- Muppets from Space
Muppets from Space
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tim Hill Produced by Brian Henson
Martin G. Baker
Written by Jerry Juhl
Starring The Muppets
F. Murray Abraham
Music by Jamshied Sharifi Cinematography Alan Caso Editing by Richard Pearson
Michael A. Stevenson
Studio Jim Henson Pictures Distributed by Columbia Pictures Release date(s) July 14, 1999 Running time 87 minutes Country United States Language English Budget $24 million Box office $16,625,807
Muppets from Space is 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. This film and The Muppets Take Manhattan are the only two theatrical Muppet movies owned by Sony and not the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, despite the 2004 purchase of the Muppets by The Walt Disney Company.
Gonzo has always been classified as a "whatever," but after he begins to have disturbing dreams of abandonment, he begins to realize just how alone he is in the world. One of his dreams involved him being denied entry onto Noah's Ark by Noah (F. Murray Abraham). The next morning, Gonzo tells Kermit the Frog that he is getting tired of being called a "whatever." After an alien race appears to be trying to send him a message through bowls of cereal, Gonzo realizes that he may not be so alone after all and climbs to the rooftop to start watching the sky. His dreams are realized when he's hit by a bolt of lightning that serves as a conduit that allows him to communicate with a pair of cosmic fish, revealing to him that he is, in fact, an alien from outer space.
When Kermit and his friends refuse to believe his wild raving however, Gonzo is lured into the clutches of K. Edgar Singer (Jeffrey Tambor) of C.O.V.N.E.T. (a government organization disguised as a cement factory) who has also taken note of the aliens' attempts at communication and believes that Gonzo is his key to convincing his superiors that aliens do in fact exist. Gonzo, along with Rizzo the Rat, are arrested by the army. Rizzo annoys Singer causing him to be flushed down a tube by Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Kermit and the gang spring into action to rescue Gonzo, with the help of some handy inventions (door in a jar, a rubber duck that sprays gas that makes you invisible when you squeeze it, and mind control spray) courtesy of Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker.
A talking sandwich asks Gonzo where the alien ship can land, and Gonzo suggests Cape Doom. At the military base, the gang arrive to rescue Gonzo and Rizzo. While on their rescue, every one uses invisible spray, but Fozzie Bear uses the restroom and washes his hands, making them visible. However, a security guard sees Fozzie's hands and points a gun at him, threatening to shoot him dead unless he cooperates. She then tells him to put his hands up and prepares to handcuff him and take him to jail. The guard, who does not know that the hands belong to Fozzie Bear, tries to handcuff him, but he refuses to comply. She fights to get the handcuffs on him in order to take him into custody, but one of the others grabs the security guard and lets him escape. When Singer hears of this, he has Agent Rentro (Bobo the Bear) prep the Subatomic Neutro-Destabilizer to use on the aliens and heads to his car. When Agent Rentro tells him that the car is impounded due to the parking tickets, Singer and Agent Rentro end up taking the company car - a cement truck.
The Muppets go to Cape Doom after rescuing Gonzo and, along with 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 welcome him back into the fold. Singer turns up and tries to kill the Aliens, but thanks to Agent Rentro, who has disabled his Subatomic Neutro-Destabilizer by taking the part that fires the weapon, he cannot and is laughed at. Gonzo considers going into space with the Gonzo-like aliens, but he realizes his true home is on Earth with his surrogate family and friends, and Singer goes with the aliens as Earth's ambassador due to being so amusing.
The film ends with the Muppets watching the stars on 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.
- Jeffrey Tambor as K. Edgar Singer
- F. Murray Abraham as Noah
- David Arquette as Dr. Tucker
- Rob Schneider as UFO Mania TV Producer
- Andie MacDowell as Shelley Snipes
- Ray Liotta as Security Guard
- Kathy Griffin as Female Armed Guard
- Bill Barretta as Pepe the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear as Agent Rentro, Johnny Fiama, Bubba the Rat and Rowlf the Dog
- Jerry Nelson as Robin the Frog, Statler, Uber-Gonzo and Floyd Pepper
- Frank Oz as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal and Sam the Eagle
- Steve Whitmire as Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker and Bean Bunny
- Dave Goelz as Gonzo, Waldorf, Swedish Chef, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Zoot
- John Kennedy as Dr. Teeth
- Kevin Clash as Clifford and Carter
- Brian Henson as Dr. Phil Van Neuter and Sal Minella
- Adam Hunt as Scooter (voice only)
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.
This was the first Muppet film to not be a traditional musical film with original music, opting instead for a soundtrack 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. Parliament's "Flash Light" was updated by George Clinton as a duet with Pepe the King Prawn named "Starlight". The film's score was composed by Jamshied Sharifi, and released by Varèse Sarabande.
Earlier drafts of the film had more 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 Some Day" 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.
Home video release
Overall, the film was considered a flop theatrically, grossing only $16,625,807 against its $24 million budget. However, reviews were mixed, with a 63% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 52 reviews (though this is lower than any of the previous Muppet films, all of which have reached at least 70% favorability on that site). Its consensus stated "Charming and light-hearted, this feature captures the early magic of the Muppets". According to Brian Henson, the film was planned by the Henson company to be released in the off season, like other Muppet films, but Columbia wanted Muppets from Space to be their big summer movie, rushing production and causing there to be less advertising for the film. The film had also suffered coming out the same summer as Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and having to face fierce competition against South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Wild Wild West, Inspector Gadget and Runaway Bride.
- ^ "On the Family Entertainment Map, Henson Co. Finds Itself at Crossroads". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1999/jul/23/business/fi-58768. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- ^ "Joy, Plot Restored in 'Muppets From Space'". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1999/jul/14/entertainment/ca-55989. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- ^ 
- Muppets from Space on Muppet Wiki, an external wiki
- Muppets from Space at the Internet Movie Database
- Muppets from Space at AllRovi
- Muppets from Space at Box Office Mojo
- Muppets From Space at Rotten Tomatoes
- Essay: Cosmic Isolation in the Triumphant "Muppets From Space"
Films directed by Tim Hill 1990sMuppets from Space (1999) 2000s 2010sHop (2011)
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