Two months in, and there was a nervous air of anticipation gripping BlogalongaMuppet HQ. I thought I remembered all of the Muppet movies from when I was younger, but I have to admit that, having watched it, I really didn’t recall much of The Muppet Movie. For some reason, I remembered the “watching-the-movie-within-the-movie” opening, I vaguely remembered Big Bird’s cameo and Animal bursting out of the top of a building left some sort of impression. But very little else in The Muppet Movie seemed to imprint on me, so it came as something of a surprise when I found it just a bit “meh”. And I was not alone; the general reaction to the first in the Muppet series from my fellow BlogalongaMuppeters was also to be similarly underwhelmed. What had I done? Like Moses leading the Israelites into the wilderness only to discover I’d left the satnav back at Pharaoh’s palace, I was suddenly concerned that this was all a mistake. Were we facing six months of tedium and torture?
Thankfully, of course, my concerns were unfounded, and the reason that we’re all looking forward to The Muppets next year is that the Muppets have made great movies before, and The Great Muppet Caper is a great Muppet movie. Somehow The Muppet Movie managed to get all of the pieces in place, but didn’t manage to quite get them to fit together, but Caper pulls it off much more successfully. So what did The Great Muppet Caper manage to do so much more successfully than its predecessor?
Finally, a true turning point in our series of reflections on the James Bond films, and my sixth attempt to prove the influence of Bond on not only his other subsequent films but also the larger world of film. For this month, such a shift in the world and such a unique entry in the series it feels that I need a similarly unique entry to outline the legacy of this month’s Bondage. So I’ve written a poem, which is completely unique and in no way almost exactly like something I did just last month for the general blog.Sean Connery’s Bonds had reached number five, But felt his career was taking a dive, So he left the series, and here in his place, A man with the same name – but what of that face? He’d been in commercials, he hailed from Australia, He told Cubby Broccoli, “I’ll never fail ya,” He wore a Rolex and knocked out a wrestler, They hoped he’d bring energy worthy of Tesla. Many more changes were also impending But not from the book; especially the ending. To set our Bond series on such a new course, They actually stayed quite close to the source. However the casting saw more than one swap out And maybe the makers were guilty of cop out; Some of their casting was frankly quite callous, Replacing that Pleasance with Telly Savalas? But our premier legacy for this fifth of sequels Shows that the movies can all remain equals Or even be better, their impact is lasting – And not much, it seems, is down to the casting. For this film has shown that the reboot’s a winner, And while some would claim it to be a dog’s dinner, The strength of the concept is clearly the key here, And viewers still wanted to regularly be here. Legacy two is in some way related, For even as earlier Bonds become dated, They all link together, as one single story, Although some connections are just a tad hoary, But clearly we must take this as all one account, Even as fresh inconsistencies mount, This new Bond has trappings of that other fellow, But when he meets Blofeld they’re surely too mellow? Sworn enemies surely would not be forgotten? Some of this plotting’s a little bit rotten. It all makes uneven this odd Blofeld triple, But thankfully these changes couldn’t quite cripple The series. Now sadly ol’ Lazenby wouldn’t Be back for another, or he just couldn’t Deal with the stresses of filling those shoes. (It’s also a problem for some Doctor Whos.) As well as reboots and Bond continuity, Other small legacies come as gratuity. Legacy three’s a peculiar notion For this is the first Bond to feature slow motion And also the flashback, enabling the story For much grander notions and narrative glory. (And contrary to those who’re appalled by the fact, The fourth wall’s not broken, it remains quite intact Through pre-credits dealings, so please do not judge Based on misconceptions; but yes, it’s a fudge And you could be forgiven for misunderstanding This film from the year of Apollo’s moon landing.) Legacy four’s also small and bizarre For John Barry used an electric guitar To enliven the soundtrack, and some synthesiser, So the music was great; like a blue pill from Pfizer Had been handed out to all soundtrack players And the music throughout had so many layers Thanks to Barry, Hal David, and old Louis Armstrong Which links to the legacy that’s taken so long To come to fruition. Yes, it’s love feelings That only the Craig Bonds have had such deep dealings With, and of course they are both so true To this film’s first legacy – and actually, the first two! The fact that Bond’s love life can be so forlorn Has clear implications for Bauer and Bourne – The life of a spy must be totally selfish And dealings with women all casual and elfish. One more Bond legacy this month I offer To add to the bulging heredit’ry coffer That Bond has bequeathed us from six films of great means, This one inspired the Inception snow scenes. So film number six, and six legacies here But question why this film is not held as dear As some of the other Bonds already produced. I think that you’ve by now most likely deduced That it had nothing to do with Diana Rigg Replacing the girl with the face like a pig; Yes, Bond’s shoddy casting made this film lack So next time we’re getting Sean Connery back.
Next month: Bonds come and go, but Diamonds Are Forever. (See what I did there?)