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Statler: I wonder if there really is life on other planets?
Waldorf: What do you care? You don't have a life on this planet.
Kermit is a frog. Fozzie is a bear. Gonzo is...what exactly is Gonzo?—The Hub's commercial for this movie
Muppets From Space is a 1999 Muppets movie starring their regular cast of characters, focusing on Gonzo's back story. It is directed by Tim Hill. It is so far the only Muppet movie to not be a musical, with the score being filled with already-popular oldies soul and funk (some of which are covered for the film), and it also has the distinction of being the last Henson-related film featuring Frank Oz before he retired his characters to someone else. Additionally, it is the first Muppet film since Jim Henson's death that has an original story and is not a spoof/tribute to a popular work of literature, and the humor is based on the more recent Muppets Tonight show.
In this film, the Muppets are living communally in an old house (for some reason), with Piggy's motivation to become a successful TV reporter being the only clear source of their income. Gonzo feels lonely, because there's no one like him; he has friends, but no family, and everyone else does. Feeling despondent, he is contacted through his breakfast cereal (no, really) and told to watch the sky. Eventually, he is convinced that he is actually an alien that somehow wound up on Earth; elated at the thought that there may be more of his kind in space, he tries to communicate with the other beings, while being thought of as crazy by his friends. Between being duped into building a Jacuzzi for the aliens, being captured and interrogated by a anonymous government agency headed by Jeffrey Tambor, and nearly being dissected by a (puppet) Mad Scientist, it takes a while before Gonzo finally gets to meet his space-brethren.
It received mixed reviews, with some minor Internet Backlash, though the majority seem to consider this to be a fairly good Muppet film. It also seemed, for a while, that it might be the last of its kind - the next film would not come for another twelve years!
The film provides examples of:
- Alien Among Us: Gonzo.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: A mild case, as Gonzo's friends openly doubt his claims that he's from outer space. Granted, Gonzo's an oddball, but he is the only "whatever" they've ever seen before. Not to mention his alien status is being doubted in a world full of talking frogs, pigs, bears and rats.
- The Ark: The movie begins with Gonzo having a nightmare about Noah refusing to let him onto the ark because he can't identify his species.
- Armies Are Evil
- Bad Bad Acting: Piggy as a newscaster.
- Berserk Button: Don't laugh at Ed.
- BFG: "The Really Big Gun" that Ed uses at the climax ...which Bobo disarms before Ed ever gets to fire it.
Kermit: Gee, that was close...
Bobo: Not as close as you think, my friend. ...*Holds up the BFG's power source* "Please load weapon!"
- Bland-Name Product
- Brick Joke: In the beginning, Pepe and Rizzo trick Gonzo into building a jacuzzi because "If you build a jacuzzi, we will commmme, okaayyy..." Once the movie comes to a close, Gonzo wonders why he had to build a jacuzzi in the first place.
Ed: ...The really big gun!
- Canon Dis Continuity: According to Boom! Kids The Muppet Show Comic Book. This is likely not so much because of the quality of the movie though, more just for actually resolving what Gonzo is.
- Call Back: The cheer Kermit does at the climax is exactly like the one he does in the opening of The Muppet Show.
- Cerebus Retcon: All those one off gags about Gonzo being a "Whatever" are looked at here in a more dramatic light.
- Deadpan Snarker: Rizzo -- of course.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Gonzo's speech about being an alien sounds an awful lot like coming out of the closet...
- DVD Commentary: A fun example, as director Tim Hill is joined by Gonzo and Rizzo.
- Expospeak Gag: The sub-atomic neutro-destabilizer. In other words, "the really big gun," for those who are intellectually impaired, like Rentro.
- Fish Out of Water: Gonzo.
- Heel Face Turn: Ed and Bobo, though Bobo wasn't all that bad to start.
- Dr. Phil van Neuter ends up befriending the lab rats, having been beaten into submission by them.
- I Choose to Stay: Gonzo doesn't go "home" to his planet, but he stays on his adopted home, Earth.
- If It Was Funny the First Time: Statler and Waldorf's 'life on other planets' exchange quoted up the top of the page was originally done on The Muppet Show years before. Statler groans and screws up his face after he laughs for a moment, possibly remembering that he had suckered himself like this before...
- Insistent Terminology: Pepe is not a shrimp. He is a king prawn, okay?
- Invisibility Cloak: Well, spray.
- It Works Better with Bullets: Bobo makes sure Ed doesn't do any real harm.
- The Men in Black
- Minion with an F In Evil: Bobo.
