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It s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie is a 2002 American musical fantasy comedy television film directed by Kirk R. Thatcher and written by Tom Martin and Jim Lewis. The film premiered November 29, 2002 on NBC and the first film to be made for television for The Muppets franchise.
It stars Steve Whitmire, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, Eric Jacobson, Dave Arquette, Joan Cusack, Matthew Lillard, William H. Macy, and Whoopi Goldberg. The plot centers on Kermit the Frog who, after losing all hope for saving the Muppet Theatre, is assisted by an angel who shows him a world in which he was never born. The film is a homage to Frank Capra s 1946 film It s a Wonderful Life, which has a similar plot.
This was the first Muppets production without the involvement of veteran Muppet performer Frank Oz. Instead, Eric Jacobson performed Oz s characters Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and Animal, marking his feature film debut as those characters. The film is also one of the few Muppets-related productions that are currently not owned by The Walt Disney Company, and along with Sam and Friends are owned by NBCUniversal.
This is also the final Muppets material from The Jim Henson Company, as The Muppets were in their final years of ownership by Henson before being sold to Disney in 2004.
During the holiday season, the Muppet Theater is going through financial hardship, and the Muppets are seeking Kermit the Frog for guidance. Kermit eventually feels he is not useful to anyone and an angel named Daniel (David Arquette) brings this up with his Boss (Whoopi Goldberg) as they review what has gone on with Kermit in the past hours.
Hours earlier, Kermit prepares a Christmas show with his fellow Muppets with Bobo the Bear playing Santa Claus. Kermit is approached by Rachel Bitterman (Joan Cusack), a banker/real estate agent who says she will foreclose the Muppet Theater if Kermit does not pay her. Pepe the King Prawn leaves the Muppets because he has fallen in love with Bitterman. While trying to raise money to pay Bitterman, Kermit tries to find a celebrity to participate in his Christmas play to no avail.
Meanwhile, after learning from Pepe that the deadline is midnight, Bitterman changes it to 6:00 p.m. Pepe overhears this and warns Kermit about the deadline change. Upon learning this, Kermit sends Fozzie to deliver the money to Bitterman. Fozzie confronts a crazed nature-show host (spoofing Steve Irwin), and a gang of Whos after being dyed green at a Christmas tree lot and mistaken for the Grinch by some angry Whos. Fozzie goes through the steam baths and ends up back to normal where he throws off the Whos. When Fozzie eventually makes it to the bank and Bitterman s office, he goes through a gigantic web of burning lasers leading to Bitterman s office several times before finally discovering that he is too late and that he has grabbed the wrong bag containing clothes for the Salvation Army following his incident at the Christmas tree lot.
After witnessing these events, the Boss allows Daniel to help Kermit. When Daniel arrives, and after Kermit wishes he has never been born, he ends up showing Kermit what would have happened if he had not existed. In the world without Kermit, Bitterman has turned the park near the Muppet Theater into a shopping mall called Bitterman Plaza, the Muppet Theater itself has become a nightclub called Club Dot owned by Bitterman, Doc Hopper s French-Fried Frog Legs (first seen in The Muppet Movie) has become a famous fast-food restaurant, and all of Kermit s friends have fallen into various detrimental situations.
Kermit has Daniel restore him back to his reality and returns to the Muppet Theater. However, Bitterman arrives to shut the theater down and fights with Miss Piggy. Pepe arrives where he breaks up the fight and announces he has made the Muppet Theater into a historical landmark, foiling Bitterman s plan. Embittered and defeated, Bitterman storms out of the Muppet Theater.
Outside, the Muppets sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas .
