|CHARACTERS • HOME VIDEO|
SOUNDTRACK • MORE
|Released||July 14, 1999|
|Written by||Jerry Juhl, Joey Mazzarino|
and Ken Kaufman
|Studio||Columbia Pictures / Jim Henson Pictures|
Muppets from Space is the Muppets' sixth feature film, released in 1999.
Gonzo has previously 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. After an alien race appears to be trying to send him a message through his bowl of Kap'n Alphabet 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.
While Kermit and his friends refuse to believe his wild ravings, Gonzo is lured into the clutches of K. Edgar Singer (Jeffrey Tambor), a government agent 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. Kermit and the gang spring into action to rescue Gonzo, with the help of some handy inventions courtesy of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker.
After a talking sandwich reveals to Gonzo the location of the eventual alien landing site, the Muppets (along with a crowd of alien-happy spectators) await their arrival. The ship comes to Earth and the aliens, who all look suspiciously like Gonzo, apologize for abandoning him but welcome him back to the fold. At first, Gonzo considers going with them, until he realizes his true home is on Earth with his surrogate family and friends.
The Muppets' other feature films have been musical comedies. Following a different path, Muppets from Space uses a soundtrack of funk songs from the late 60s and 70s. One song is performed on-screen by the Alien Gonzos, and the Muppets sing a line of the opening song; otherwise, the songs function as a typical movie soundtrack.
The songs in the movie are:
- "Brick House" (The Commodores, 1977): The Muppets wake up at the boarding house, and prepare for their day.
- "Shining Star" (Earth, Wind & Fire, 1975): Struck by lightning, Gonzo travels through space to meet the Cosmic Fish.
- "Get Up Offa That Thing" (James Brown, 1976): Inspired by his otherworldly experience, Gonzo uses the lawnmower to mow a message in the lawn that can be seen from space.
- "Dazz" (originally performed by Brick, 1976): Gonzo hosts a hot-tub party on the patio for the alien relatives that he hopes will arrive soon.
- "Survival" (The O'Jays, 1975): Rizzo undergoes a series of uncomfortable experiments in the C.O.V.N.E.T. lab.
- "Getaway" (Earth, Wind & Fire, 1976): Having rescued Gonzo from the C.O.V.N.E.T. lab, the Muppets run through the hallways, avoiding the security guards.
- "Outa-Space" (Billy Preston, 1971): Gonzo and the Muppets arrive at Cape Doom to wait for the aliens to arrive.
- "Celebration" (Kool & the Gang, 1980): The Alien Gonzos greet their long-lost relative.
- "It's Your Thing" (The Isley Brothers, 1969): The Alien Gonzos celebrate their reunion with Gonzo by loading him into a cannon and shooting him into the air.
- "Flashlight (Spaceflight)" (originally performed by George Clinton, 1978): Clinton and Pepe the King Prawn duet on a special version of Clinton's hit "Flash Light" over the end credits.
- The film was originally meant to take a different direction, where Gonzo was not, in fact, an alien. The original premise was that aliens had seen his acts on The Muppet Show beamed up to their ship from a satellite and wanted to visit him on Earth. Gonzo would believe he was one of them until he discovered the truth at the movie's conclusion.
- A similar 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.
- The film is the first to employ a technique used in every major Muppet production since, where the puppets' arm rods (and occasionally arm sleeves of the live-hand characters) are digitally removed in post-production.
- This is Scooter's first appearance since Richard Hunt's death.
- The trailer features a few scenes that are not in the finished film. They include a scene during the breakfast sequence where Pepe says, "The kitchen is closed!" (which appears in the outtake reel on the DVD) and a scene with Rizzo talking to Gonzo on the roof.
- During the breakfast scene, Kermit reads the "Hensonville News Observer."
- The film was nominated for a 2000 Young Artist Award for Best Family Feature Film - Comedy; it was beaten by Stuart Little.
- During the scene where the Swedish Chef says that the raspberry flapovers went "ka-boom-boom!" Pepe says they will now be serving bologna sandwiches, but with no bread. However, when Kermit is talking to Gonzo a moment later, Gonzo is seen starting to eat toast.
- For many of the set days, Frank Oz was not available; so stand-in performers puppeteered his characters, including Peter Linz (Miss Piggy), John Kennedy (Fozzie, Sam Eagle), and Rickey Boyd (Animal), and Oz dubbed the voices in later.
- Linz's undubbed Piggy vocals can be heard in some promotional material for the film, including one line in the original trailer ("The mood is tense, my hair looks great!") and a Wendy's tie-in advertisement.
- This film marks the first appearance of Pepe the King Prawn in a Muppet movie, as well as the first time that he appears without his Muppets Tonight cohort, Seymour. This is also the first Muppet film to have any Muppets Tonight characters in general.
- This film was shot at Screen Gem Studios in Wilmington, North Carolina, beginning in November 1998.
- The scene where Statler wonders to Waldorf if there is life on other planets and Waldorf responds "What do you care? You don't have a life on this one!" is a reused joke from The Muppet Show.
- The fourth wall is broken down in the scene where everyone is at Cape Doom waiting for the spaceship and a boy standing with Pepe, Clifford and a girl and the boy says the situation "is like something out of one of those sci-fi movies." Pepe proclaims, "But this is a Muppet movie! It's much more realistic and... romantic, okay."
