A Muppet Christmas: Letters to Santa
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Celebrate the season will all your favorite Muppets in this heartwarming and hilarious holiday movie. Whoopi Goldberg, Uma Thurman, Nathan Lane and other sensational guest stars join our friends on a fun-filled Christmas adventure full of sidesplitting laughs and memorable music. When Gonzo forgets to mail three letters to Santa, he convinces Kermit and the gang to help him deliver the notes to the North Pole. Along the way, they discover that Christmas is the time to be with those you care about most, as they dash home to make a friend's Christmas wish come true. Bursting with bonus material and never-before-seen footage, A MUPPETS CHRISTMAS: LETTERS TO SANTA is hours of holiday fun for the entire family!
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the only thing that i have NOT liked was the Wizard of Oz disaster.
this is the Muppets back home in New York being themselves, again. it is classicly told in the proper muppet universe.
the music is good and the jokes are fresh.
this ISN'T the MUPPET FAMILY CHRISTMAS, (nothing ever will be that great again!)
but it is the best thing in years!
Don't expect an Emmy winning effort or anything more than a super-thin plot here, on those metrics the movie doesn't do much (it was originally made for TV after-all). However, it manages to get over these issues by having just a really fun Christmas atmosphere and some decent family-friendly jokes. In particular, Kermit and Pepe really drive this release. At times, for adult viewers, it is cheesy to say the least, but somehow with the Muppets even that seems forgivable. There are some great parts in this movie, starting with some great slapstick and overall comedy of how much damage the Muppets manage to do at the post office, to a great Sopranos reference (seems like the writers threw this in especially for adult viewers), to the humor of an actual airline that goes to the North Pole, to Whoopi Goldberg's interrupting of a heartfelt song to ask for money. As mentioned, the plot is thin, but it's enough to hold all the funny clips together. The songs are simple, but don't drag on and seem to work.
Perhaps the worst-part is the ending. As another reviewer noted, there was so much potential at the North Pole, but they seem to leave as soon as they arrive and it just feels underwhelming. Then there is a cheesy, lazy ending that really "wraps things up" out of nowhere. The movie could have been a little bit longer in return for a stronger ending. Additionally, some viewers may be disappointed that many of the Muppets only make appearances at the start and end of the film, it is primarily Kermit, Gonzo, Pepe, and Rizzo earning the screentime.
All of the above issues aside, I still give this 4 stars because while I never turned on the TV purposely to watch it, whenever it came on Comedy Network last Christmas, I never changed the channel and ended up watching it probably 5 times or so. And this year I've found myself searching it out again. Overall, the spirit, fun attitude and atmosphere, and Christmas cheer of this movie really manage to make up for its shortcomings.
Note, this is on Amazon for under $10, with that in mind, it's a great price for this holiday story. If it gets priced much higher, then I'll wait for it to drop in price again.
We found it to be a good story for our toddler age kids, if they grew up with Letters to Santa, the older kids might not mind this particular story. Other reviewers have stated that the plot is too simplified, but I think that's fine when it comes to Holiday movies.
For now, in our family it's a Holiday classic, we love all the Muppet characters in this made for tv movie, and have this DVD in our family entertainment collection.
Very talented people also, I would recommend this for families of all ages. Its funny, sad, and it has a Happy ending. Kermit and Miss Piggy were great as was the whole gang.
For one, the story is incredibly rushed. Now, it's perfectly acceptable to make a short made-for-TV sort of deal, but the execution was just terrible. It feels like the majority of the film is setting us up for a larger story, and suddenly it all just ends. There's a song and dance number at the post office, then Gonzo and company decide to deliver a few letters to the North Pole and have to find out how to get through the airport's wacky security, then they finally arrive at Santa's workshop and just as we assume that the story is now actually beginning, there's a song and they meet Santa and Christmas is saved and it's over. The film really just has no point--almost like it was more of a stream-of-consciousness effort by someone who really didn't care about pacing or what the story was supposed to achieve.
These might seem like minor gripes, but I can assure you, none of it would matter if any of it was actually funny. Several of the Muppets were there, being Muppets and whatnot, but there really weren't a whole lot of jokes. They were just kind of... there. It focused so heavily on the sentimental themes, yet it seemed that almost no effort was made to make it actually funny, beyond making Pepe say "O'gayyy" a lot, which is what I'm assuming they think the kids like the most. In fact, you can tell that even the creators didn't think there was much fun to be had, because basically the only enjoyment I got out of it came with the bloopers during and after the credits, and they just seemed to go on and on! It honestly felt like a hefty percentage of the film was just these blooper reels, most of them involving Nathan Lane and Bill Baretta as Bobo the Bear (as the two definitely had the best chemistry out of anyone else in the production).
It's been a rough decade for The Muppets. A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie was pretty decent, and The Muppets Wizard of Oz was kind-of-sort-of-okay... but this just seemed like a no-effort attempt at keeping the cash flow coming. It's the only Muppet production that I feel a good deal of resentment toward.
Though maybe it's only fitting that the farthest they've ever fallen comes right before their glorious return in the new movie (which, by the way, if you haven't seen, go out and do it this very second). Hopefully we won't see another one like Letters to Santa ever again...
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