Based on the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, Muppet Treasure Island was the next Muppet voyage to the Box Office. It was released in 1996 and was once again directed by Brian Henson who added his own style to The Muppets filmography. Jim Hawkins (Kevin Bishop) is an orphan who works alongside Gonzo and Rizzo at The Admiral Inn where they are mesmerized by Billy Bones (Billy Connolly) and his pirate tales. Billy Bones receives a “black spot” and tries to escape before his former crew mates arrive to kill him. Unfortunately for Billy, he has a heart attack and uses his last moments to give a treasure map to Jim and warns him to beware of the one legged man. Jim takes the treasure map to Squire Trelawney (Fozzie Bear) and convinces him to fund the voyage. Captain Smollet (Kermit the Frog) helms the Hispanola which, unbeknownst to Smollet, has a crew of dastardly pirate including Long John Silver (Tim Curry). The one-legged Silver befriends young Jim in an effort to mold him into a pirate and obtain the treasure map. After a mutiny, Smollet finds himself and the few trustworthy of his crew on Treasure Island. Once there, they are kidnapped by boars and presented to their queen Benjamina (Miss Piggy) who Smollet had left at the altar. Captain Smollet duals Long John Silver, but it is Jim who saves the day when Smollet is cornered. This is the second Muppet film after the death of Jim Henson. It shares several similarities with The Muppet Christmas Carol. Both were directed by Brian Henson and even the opening title screens looked similar. It was also the second film that used the Muppets as supporting characters with human actors as the main characters. Even though it contained the incomparable Tim Curry, once again the Muppet tradition of cameos was abandoned. Both were also based on works of literature. Actually, the Muppets had a theme of presenting interpretations of literature in the 1990s. Muppet Classic Theater had been released as a direct-to-video full length feature in 1994 and featured the Muppets as they added their spin to classic Fairy Tales such as The Elves (Elvis) and the Shoemaker, King Midas, and The Three Little Pigs. This film can almost act like a school yearbook for the Muppets. After the deaths of Jim Henson and Richard Hunt, there are several noticeable stylistic and character changes. In the previous Muppet films and specials (save Muppet Christmas Carol), Kermit and Miss Piggy had the most screen time, acting as leading man and leading woman. So far, the 1990s offered more screen time to Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat. Kermit is not seen until pretty far into the movie, following another quick fake out when the audience is first tricked into thinking Captain Smollet will be portrayed as a human actor. Miss Piggy is not seen until even later, however, she has returned to her larger than life persona that was missing from Muppet Christmas Carol. Frank Oz, the performer behind Miss Piggy, Sam the Eagle, and Fozzie Bear was not available to puppeteer his signature characters. Instead, Kevin Clash who is mostly known for performing Elmo, acted as puppeteer for the characters while Oz re-recorded the dialogue and also acted as Executive Producer. This movie marks the first time Sam the Eagle has a significant role in a Muppet movie. Rowlf the Dog appears silently and briefly once again. Sweetums, a large character voiced by the late Richard Hunt, has returned to the Muppet cast, this time voiced by John Henson. There are tons of classic Muppet characters from The Muppet Show that can be spotted in the background by the eagle-eyed Muppet fan, but there are also several new characters that were created specifically for this movie and then reused in Muppets Tonight. In Muppets Tonight, the Muppets returned to television to produce a weekly variety show riddled with antics and showcasing guest stars. Sadly, in only lasted two seasons. What was great about Muppet Treasure Island, though, was it meshed the typical cartoony look of the classic Muppet characters with darker, mossy, warty characters designed by Michael K. Frith which resembled puppets he designed for Jim Henson when the Land of Gorch skits appeared on Saturday Night Live. Muppet Treasure Island is an altogether well-rounded film. It took some of the best parts of the traditional, established style of the Muppets (breaking the fourth wall, sight gags), but integrated good changes that added a freshness to the characters. The franchise was not totally retooled, but there were noticeable changes. Movie and writing wise, Muppet Christmas Carol was just overall stronger, but Muppet Treasure Island was able to sample many of the best techniques of that movie, but add aspects that this Muppet fan missed and longed for. I rank this one 4 out of 5 rubber chickens! See larger image 2 Muppety Adventures: The Great Muppet Caper / Muppet Treasure Island Of Pirates & Pigs [Blu-ray] New From: $11.99 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.