Muppets From Space

Ever since Jim Henson's death, his successors have wrestled with a dilemma even more serious than finding a vocal replacement for Kermit: keeping the Muppets relevant to today's audience. After all, compared to a certain computer-generated floppy- eared alien, a talking piece of multicolored cloth seems quaint. But the Henson Company's first solution— plugging the characters into classics like A Christmas Carol— resulted in movies that resembled a bad game of Mad Libs. For their latest feature, the filmmakers have concocted an original story, which revolves around Gonzo's discovery that he is— surprise!— not of this Earth. Unfortunately, Gonzo is not the only alien in the movie; all of the characters have been replaced by humorless pod creatures. You know something's wrong when Kermit's first words are "Way to get down with your bad selves." It's painful how hard the filmmakers try to make the Muppets "cool," overlooking the fact that character, not attitude, has always been the source of their appeal. Stripped of their humanlike personae, Kermit and the gang are reduced to something they never were in Papa Henson's day: puppets.

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