Arianne Gallagher – Hello again, fellow Muppet fans! I’m glad to be back providing you with another book review. Of course, this book is the big one, the one and only The Muppets: The Movie Junior Novel! I pre-ordered the paperback as well as downloading the Kindle version as soon as it was available. The Kindle version is available for $5 and the paperback is available for $6 on Amazon.com and at Wal-Mart. For those of you who are avoiding spoilers until the movie comes out, I suggest buying the book after you see the movie, because once you get the book, the temptation is too great and it is impossible to put it down! I promise not to reveal any spoilers so read on!
As suggested by the title, this book is designed for a “junior” audience, but as for a 25 year old Muppet fan, I LOVED THIS BOOK! With 150 pages, plus 8 pages of color photos from the film, it’s an easy read with a truly, truly wonderful story!
The book does a great job of laying the foundation of the movie plot. There are great little tidbits of dialogue throughout, but the book does a good job of not spewing out every little gag and detail. None of the celebrity cameos are named–the book instead says “a famous celebrity” is there and helping out or whatever. I think the book does exactly what it is supposed to do: tell the story of the movie. It focuses on the Muppets and their relationships, with each other and newcomers Walter, Gary, and Mary. If the book is any indication of what the movie is going to be like, we are in for a wonderful and heart-wrenching experience at the theaters.
The story of The Muppets, as told by the novel, is full of the heart, humor, and honesty that we Muppet fans adore. You can easily tell that the story was written by people who know and love the Muppets. Admiration and respect for the characters really comes out in the book. Each Muppet is presented as a multi-dimensional character–not just “Kermit the leader,” “Fozzie the insecure comedian,” or “Miss Piggy the diva.” All of the Muppets, and the humans as well, have significant depth in terms of what happened to them after they broke up and the issues and emotions they have getting back together again.
The story is not about a major plotline where the writers just fill in with characters as they fit, it’s totally the other way around. They have written the story based on the characters and their relationships with one another. The book only focuses on a small cast of main characters: Gary, Mary, Walter, Kermit, Fozzie, Piggy, Gonzo, Uncle Deadly, Tex Richman, and Veronica (the network executive). It’s easy to tell where other characters will be utilized though, however, for fans who don’t know the characters as well, it would have been nice to include more of the Muppet cast into the novel.
There are a few interesting plot elements in the book, such as the conflicts that existed between the Muppets themselves and the individual reasons why they left. The plot and the story of the movie highlights what we as Muppet fans love most about the Muppets: heart, humor, and honesty, plain and simple! The story brings out the best in the characters and one of Jim Henson’s life mottos: people are basically good and when the Muppets come together, great things can happen.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book as a great compliment to the movie, either as a great precursor to it, or as a great supplement to it. I am more excited than ever to see the film, thinly hanging on to my sanity while waiting to see The Muppets in the theaters. I think fans are going to be very pleased with this book and, thus, the movie. As the die-hard Muppet fan I am I say for all to read, “Finally, something we can truly be proud of!”
Justin H. Piatt – The other day, I was wandering through the book section of my local grocery store hoping to find a copy of the new Muppet joke book, Frogs Are Funny (blatant cross-promotion unintentional… and thus unblatant). Whilst browsing, I happened upon the brand new book The Muppets: The Movie Junior Novel. I wondered about the title a moment, thinking (mistakenly) that “movie junior novel” made no sense, and that it should perhaps be “junior movie novel” instead. Well, that just makes it sound like a junior movie, leading one to wonder what happened to the senior movie. “Novel movie junior” made even less sense, and “movel jovier nunio…” well, that’s just ridiculous.
Anyway, I’m not sure how it happened, but I ended up buying the book. I didn’t mean to, but I did. And as I made my way from the store to the car, I told myself that I would not read the book until after I saw the movie. I promised myself over and over that I would not read it!
I read half in the car before I ever even left the parking lot and the rest when I got home. Don’t worry, this review will not be chock full of spoilers. As of this paragraph, I have no intention of revealing anything about the movie to you dear readers (everyone dies at the end). I will only say that after reading the book, I’m even more excited for the movie. If you do intend to read the book before seeing the movie, I’ll tell you now that, although the whole story seems to be told, there are plenty of surprises left that have not been revealed by the book.
The book is put together very nicely with eight pages of color photographs, some we’ve already seen and others that are new to the book. Each chapter number is drawn with an accompanying Muppet (and in some cases, Muppets). These pictures were around before, and I believe they were made up a few years ago. Still, several of the drawings were new to me, and so I enjoyed seeing them.
I have one criticism of the author’s writing style. Oftentimes, Ms. Turner will try to describe some of the physical gags that appear in the movie, but her words fail to capture the moment and the humor in the scene. To be fair, it is very difficult to describe physical comedy effectively, but it seems like some of these moments could have been left out of the book and saved as a nice surprise in the movie. This isn’t always a problem. She seems to capture the physicality of Walter quite well.
A few thoughts on the characters (you might think they’re spoilers, but I don’t, so…): The Muppets are very much themselves. They seem to go through a bit more than they have in other movies. Kermit’s emotional experience reminds me of The Muppets Take Manhattan. Walter is perfect. He IS all hardcore Muppet fans. I was a little worried about the Moopets, but they seem to be just right for the movie, and a nice counter to the Muppet characters.
Over all, the book is very nice. I enjoyed reading it very much. I laughed out loud a lot, sometimes uncontrollably, and I am very confident that this will prove to be a great Muppet movie.
And now I realize how very short this review is without revealing any of the spoilers from the book, and so I will end this by revealing several key story points from some of your other favorite films:
- Rosebud is a sled, but it meant so much more than that, or at least I think it did, though it could just be that Freud was a fraud and sometimes a sled is just a sled.
- Luke Skywalker is the son of Darth Vader who is the son of Shmi Skywalker which is something that nobody really cared about anyway.
- Soilent Green is people, but I think it was just the lower class, so it could still be USDA approved.
- And, finally, life is like a movie. You can write your own ending. And you should probably write your own for this review, too.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org