- To promote the film, The Jim Henson Company and Columbia Tristar Films hired Dream Theater Interactive to create an immersive Flash website, Muppetworld.com, which eventually grew to represent the whole Muppet brand online, incorporating 3D Muppets created especially for the site - Kermit, Miss Piggy, Pepe, Animal, Fozzie, Rizzo and more.
- While promoting Die Muppets in Germany, Kermit told ENERGY Berlin 103,4 that "with all due respect to Muppets from Space, um, you don't want that to be the last movie you ever do. You want to do a better one."
- Muppet Performers
- Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Bill Barretta, Jerry Nelson, Brian Henson, Kevin Clash, Frank Oz, Rickey Boyd, Alice Dinnean, John Henson, Adam Hunt, John Kennedy, Peter Linz, Drew Massey, Ed May, Andy Stone, Kim Allen, Evy Berman, John Boone, Dennis W. Britt, Tyler Bunch, Lisa Consolo, Rowell Gormon, BJ Guyer, Greg Jarnigan, Rob Killen, Jim Kroupa, Bruce Lanoil, Bob Lynch, Pamella O'Connor, Tim Parati, Thom Stanley, Lisa Sturz, Mark Sutton, Allan Trautman, Jay Tyson, Gregg Wallace; Uncredited: Kristina Donnelly
- Human Cast
- Jeffrey Tambor as K. Edgar Singer
- F. Murray Abraham as Noah
- Rob Schneider as UFO Mania Producer
- Josh Charles as Agent Barker
- Ray Liotta as Gate Guard
- David Arquette as Dr. Tucker
- Andie MacDowell as Shelley Snipes
- Kathy Griffin as Female Armed Guard
- Pat Hingle as General Luft
- Hollywood Hogan as Man in Black
- Veronica Alicino as TV Stage Manager
- David Lenthall as Mikey the Cameraman
- Richard Fullerton as Gate Guard
- Mark Joy as Gate Guard
- Carl Espy as TV Associate Producer
- Deron Barnett as Child
- Chrissy Mullins as Little Girl
- Elaine Nalee as Mashed Potato Lady
- Katie Holmes as Joey (uncredited)
- Joshua Jackson as Pacey (uncredited)
- Gary Owens as "UFO Mania" Announcer (voice, uncredited)
- Muppet Characters
- Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Pepe the King Prawn, Animal, Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, Bobo the Bear, Dr. Phil van Neuter, Ubergonzo, Robin the Frog, Clifford, Statler and Waldorf, the Swedish Chef, Scooter, Sweetums, Sam the Eagle, Sal Minella, Johnny Fiama, Bean Bunny, Cosmic Fish, Bubba, Fast Eddie, Troy, Shakes, The Birdman, Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Carter, The Sandwich
- Background Characters
- Janice, Zoot, Lew Zealand, Link Hogthrob, Beauregard, Rowlf, Marvin Suggs, Crazy Harry, Chip, Zondra, Zippity Zap, Baab the Sheep, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Chickens, Cows, Fish, Moose Head, Smerdley, Alexis the Giraffe, Lydia the Ostrich, Tommy the Thomson's Gazelle, Doreen the Camel, Penguins, Alien Gonzos, Custer the Bison, Monica the Musk Ox, D'kembe the Gemsbok, Swifty the Cheetah
- Photograph Characters
- Executive Producers: Stephanie Allain and Kristine Belson
- Producers: Martin G. Baker and Brian Henson
- Director of Photography: Alan Caso
- Production Designer: Stephen Marsh
- Costume Designer: Polly Smith
- Co-Producers: Timothy M. Bourne and Alex Rockwell
- Art Director: Alan J. Cassie
- Choreographer: Toni Basil
- Muppet Floor Crew
- Puppeteer Captains: Bill Barretta, Jane Gootnick
- Production Supervisor: Jane Gootnick
- Muppet Effects Coordinator: Tom Newby
- Floor Captain: Scott Johnson
- Production Crew: Mary Brehmer, Matthew Brooks, Isabelle Dufour, Alex L. Ferguson, Ann Marie Holdgruen
- Animatronic Design: Jon Gellman
- Electronic Control Design: Tim Hawkins
- Puppet Rigging: Brad Elliott
- Muppet Workshop New York
- Workshop Manager: Edward G. Christie
- Project Supervisor: Rollie Krewson
- Muppet Designers & Builders: Eric Engelhardt, Henri Ewaskio, Deborah Glassberg, Paul Hartis, Tim Miller, Elena Pellicciaro
- Assistant Costume Designer: James Hammer
- Costumes: Barbara S. Davis, Victoria Ellis, Doug James, Connie Peterson, Triffin Rasmussen, Kay Stuntz
- Fabric Dyeing and Painting: Jason Weber
- Props Construction: Fred Buchholz
- Electro-Mechanical Effects: Larry Jameson
- Foam/Mold Lab Supervisor: James Chai
- Shipping Coordinators: Don Creech, Victor Yerrid
- Assistant to Mr. Henson: Debbie McClellan
- Muppets from Space (video)
- Muppets from Space (soundtrack)
- Muppets from Space (score)
- Muppets from Space: The Junior Novelization
- Muppets in Space
- Hennes, Joe. "A Chat with Joey Mazzarino, part 2", ToughPigs.com. February 25, 2009.
- Hollywood Reporter via Reno Gazette-Journal November 14, 1998