Film Reviews / Indie Film

Muppet Guys Talking review: Dir. Frank Oz (2018)

Throughout my life The Muppets have always entertained me, so Muppet Guys Talking arrived with rewarding wonder and raised the question, why wasn’t this done before?! Disregarding that question quickly, because thankfully it’s here now, this documentary (devised from an idea by Victoria Labalme) has been directed and produced by Frank Oz and contains the super talent of the great man alongside his friends and colleagues Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, Fran Brill and Jerry Nelson (who sadly passed away in 2012) all discussing their memories and passion for their iconic work.

Overall, Oz’s documentary is a candid affair and straightforward in its methods, containing both individual interviews and group chats, but if you’re a fan of any Jim Henson-related work then this will be right up your street. The team of five talking have all had parts to play across The Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and Saturday Night Live, and they’ve got stories to share that are both personal and very funny a lot of the time.

From my experience, I’ve never thought The Muppets were specifically for kids and this is confirmed during the discussion that this was never the case; this is particularly interesting to hear from those original puppeteering talents involved. We also witness personal memories and stories, plus you learn a lot about the commitment from everyone involved.  It also breaks down Jim’s commitment to making great art and, although they don’t openly admit it, it’s clear his dedicated team locked onto that dedication. The tight spaces they squeezed into for hours, the promise to try anything to get it right and – of course – the fun they had along the way.

 

In the latter half of the hour-long documentary, the conservation moves more and more towards their memories of Jim. After all, he was a big part of all their lives and what made The Muppets exactly what they are. If anything, they all miss him and the camaraderie he brought to the working set, and even their lives.

This is what makes Muppet Guys Talking a really special insight, that reminder that they all tell a story of making an inclusive, welcoming society, whoever you are and the reason we’d see every type of person, animal and vegetable singing or living together. I mean, I’d want to be a singing banana or, quite honestly, some kind of daredevil Squirrel (who’s actually a misguided fox disguised as a squirrel) but, alas, for this moment I digress.

A warm and positive insight into some of the most iconic characters and people of our modern times, I’m pretty sure Jim would have enjoyed hearing that the love is very much still here for his creations.

Muppet Guys Talking is available exclusively at their website to download, steam and watch now: https://muppetguystalking.com

 

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