I love the Muppets, no, I know, I’m a grown man and I should get my shit together, but they make me laugh and I think The Christmas Carol is one of the best Christmas films there is, so there’s that.
However, not everything the Muppets have done has been great, in fact, a lot of it is pretty awful, and, as we move further into the realms of life-like CGI the question always surfaces about whether people are still interested in puppets.
Personally, I’m not one of those people, I think there’s always a place for the feel good Muppets and the slightly offbeat comedy they bring.
So, onto their latest, Muppets Haunted Mansion, which is centred around The Great Gonzo, voiced by Dave Goelz (“The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (TV)”), and his friend Pepe The Prawn, voiced by Bill Barretta (“The Happytime Murders”).
Gonzo has been invited to spend the night at the worlds most haunted mansion, which is also where the great magician MacGuffin vanished some 100 years ago.
They’re greeted at the mansion by Ghost Host, Will Arnett (“The LEGO Movie 2”, “Arrested Development (TV)”), who says they must stay in the mansion for an entire night.
As the pair make their way around, we can see that Gonzo isn’t phased by anything that is thrown his way, no matter the ghost or ghoul, unlike Pepe, who is scared of everything.
Then Pepe meets Constance Hatchaway, Taraji P. Henson (“Hidden Figures”, “Ralph Breaks the Internet”), and falls in love, despite the warnings all around, mainly the previous five husbands, all dead.
Meanwhile Gonzo is sent to room 999, a room no-one has ever entered before, to face his ultimate fear. But what will it be and can he overcome it in time to escape and save his friend?
I’d love to say that Muppets Haunted Mansion recaptures some of the great films we have seen from the Muppets, such as The Muppet Christmas Carol or 2011’s The Muppets. I’d love to say that, but sadly I can’t.
Muppets Haunted Mansion feels all a bit lacklustre. Sure, it’s full of cameos, most of which adults will recognise, though the jokes and theme of the whole thing is aimed squarely at children. The sets are great and it’s all happy as usual.
But we miss a lot of the core characters, some even make a joke about how little they’re in it and I’m unsure if it’s the focussing on Gonzo and Pepe, perhaps they’re not strong enough characters to carry a 50 minute special, or the story, but whilst it whizzes through at pace, it’s instantly forgettable and perhaps that’s the biggest fear they should have had.
8th October 2021
Kirk R. Thatcher
THE QUICK SELL
On Halloween night, Gonzo is challenged to spend one night in The Haunted Mansion.