Cert: U Runtime: 99 mins Director: Brian Henson Cast: Tim Curry, Kevin Bishop, Billy Connolly, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire and Frank Oz
Off to Zanzibar, to meet the Zanzibarbarians!
Recently I have been reading on Jim Henson and The Muppets. It was a great part of my childhood and still has a warm place in my heart. Muppet Treasure Island is one of my favourite Muppet movies, so this is why it’s this weeks blast from the past.This is the fifth theatrical Muppet movie, and the second one made after creator Jim Henson’s premature death. For this one, they took a 19th century story and incorporated the Muppets into it, just like they did with the first 90’s movie featuring the famous puppet performers. “The Muppet Christmas Carol” is an adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens and “Muppet Treasure Island” is an adaptation of “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson. After telling the story of Flint’s last journey to young Jim Hawkins (Kevin Bishop), Billy Bones (Billy Connolly) has a heart attack and dies just as Jim and his friends are attacked by pirates. The gang escapes into the town where they convince Squire Trelawney to hire out a boat and crew to find the hidden treasure, which was revealed by Bones before he died. On their voyage across the seas, they soon find out that not everyone on board can be trusted.
The opening sequence features the first song in the film, “Shiver My Timbers”. I really liked this song as a kid and still do. It’s an intense tune with a great melody. The film then goes from there to the inn, and there certainly are funny moments here. Gonzo and Rizzo, the first two Muppets that appear in the film, are definitely a part of the humour, and it helps that Billy Bones is played by Billy Connolly, a talented comedian. It also isn’t long before the story gets exciting. After Jim, Gonzo, and Rizzo leave the inn, more Muppets soon appear, starting with Fozzie Bear as Squire Trelawney’s son, who soon mentions Mr. Bimble, an imaginary man who lives in his finger. Even though this is very silly, it still made me laugh. As usual, the Muppets generally don’t fail to provide laughs, and while most of the characters in the film are played by Muppets, there are some played by on screen actors other than Connolly. Tim Curry really stands out as Long John Silver. In addition to the humour, characters, and performances, this is also a movie with a lot of excitement and very impressive visuals. Most of the songs are not great, unlike the first one, but none of them are that bad. Also, the humour may get a BIT kiddish at times, the Mr. Bimble jokes may not always be that funny, and I didn’t care much for certain moments in the movie with Miss Piggy as Benjamina Gunn, but other than that, there really aren’t too many problems I can think of.
This was the Muppets’ last feature film before “Muppets From Space”, their sixth film, which was released three years after this one. The only time I’ve even seen that 1999 film was in 2008, and I remember finding it kind of hard to believe that came only three years after “Muppet Treasure Island”. Now that I’ve seen the other five theatrical Muppet movies again since seeing the 1999 effort, I honestly think that’s the only bad one! Unlike the rest of them, I really thought it wasn’t that funny and was also too dark for the Muppets. The other five are good, even though some are better than others, and “The Muppet Movie” is probably the best of them all. As the Muppets’ second flick made after Jim Henson’s sad passing, “Muppet Treasure Island” may not be as good as the first 90’s film featuring the famous puppets, but at least it comes very close. I know it’s far from being the most popular film in the franchise, but I thought it was a good family adventure movie.