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The lovers, the dreamers, and me in Jim Henson's 'The Muppet Movie'

The Muppet Movie


What is it like to have a dream? Is it a whimsical fancy illuminated only in the uncertain shadows of sleep? Or is dreaming another way of transforming the silent desires of the heart into something altogether extraordinary?

The Muppets
Henson Associates, ITC Films

For Kermit the Frog, one of the most beloved and iconic characters of late puppeteer, Jim Henson, his dream is the catalyst which compels him to embark on a journey to Hollywood to begin his life as a star. As his adventure brings him closer to his goal, Kermit must overcome some overwhelming odds, but with a unique circle of friends by his side, and a rainbow in his heart, he finds the courage to embrace his dream.

One of the things that stood out the most in this film is the fact that Kermit’s quest to achieve his desire was so sincerely heartfelt. Unlike the villain, Doc Hopper, whose scheme was to exploit Kermit in order to satiate his own greed, Kermit’s motivation to become a star stems from his aspiration to bring joy to people. While there are moments of uncertainty throughout the course of the journey when the allure of stardom challenges the friendships forged between the characters (an excellent illustration of this is Miss Piggy, whose heart alternated between her desire for stardom and her attraction to Kermit) the essence of the unbreakable bond that is shared between Kermit and his friends allows them to transform their dreams into reality.

“The Muppet Movie” brings to light the creation of the Muppets. While the initial incentive for each character was to journey to Hollywood in order to realize their dreams, in truth, this happenstance encounter was the catalyst which brought them together and molded them into a family. The bond forged between these characters is what allows them to overcome the shackles of adversity and self-doubt because, as a family, they are always there for each other. There is a moment in the film when Kermit and his friends are lamenting over their lost cause. As he stands apart from the others, overwhelmed by the failure to realize his dream, his conscience helps Kermit realize that it wasn’t enough to simply want the dream. He had to be willing to believe in himself and fight for his dream in order to transform it into reality. When he returns to the group, Kermit’s friends rally around him and their determination to achieve their dreams is restored.

One of the things that make the Muppets so special is that the essence of these characters is so deeply heartfelt. While they may appear to be nothing more than talking puppets, in truth, Jim Henson has created characters that are so sincerely emotional and immersed so deeply in the comfortable embrace of sentimental imagination that they become real. The movie is about as close to perfection as you can get. The marriage of animation and reality is flawless; the musical score is both heartwarming and uplifting; and while the human characters create an excellent counterbalance, the Muppets are truly at the heart of the story. This movie is highly recommend this movie to anyone who loves the Muppets.