Muppets Treasure Island
1996, G, 99 min. Directed by Brian Henson, Mark Loparco. Voices by Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire. Starring Tim Curry, Billy Connolly.
REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Thu., Feb. 16, 1995
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of pop! Taking great liberties with Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel about pirates and buried riches, Muppet Treasure Island carries on the legacy of the late Jim Henson: sweet-natured fun, with a slight edge to it. In other words, this ain't no Barney and Friends. (The prospect of a 90-minute movie featuring that purple dinosaur and company is enough to shiver your timbers, indeed.) As all Muppet movies are, Muppet Treasure Island is loosely structured as a vehicle in which Kermit and Miss Piggy, among others, can do their endearing, familiar shtick. As Captain Smollett, the officer in charge of the voyage in search of buried treasure, Kermit is, once again, Everyfrog: gallant, thoughtful, and immensely likable. As for Miss Piggy -- the original Babe -- she remains a picture of porcine loveliness and hoggish demeanor. And, of course, there are the other familiar faces -- the Great Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, Fozzie Bear -- as well as a few new ones, most notably a big boar named Spa'am, the chieftain of the natives residing on Treasure Island. (As I stated earlier, Robert Louis Stevenson's connection to this movie is tenuous, at best, but if they can change the ending of The Scarlet Letter….) Pity the live actors who must try to hold their own against this crew of thieves, i.e., scene-stealers. Even the usually animated Curry, in the role of Long John Silver, fails to upstage anyone except his fellow live actors. As in their previous movies, syndicated television program, and everything else they've done, the Muppets once again prove their appeal to kids and adults alike. After watching Muppet Treasure Island, my young companion Mary Clare gave it the kid's equivalent of two thumbs up: “Cool.” This adult rates it a double “cool.”