"It's strange to see Jeffrey Tambor carry a movie."
It’s odd that Muppets from Space and another holiday offering, Bicentennial Man, should both be concerned with a character’s uniqueness. It’s also rather strange to see character actor Jeffrey Tambor carrying much of a movie, in the role of the head of a national security agency vitally interested in communications of extra-terrestrial origin. What’s more, the star of this movie is neither Kermit the Frog nor Miss Piggy, but their less-glamorous confrere, The Great Gonzo.The story opens with Noah (F. Murray Abraham) overseeing animals entering his ark two by two. When Gonzo turns up, Noah turns him down, because there’s only one of him. After Gonzo wakes up from his nightmare, he is tormented by the realisation that there is only one of him in the world.
Soon, the communications start. The letters of Gonzo’s alphabet cereal spell out “Watch the sky” and “RU there”. When “RU there” appears on landmarks all over the world, security chiefs get involved, convinced the message is aimed at contacts on earth prior to an alien invasion. But the aliens are trying to contact their long-lost brother, Gonzo -- which explains why Gonzo is unique. With the help of his Muppet friends -- Pepe the Prawn in a prominent role -- Gonzo evades the Feds, to be reunited with his outer space kin in a musical finale.
The Muppet Christmas Carol set a high standard for any subsequent Muppets movie to follow; but Muppets from Space succeeds in its more modest aims. It has a story which even small children could follow easily enough, starting with an atmospheric beginning and going on to plenty of comedy and action, all in very attractive colour. There’s little to go above small heads, as in the pop culture references which now seem obligatory in children’s movies. And although The Great Gonzo stars, all the Muppet characters make an appearance to please their fans.I should add that, by all rights, Miss Piggy deserves a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role as a TV reporter. I should add that, because she knows where I live. (Shane Lewis--filmnet.org.au)