- David Arquette as Daniel, an angel who appears to Kermit at Christmas
- Joan Cusack as Rachel Bitterman, a spoiled, rich young banker/real estate developer
- Matthew Lillard as Luc Fromage, a foppish French choreographer
- Whoopi Goldberg as The Boss, the Creator of the Universe
- William H. Macy as Glenn, an angel
- Mel Brooks as Joe Snow (voice only), parodying Sam the Snowman from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Chantal Strand as Nancy Nut-What
- Dave Squatch Ward as Sally Ann Santa Claus
- Steve Whitmire as Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Bean Bunny
- Dave Goelz as The Great Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Waldorf, Zoot, Beauregard
- Bill Barretta as Pepé the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear, Johnny Fiama, Swedish Chef, Lew Zealand, Howard Tubman, Rowlf the Dog
- Eric Jacobson as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Yoda
- Brian Henson as Scooter, Janice, Sal Minella
- Kevin Clash as Sam Eagle
- John Henson as Sweetums
- John Kennedy as Dr. Teeth
- Jerry Nelson as Robin the Frog, Statler, Floyd Pepper, Announcer
- Allan Trautman as Joe Snow (puppetry only), Eugene the Tuba Player
Additional Muppet Performers: Alice Dinnean, Geoff Redknap, Denise Cheshire, Drew Massey, Adam Behr, and Gord Robertson.
Cameo guest stars
- Zach Braff as Himself/Dr. John J.D. Dorian
- Sarah Chalke as Herself/Dr. Elliot Reid
- Carson Daly as Himself
- Snoop Dogg as Himself (deleted scene)
- Neil Flynn as Himself/Janitor
- Bill Lawrence as Himself
- John C. McGinley as Himself/Dr. Perry Cox
- Judy Reyes as Herself/Nurse Carla Espinosa
- Kelly Ripa as Herself
- Joe Rogan as Himself
- Molly Shannon as Herself
- Robert Smigel as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
Veteran Muppet performer Jerry Nelson was ill during filming, so most of his characters were puppeteered on set by others and later dubbed by Nelson in post-production. The exception was Nelson s character Lew Zealand, who was performed by Bill Barretta. Sam Eagle, a character originally performed by Frank Oz, was voiced in the film by Kevin Clash, while John Kennedy provided the on set puppetry.
Scooter, performed in the film by Brian Henson, makes his first major appearance since the death of his initial performer, Richard Hunt. Hunt s character Janice was also performed by Henson and has a speaking role for the first time since Hunt s death.
The film contains an original song, Everyone Matters , performed by Kermit and Gonzo as part of the world in which he had never been born, and then reprised at the end. The film also makes reference to the classic Muppet song Rainbow Connection , featuring a statue of Kermit in a park, erected in dedication for the lovers, the dreamers and you .
The movie was filmed prior to the September 11 attacks; one scene, set in a version of 2003 where Kermit was never born, shows the Twin Towers visible in the background. Years after the film s release, this detail gained viral attention, inspiring jokes that Kermit was responsible for 9/11.
