This adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic adventure novel features plenty of not-too-menacing pirates, and exactly the sort of schtick one expects from the Muppets. It will provide an entertaining diversion for children and adults.
Orphan Jim Hawkins (Kevin Bishop) and his friends Rizzo the Rat and The Great Gonzo toil in a tavern, fantasizing about adventure on the high seas. When patron Billy Bones (Billy Connolly) dies and leaves the infamous Captain Flint's treasure map in Jim's hands, those dreams become reality faster
than you can say, "Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum." The threesome find themselves aboard the Hispainiola, an unusual ship with a frog (Kermit as Captain Smollett) at the helm, rats booked as tourists, and hecklers Statler and Waldorf on the bow as figureheads. Jim is befriended by Long John Silver (Tim Curry), the ship's peg-legged cook, who has a talking lobster named Polly. Silver has secretly stocked the crew with pirates, and plans to mutiny once they reach Skeleton Island. The voyage is long and hard, and includes some production numbers. When they reach the island, Silver and his men overtake the ship and put ashore, with Jim as their hostage, to find Flint's buried treasure. Attempting a rescue, Smollett, Rizzo, and Gonzo are captured by the native swine. The pigs' queen is none other than (you guessed it) Miss Piggy, an old girlfriend of Smollett's, who had been stranded on the island by Flint. She has the treasure now, and when Silver comes after it, he and Smollett cross swords. In the end, the good guys make it back to the Hispainiola safely and set sail for England. The mutineering pirates are left behind on the
island. Silver manages to escape with a chest of gold... in a very leaky rowboat.
The second Muppet movie produced since the death of creator Jim Henson, MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND suggests that the Muppets (now under the direction of Henson's son, Brian) are charting a new course--literary adaptations. 1992's THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL was a fine effort, mixing the Muppets inDickens's tale without detracting from the drama. MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND is, frankly, not as good, but it's hard to harbor too much ill will towards a movie so eager to entertain.
At the movie's outset, Stevenson's sense of adventure and the Muppet brand of humor (a mix of wit, slapstick, self-reflexive references, and anachronisms) are blended well. Once the story goes to sea, though, the mix is less successful with too much emphasis on human actors. Curry, who's usually over the top with relish, seems restrained alongside the Muppet scene-stealers, and young Bishop simply doesn't stand a chance. Adding to their handicap are the songs provided by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, none of which are particularly catchy or memorable. Faithful Muppet fans can rest assured all of their favorite characters (Fozzie Bear, Sam Eagle, Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, the Swedish Chef, Sweet-ums the Monster, and Animal) have roles or make cameos. As with the 1992 film, the two Muppet superstars, Kermit and Miss Piggy, are relegated to supporting, almost minor, roles. This, and the spotlight he chooses to place on his human stars, hints that Brian Henson doesn't have his father's confidence in the "humanity" and appeal of the felt menagerie.
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: G
- Review: This adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic adventure novel features plenty of not-too-menacing pirates, and exactly the sort of schtick one expects from the Muppets. It will provide an entertaining diversion for children and adults. Orphan Jim Ha… (more)