Take a Drink: for every old funk song used in place of a musical number
Take a Drink: for shitty 90s CGI
Drink a Shot: for any B or Z-grade cameo appearance
Write Down: your favorite bit part Muppets and Drink a Shot when they make an appearance. (Note: This game works with any Muppet film)
By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Six Pack) –
Plagued by recurring dreams in which he is reminded that he’s alone in the world, Gonzo is seized with feelings of ennui. The sad fact is that Gonzo doesn’t know who he really is, or where he came from. One day, Gonzo starts seeing cryptic messages telling him that he is being watched, and asking to respond back. When Gonzo watches the stars one night, it finally dawns on him that he is a space alien left alone on planet earth, and his family are trying to reach him. Meanwhile an evil government agent (Jeffrey Tambor) follows Gonzo’s progress, fearful that an invasion is looming on the horizon.
I have no idea what happened between 1996’s Muppet Treasure Island and the production of this film, but whatever it was sucked all of the heart and life out of the Muppets series. Thank God we live in a time when the Muppets have seen some level of a resurgence, because to be a Muppet fan in 1999 has to have been thoroughly depressing. The most positive thing I can say about Muppets From Space is that there are a few laughs here and there, in between a series of atrociously staged and paced comedic segments which could ravage the soul of even the most forgiving fan of the franchise. The basic concept of Gonzo finally finding out what he is should have been a fertile ground to sprout comedic situations, and instead it is salted with a toxic lack of creativity.
This is the first Muppet movie that is not a musical. There are no songs written for the film at all. While that isn’t necessarily an issue, the musical sequences are still in the movie, instead replaced by Funk songs like “Brick House”, and “Shining Star”. I have this theory that these songs were originally temp tracks which were meant to be replaced by original songs later on. It just feels like pure laziness, and has no bearing on the story at all.
Celebrity cameos this time around are plentiful, and not a single one is funny. Point of fact; the last two Muppet movies got along quite well without having to spam the viewer with cameos, and when the older films used them, they at least mostly were worked into the scenes with a sense of humor, or comedic timing. This felt like a parade of has-beens:
Jeffrey Tambor is usually a pleasure to see in this sort of role, as he’s a very talented improvisational comedian. Unfortunately he seems totally lacking in direction here, and likely wasn’t given anything to work with. As a result, his villain character is neither funny or menacing enough to be interesting.
The film opens with a revelation that is positively shocking; Gonzo has apparently been wandering the earth for thousands of years, since Biblical times. This poses some real questions about his family that are never answered. For instance: why was he abandoned on Earth? Why have his family decided to find him only very recently? And how did Gonzo survive 40 days and 40 nights in stormy seas when that asshole Noah turned him away at the Ark for being alone?
The film’s climax when we meet Gonzo’s family is handled with no enthusiasm whatsoever. It is as if the filmmakers simply ran out of time and money to write a proper ending, so they just stuck with an anticlimax in which Gonzo’s family appears; plays a funk song, and leaves without any consequences or ramifications. This was the Muppet film that was supposed to reveal the long-questioned origin of Gonzo as a character, and the fact that Gonzo himself doesn’t seem interested in his own lineage, and elects to stay on Earth despite an invitation to travel the stars, is the laziest of screenwriting.
Well, that sucked…