|Plot||‘Twas the night before Christmas and the Muppet Theatre is in danger of being torn down, but with hilarious send-ups of just about every holiday movie ever made, the Muppets discover that what matters most is their love for each o…|
|Awards||Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy, 2 nominations total|
|Directors||Kirk R. Thatcher|
|Writers||Tom Martin, Jim Lewis|
|Stars||Steve Whitmire, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta|
|Produced by||Martin G. Baker, Bill Barretta, Juliet Blake, Warren Carr, Ruth Caruso, Brian Henson|
|Music by||Mark Watters|
|Cinematography by||Tony Westman|
|Film Editing by||Gregg Featherman|
|Production Design by||Michael S. Bolton|
|Art Direction by||James Steuart|
|Set Decoration by||Linda Vipond|
|Costume Design by||Polly Smith, Sandra J. Blackie|
|Makeup Department||Sandy Cooper, Harlow MacFarlane, Charles Porlier, Debra Wiebe|
|Production Management||Warren Carr, Annie Court, Drew Locke, Ritamarie Peruggi|
|Second Unit Director or Assistant Director||Fred Frame, Leann Harvey, Alexis Hinde, Patrice Leung, David Mills, Tracey Poirier, Patrick Stark|
|Art Department||Dave Conway, Brian Epp, Phil Gough, Kevin Griffin-Park, Frank Haddad, Leesa Hanna, Iesza Jessica Jordan, Theron Layne, John Marcynuk, Wendy McAllister, Roxanne Methot, Beth Nelson, Kristin Shanski, Christine Shaw, Grant Swain, Joel Turner, Darcy Wyness, Patrick Zahorodniuk|
|Sound Department||Darren Brisker, Neil Cedar, Ryan Darden, Stephen Fitzmaurice, Richard C. Franklin, Sara Kohlman, Carey Milbradt, Charles O Shea, Chris Ostler, Larry Stensvold, Richard Taylor, Sarah Workhoven|
|Special Effects by||James G. Fisher, Brant McIlroy, Robert Yeager|
|Visual Effects by||Adrian Banton, Hal Bertram, Jason Bielski, Clare Burgess, Charlene Eberle Douglas, Sean Feeney, Alan Latteri, Nick Lloyd, Dusan Strugar, John B. Anderson, Adrian Banton, Hitesh Bharadia, Mike Connolly, James Furlong, Myf Hopkins, Alberto Montañés, Mike Pope, Dan Sheerin|
|Camera and Electrical Department||John Adams, Toby Armitt, Paul Arnel, Trevor Butt, Harvey Fedor, Niall Fraser, Rob Graham, Peter Grotek, Martin Udo Haas, Colin Hudson, Simon Hunt, Armin Matter, Carl Pederson, Randal Platt, Brian Rose, Charlie Schultz, Lance White, Keith Woods|
|Casting Department||Lynne Carrow, Allison Cowitt, Mike Fenton, Ann Frederick|
|Costume and Wardrobe Department||Jessica Lythgoe-Green, Anthea Mallinson, Kurtis Reeves, Heather Seshadri|
|Editorial Department||Brian Anton, Frank Mazzaro, Leeanna Romero, Sati Tooray|
|Location Management||Teresa Gough, Robert Murdoch, Suzanne Cross|
|Music Department||Michael Atwell, Tim Bryson, Annmarie Crivelli, Audrey DeRoche, Ross DeRoche, Ira Hearshen, Jimmy Hoyson, Robert Irving, Andrew Kinney, Dino A. Moriana, Don Nemitz, Bill Newlin, John Richards, J. Eric Schmidt, Nan Schwartz, Stephen James Taylor, Eric Tomlinson, Christopher Klatman|
|Script and Continuity Department||Sophie Brodovitch, Lana Krotenko, Kelly Moon|
|Transportation Department||Ron James, Tony Johnson, Jason Wayne Spencer|
|Additional Crew||Mary Brehmer, Brittan Brown, Edward G. Christie, Ric De Groot, Andrea Detwiler, Brad Elliott, Sandy Fox, Kathleen Gati, Jerry Gelb, Alexander Glua, Jane Gootnick, Catherine Gordon, Michael Gough, Paul Hartis, James Hibbard, Ann Marie Holdgruen, Lauri Johnson, Gordon Juli, Lorne Kostyshin, Lex Lang, Stephanie Leavitt, Laura Livingstone, Danny Mann, Mona Marshall, Tom Martin, Jasmine McCaig, David M. McLoughlin, Robert Milicevic, Tim Miller, Tom Newby, Joan Parkinson, Karen Pelrine, Michael Roberts, Lia Sargent, Adrienne Sol, Rhonda Taylor, Mike Atwater, Simon Bright, Raimey Casiro, Allison Chretien, Ian Doig, Grace MacLeod, Jason Wayne Spencer|
|Genres||Adventure, Comedy, Family|
|Companies||National Broadcasting Company (NBC), The Jim Henson Company, Jim Henson Productions|
|Keywords||campy,nbc,god,guardian angel,alternate reality|