- More Than Mind Control: Miss Piggy is given a container of a spray that will make people cater to her every whim.
- Ms. Fanservice: The girl dancing on the beach and baring her midriff, causing Sam the Eagle (of all characters!) to watch her with a slackjawed expression.
- Kathy Griffin in a security guard uniform may also qualify.
- In which case, this may count as Every One Remembers the Stripper.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Kermit gives this speech to the team just prior to rescuing Gonzo... and then Fozzie tells him they just left Bunsen and Beaker at the gas station.
- Noodle Implements: Gonzo tells Rizzo he had "that weird dream again", and Rizzo asks if it's "the one with the goat and the dwarf and the jar of peanut butter".
- OOC Is Serious Business: Gonzo was set to perform at a bar mitzvah, but not feeling up to it, he gets the Electric Mayhem to sub for him instead. Kermit takes notice.
Kermit: You never miss the chance to shoot yourself out of a cannon.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: The aforementioned lab coats.
- Parental Bonus: Bunsen and Beaker trading their bags of snack food to a van full of stoner hippies in exchange for a ride to the beach.
- Not to mention that whole business of Animal getting some.
- The score being comprised of 70's funk makes some wonder if Parental Bonus was the direction a family-friendly Muppet film was supposed to go. 'Brickhouse' is played over the Muppets waking up and getting ready for the day, but only in reference to how they live in a brick house. A few Muppets say uncharacteristic 70's one-liners such as "get down with your bad self." Even the poster on the top of this page has the tagline "The Ultimate Muppet Trip."
- The Power of Friendship: ...is more important than family...?
- Also known as "Total strangers, however much they may enjoy parties and launching themselves out of cannons, are not necessarily more of a family than the people you've lived/worked with and been supported by for the past several decades."
- Power Perversion Potential: Pepe and the invisibility spray. Twice.
- Punny Name: K. Edgar Singer. Initial, "Edgar", name of domestic appliance company.
- Ring Ring CRUNCH: Happens during the "waking up" montage near the opening.
- Shout-Out: To Independence Day when Dr. Phil van Neuter tries to remove Gonzo's brain.
Dr. Phil van Neuter: Release... me...
- May turn into Late to The Punchline for the kids who watched that before they were old enough to watch Independence Day.
- And earlier in the movie, one to Field of Dreams when Pepe and Rizzo convince a barely-conscious Gonzo that "If you build it, we will come... build a jacuzzi and we will come, okay?!"
- And at the film's climax, the Star Trek theme can be heard when Ed agrees to leave with the aliens.
- Two of the characters from Dawson's Creek show up on the beach chatting with Pepe and Clifford.
- The escape hole Rizzo has concealed behind a poster in the science lab is a nod to The Shawshank Redemption.
- Society Marches On: Hulk Hogan is in his evil "Hollywood Hulk" persona ("I'm a bad guy now!") - but by the time the film was released, Hogan had returned to being a good guy.
- Stay with the Aliens: Ed goes with the Gonzo aliens after they make him ambassador to their planet because they find him amusing.
- Stolen MacGuffin Reveal
- Supporting Leader: Kermit.
- That Poor Cat: When Gonzo mows his message in the lawn.
- They Called Me Mad: Gonzo and Ed, but especially Ed.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Gonzo.
- This Is Sparta: "DON'T! ...LAUGH! ...AT ME!"
- Too Dumb to Live: Fozzie, as per usual. This time, it was going to the bathroom, and washing his hands while wearing invisibility spray, while sneaking around in a heavily guarded compound. Kermit realizes this, and the first thing he says is "Tell me you didn't wash your hands."
- Too Funny to Be Evil: Ed. Provides some of the basis for his Villainous Breakdown and Heel Face Turn.
- Trust Me, I'm an X: When Ed, examining Gonzo, notices that Gonzo has no nostrils, he asks, "How do you smell?" To which Rizzo the Rat responds, "Awful. Trust me, I'm his roommate."
- Totem Pole Trench: Used to infiltrate COVNET.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Well, par for the course for a Muppet film, but a bear M.I.B.?
- Verbal Tic: Pepe has one, okay?
- What Could Have Been: The film was originally going to be an actual musical, with the song "I'm Going To Go Back There Someday" from The Muppet Movie making its return, this time, in reference to Gonzo's ambition to find his family. Then someone said, "Naaaaah! 70's funk!"
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In-universe example, when Gonzo is puzzled why he was instructed to build a jacuzzi. Rizzo and Pepe (who conned him into doing it) just start laughing.
- You Are Not Alone: The whole premise.