2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2011
I originally watched this movie last Christmas. Surprisingly, they showed it multiple times on Comedy Network (basically Canada's version of Comedy Central): not exactly a network aimed at children. I'm a younger adult who's familiar with the muppets, but was born after their best years, so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect.
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an Emmy winning effort or anything more than a super-thin plot here, on those metrics the movie doesn't do much (it was originally made for TV after-all).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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2014
Growing up, we watched the Muppets and loved all the crazy characters. Now with kids in tow, we wanted them to share our love of the crazy Muppets Gang.
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.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2011
Like many, I have been a fan of The Muppets for basically my entire life. And with complete confidence, I can say that this is the only Muppet production that is (in my opinion) outright bad. They've fallen a long way since their golden days, and this movie seems to represent the very epitome of the "new iteration of an old franchise penned by people who don't get it or don't really care".
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...
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2009
I was so psyched to see a new Muppets special. There's been such slim pickings after "Muppets From Space". "A Very Merry Muppets Christmas", which came out in 2002, was a wee cluttered but is palpable for multiple viewings. The wholly unwatchable "Muppets' Wizard of Oz", however, was a stinking turd of a movie. Even this fan, who is a hardcore Muppet freak, couldn't make it through the whole thing.
So I was crossing my fingers for this one.
It was better than Oz, in the fact that I made it through the entire thing. Of course, it was only an hour, and they took so many commercial breaks that the darn thing was probably only about 35 minutes total, if that.
Many things could have helped what felt like a half-assed hack job. "Ooh, let's make up some random crap and make the Muppets do it, never taking into consideration how the characters should really behave," the writers said, I imagine. First, who the heck is Claire? And why should we care? What is the point of introducing two new characters that no one knows and no one cares about, for a measly one-hour special? Look, I get it. You want humans. Whoopie. Do like with Nathan Lane and Uma Thurman and give them bit roles. I'm sorry, but when it's the Muppets Anything, it should be them starring. And Jane Krakowski was completely wasted here. How sad.
What would have been much more believable would be if one of the letters was Robin's, Kermit's nephew. And Kermit feels compelled to get to Santa; which brings me to my next point--why the hell is GONZO the focus? He, while an interesting character, is not the main driver in the Muppets. Kermit is. Kermit always has been. He is the main character in the Muppets. That's how it is; that's the natural way of this franchise. It's just like Jerry is the main character of Seinfeld, like Carrie is the main of Sex and the City. Sure, we learn about the other three players; sure, there are other bit ones introduced. But, the core remains the same, and the leader does as well. The four main Muppets are Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, and Piggy. Those are the four that everyone thinks of, and those are the four who are at the center of each story, with Kermit as the lead.
Not that I have a problem with Gonzo, oh no. I like Gonzo. He's just the second best friend in this situation, not the star.
Now some may say, "But hey, wait, Gonzo was the focus of "Muppets From Space". He can carry a picture!" Sure. It worked there--because it was a plausible storyline. You couldn't do aliens with any of the other main Muppets, except maybe some of the band. Also, Gonzo was his normal self in Space--strange, thinking out of the box, running around like a crazy guy. Just as he should be. In "Letters", though, it's like someone gave the guy too much Paxil. He's got no zip, no spunk, none of his usual quirkiness. He's just slightly depressed and much too mellow for his character.
Speaking of wrong characters, we now come to my biggest sticking point--Piggy. Now, my disclosure is that Miss Piggy has been my favorite Muppet since I was about 2 years old. I've always seen her as a confident woman who knows what she wants and doesn't let anyone hold her back. Who, for instance, hit Kermit and brought back his memory in "Muppets Take Manhattan"? Who stood by her frog in "A Very Merry Muppet Christmas"? Who was the co-star for Kermit in "A Muppet Christmas Carol"? She is a strong woman, in more ways than one, and when the chips are down, she sticks by her friends. But this Piggy? I'm disgusted. They made her a selfish brat, as they did in "Oz". Despicable. If this were the real Piggy, she would've stuck by her friends, especially her frog. I could picture her perfectly being jealous when Joy showed up, which would've been more natural than to just write her out in the first five minutes. Was it because her eyes look so darn funny? Was I the only one who noticed that? What, did they lose her original prototype, or something?
In fact, not just Piggy, but the whole crowd would stick by the main characters and help out. That's what Muppets always do--they support each other like a team. They carpool to California in "The Muppet Movie" to break into the movies. They put on each Muppet Show together. They saved their Theatre in "A Very Merry" by sticking by each other. It's completely wrong to think that anyone of them would walk out on each other. Sure, some tried to punk out in the "Great Muppet Caper", but eventually they all came together to save the day. Besides, returning letters versus possibly getting killed? Please. One can hardly compare the two, and fault their hesitation.
And speaking of the other characters, Family Guy wasn't wrong. Wrong-sounding Muppets is the worst. Waldorf sounded so weird, Janice wasn't right, and the friend I watched with said, "Hey, wasn't Beaker's voice higher?" I understand that many of the originals have moved on, either to different projects or to that great Muppetland in the sky. I'm just surprised that these talented voice people can't bend their vocal chords a little further to sound a little more like the characters they're playing. I know it's hard, and I acknowledge that. But it's disheartening to hear a character's voice come out strange, when you thought you knew that voice perfectly.
To sum up, it was ok to watch once, making it better than "Oz". But I wouldn't want to see it again, making it only slightly better than "Oz" and not on par with what the Muppets should be putting out. Completely disappointing.