BobbyG asked me to review movies, a request that I will honor. I posted my review of Russian Ark before I found his request in a comments box.
2004 was good year and I saw many films that I liked, including A Very Long Engagement, Being Julia, Good Bye Lenin!, Finding Neverland, and The Aviator. Every library with a DVD collection should consider adding these movies. I’m not going to review them, for there are plenty of other reviews available. I have an old movie that many have forgotten to recommend. Most of the public libraries in the SWAN network of the Metropolitan Library System do still have videocassettes of this title, but very few have the DVD.
Muppet Treasure Island is a movie that the critics slighted in 1996. The children’s film market was not getting the attention it is today. Siskel and Ebert just thought it was silly. It is wonderfully so! There are jokes and puns that will make you moan and laugh simultaneously. There is a moment when Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy are being hung by their legs from a dead tree – yes, you get to see their legs – and Kermit says to Miss Piggy - Stop! I will not spoil the great one-liner. Trust me. It’s funny.
Tim Curry is a natural as Long John Silver. He oozes charm while he plots the mutiny aboard the Hispaniola and the theft of the treasure map from the Jim Hawkins, nicely played by Kevin Bishop. He sings well with Muppets. I particularly like the song “A Professional Pirate,” which tells how buccaneers are victims of bad press and really “the nicest guys you ever want to meet.”
The music is really great. Early in the film Bishop is joined by Rizzo the Rat and the Great Gonzo in singing “Something Better,” which is an inspiringly hopeful tune, which reminds me of “Tomorrow” in the musical Annie. (Tim Curry was in that movie, too!) When the Hispaniola is caught in the doldrums, everyone joins in the bright and funny “Cabin Fever.” Between songs are many inspiring symphonic themes worthy of an epic sea adventure film. We listen to the soundtrack CD at home.
Like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, there are bits of the movie that remain with you in real life. When I got printer toner on my shirt at the library, I thought of “the Black Spot.” Like Mr. Eagle, the second mate and safety expert, Bonnie and I often say “Unsafe! Not safe!” when we see something foolishly precarious. It is a good film to share with family and friends. Walk the plank to your library to find this film treasure.