. But if Tim Curry, as the pirate Long John Silver, can interrupt his song to ask the patience of the audience because "It's my only number" well I can do it.
Yes, "Treasure Island" (the real one) is a solid story, and yes, the Muppets rip it to shreds. You know it works when each character's "Entrance" is greeted with audience applause. They're all here -- Zoot, Animal, Beeker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, the Swedish Chef, Statler and Waldorf. And, of course, the Pig, the Frog, the Rat (Rizzo) and the Whatever (Gonzo).
The most radiant Miss Piggy plays Kermit's jilted love Benjamina Gunn, now known to her adoring native worshipers (well, what did you expect???) as Queen Sha-Ka-La-Ka. That's pronounced sha-KA-la-KA. Her grand entrance is proceeded by the chanting of her name again and again. Yep, add drums and the name becomes just what you think -- there's a bit of the disco staple "Boogie Oogie Oogie" tossed in for good measure.
Lastly (appropriate, dontcha think?) there's Fozzie, who introduces "Mr. Bimble" -- who you'll just have to see to believe.
MTI is not for very small children. Despite the comedy, the story in and of itself is dark enough that some of the wee kidlets in the audience were not happy.
And had you absolutely no exposure to the Muppets whatsoever... well get some!
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price for Muppet Treasure Island, he would have paid . . .
(Plus a quarter for a Tim Curry gag buried in the closing credits.)
Yeah, OK, Cranky fully and honestly admits to holding a major Jones for felt. So feel free to knock a buck off the rating if you don't, and it'll still be accurate.
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