Saturday, May 2, 2009

Set Sail for Muppet Mayhem!

Robert Louis Stevenson's classic pirate tale takes on new life of its own in the hands of the hilarious Muppets! Muppet Treasure Island - the Muppet's very first action-adventure - is the fun-packed, music-filled, swashbuckler the entire family will enjoy over and over.

It all begins when young Jim Hawkins inherits a long-lost map to a pirate's treasure. Jim hires the great ship Hispaniola where he meets the good Captain Smollett (Kermit the Frog) and the evil yet charming Long John Silver (Tim Curry). With adventure in their hearts and treasure chests of gold in their eyes, they set sail on the bounding main only to discover danger at every turn- including Benjamin Gunn (Miss Piggy), Treasure Island's worshipped love goddess, who's dressed to kill.

Featuring a rollicking musical score by Academy Award winning Hans Zimmer, (The Lion King), Muppet Treasure Island is a real gem that "explodes with wit, weirdness and wildly inventive fun." (New York Post)

Title: Muppet Treasure Island
Release: February 16, 1996
Genre: Family
MPAA Rating: G
Based On: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Writer: Jerry Juhl, James V. Hart, & Kirk R. Thatcher
Director: Brian Henson
Music By: Hans Zimmer, Barry Mann, & Cynthia Weil
Produced By: Brian Henson, Martin G. Baker, & Frank Oz
Distributed By: Walt Disney Pictures
Run Time: 100 minutes

Tim Curry (Long John Silver), Kevin Bishop (Jim Hawkins), and an enormous cast of Muppets star in the 1996 very loose adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure Treasure Island. This controversial (the filmmakers were sued by Hormel for the use of the character Spa’am’s name- the suit was dismissed) was the fifth feature film to star the Muppet cast and only the second one produced after Jim Henson’s death. Muppet Treasure Island is actually directed by his son Brian Henson.

In terms of a book to movie adaptation this film was almost abysmal, however in terms of being a light musical parody of Treasure Island that has just about every single Muppet to ever appear on the Muppet Show (not to mention quite a few original ones) more than once- then this is a winner! Okay I won’t go that far, but it is one of the best Muppet movies in my opinion. The original song numbers are very over the top and fun and thanks to the composers Barry Mann, & Cynthia Weil (not to mention Hans Zimmer) they’ll be stuck in your head for days to come.

Long John Silver is one of my favorite characters in literature and in film, mainly thanks to Robert Newton who first played him in Disney’s live-action adaptation, so I’ll admit to being a little wary of Tim Curry portrayal of him. He can sing and he can be a viciously evil villain but could he be a bad guy and still come off as sympathetic? Well the short answer is no, he didn’t really. He was a considerably good bad guy yet the viewer could never be fooled into thinking that he was anything but “just a cook.” When the ending came, it just felt very artificial since the persona Curry had played throughout the film wouldn’t have let the movie end as it traditionally does.

However, I don’t need to point out how bad some parts of the film are as the characters do it for me. At one point during the song Cabin Fever, one of the crew even says he would "like to get [his] hands on, whoever wrote this script." Sometimes the jokes do fall a little flat but for the most part this was a very funny film and they even “break the fourth wall” a few times too. Overall, Muppet Treasure Island had its faults but if you watch it, just keep in mind it’s a parody and enjoy it. Don’t be a Statler and Waldorf!

Related Posts
Book: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Film: Disney’s Treasure Island (1950)

Links:, Film Wikipedia, Muppet Wikia Film Page
Interview: Brian Henson & Kirk Thatcher, With the Cast (video)


  1. I actually really love this movie! I know it's silly and stupid in a lot of places, but I can't help it. The only part that drags me down is Kermit and Piggy's slow number. Sometimes, I fast forward through that.

  2. Is there anything that we all love more than the Muppets? (well, OK Disney, but...) I just love this movie and was just thinking how to put a muppet in my blog as I am on my second month "sponsored by the letter M" just like Sesame Street used to sponsor each show with a letter and think I will use a Muppet in my intro to that...wonder how many copyright laws that will be breaking. But what a good movie and great review!

  3. This is probably one of my favourite Muppet movies! I have seen it a lot of times!

  4. love the muppets... and love Tim Curry sooo that must me I love this movie!

  5. I love the Muppets and I think I've actually seen every one of their movies. Yes, they can be a little cheesy, but they sure are fun.

  6. I love Kermit! LOL :D

    Have a Happy Day!

  7. The Muppets always manage to bring out the kid in me. They are timeless. And anything with Tim Curry is a treat.

  8. GraceKelly: Yeah I don't like that number either. Every other one was great though!

    Bingo: Muppets are firmly embedded into most people's childhood today lol. I was a big Sesame Street fan as a kid (I adored Big Bird). Not sure if they can get you for copyright laws by doing that on your blog since it's more of an homage that anything. Good luck with it, it sounds neat!

    Kailana: It was my little brother's favorite as a kid and he'd watch it over and over and over and over lol.

    DesLily: Love Tim Curry too though it's because of him I'm scared of clowns...

    Bermudaonion: Yep!

    TheChicGeek: Kermit is the best Henson muppet hands down :)

    SciFiGuy: *nods* *nods* Me too. Love Tim Curry though he does scare me a little... especially that IT laugh, ugh!

  9. We took the kids to see when they were having a special showing at one of the local theaters. It was great, we'd just seen Treasure Island and the kids could relate more to this showing. After watching the muppets, they kind of got Treasure Island.

    Kermie is always my favorite! Tim Curry was so good in this one!

    Dottie :)

  10. I can't believe I've never seen this! I know there's no way I won't love it.

  11. My Blog 2.0 (Dottie): That's what I love about adaptations like this, they really help kids relate and understand things.

    Nymeth: It's really, really cute! Hope you get to see it soon :)

  12. I like the muppets, but am slighty scared of dont ask!
    I dont like the hippie ones or the chef for some reason.

  13. I absolutely love the Muppets. That being said, I fell asleep the only time we watched this.

  14. Dude, I am a sucker for the Muppets. I enjoy all the movies, even Muppet Christmas Carol and this one. As a matter of fact I love this movie. I actually have the soundtrack and still listen to it. The opening song sequence (Shiver My Timbers) and Cabin Fever are probably my favorite songs.

    Great review! Glad you liked it too!

    FYI..I was on the fence about the last movie, Muppets in Space, but I look forward to the new Muppet movie being developed by Jason Segel (Marshall from How I Met Your Mother).

  15. Naida: Aw how could you be scared of Kermie? Now I completely understand with some of them though... the chef is just annoying.

    Carolsnotebook: Well the Muppets and the Muppet movies are really different as this one seems to be "let's turn the muppets loose and let them vaguely adapt Treasure Island." It was still cute but I did have some problems.

    Paxton: I actually haven't seen all of the movies! I know, bad Ladytink! I hope to watch A Christmas Carol this year though. I don't have the soundtrack but I have a playlist over on imeem with most of the songs on it. Matter of fact, I'm playing it now lol. Not sure if I'll see Muppets in Space (though thanks for the heads-up) because though I usually like the new stuff like that when I'm watching it, I always feel vaguely cheated afterwards... weird, I know.

  16. Oh, I definitely think you are right, this one is indeed a winner. It is a true pleasure to watch. I am hard pressed to decide if this one or Christmas Carol is my favorite post-Jim movie. Christmas Carol always chokes me up! I haven't watched this one for awhile, but I am wanting to watch it again now.



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