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Muppets from Space

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tim Hill
Produced by Brian Henson
Martin G. Baker
Timothy M. Bourne
Alex Rockwell
Executive Producer:
Stephanie Allain
Kristine Belson
Written by Jerry Juhl
Joey Mazzarino
Ken Kaufman
Starring The Muppets
Jeffrey Tambor
David Arquette
F. Murray Abraham
Andie Macdowell
Ray Liotta
Kathy Griffin with
Katie Holmes and
Joshua Jackson
Music by Jamshied Sharifi
Cinematography Alan Caso
Editing by Richard Pearson
Michael A. Stevenson
Studio Jim Henson Pictures
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) July 14, 1999
Running time 87 min
Country United States
Language English
Budget $24,000,000
Gross revenue $22,323,612
Preceded by Muppet Treasure Island (1996)
Followed by It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002)

Muppets from Space is the sixth feature film to star The Muppets, and the first since the death of Muppets creator Jim Henson to have an original Muppet-focused plot. This film was directed by Tim Hill, produced by Jim Henson Pictures, distributed by Columbia Pictures and originally released to movie theatres in 1999. This film and The Muppets Take Manhattan are the only theatrical Muppet movies not owned by Walt Disney Pictures, even after the 2004 purchase of the Muppets from The Walt Disney Company.

This is also the first Muppet film to feature Gonzo as the central character and protagonist when usually Kermit the Frog is the main character.



Gonzo has always been classified as a "whatever," but after he begins to have disturbing dreams of abandonment, he begins to realize just how alone he is in the world. After an alien race appears to be trying to send him a message through bowls of cereal, Gonzo realizes that he may not be so alone after all and climbs to the rooftop to start watching the sky. His dreams are realized when he's hit by a bolt of lightning that serves as a conduit that allows him to communicate with a pair of cosmic fish, revealing to him that he is, in fact, an alien from outer space.

When Kermit and his friends refuse to believe his wild raving, however, Gonzo is lured into the clutches of K. Edgar Singer (Jeffrey Tambor), a government agent who has also taken note of the aliens' attempts at communication and believes that Gonzo is his key to convincing his superiors that aliens do in fact exist. Kermit and the gang spring into action to rescue Gonzo, with the help of some handy inventions (door in a jar, a rubber duck that sprays gas that makes you invisible when you squeeze it, and mind control spray) courtesy of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew.

A talking sandwich asks Gonzo where the alien ship can land, and Gonzo suggests Cape Doom. The Muppets go there after rescuing Gonzo and, along with a crowd of alien-happy spectators, await their arrival. The ship comes to Earth and the aliens, who all look like Gonzo, explain that many Zultans ago they lost him but welcome him back to the fold. K. Edgar Singer turns up and tries to kill the Aliens, but thanks to Bobo the bear who has disabled his weapon, he cannot and is laughed at. Gonzo considers going in to space with the Gonzo-like aliens, until he realizes his true home is on Earth with his surrogate family and friends, and K. Edgar Singer goes with the aliens as Earth's ambassador due to being so amusing.

The film ends with the Muppets watching the stars on the roof. Gonzo tells Kermit he wonders why did his family ask him to build a jacuzzi. Pepe chuckles because he and Rizzo had pretended to be them and asked him to do it.

Muppet Cast

The character of Scooter had stopped appearing following the death of puppeteer Richard Hunt, though Scooter appears briefly in the movie in a speaking cameo voiced by Hunt's brother, Adam Hunt.

This is the final major Muppet production in which the characters of Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Sam the Eagle, and Animal are performed by their original puppeteer Frank Oz. Eric Jacobson would take over these roles starting with 2002's It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie.

Human Cast

Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson have uncredited cameos in the film as their characters from the television series Dawson's Creek. Although neither character is identified by name, they refer to the absence of Dawson.

In one scene "Hulk "Hollywood" Hogan" makes an appearance and cuts a short nWo promo before putting Rizzo the Rat down a tube to the lab.




An earlier draft of the story was written by Kirk Thatcher called "Muppets In Space." In the screenplay, aliens abducted Kermit because they believed him to be their leader, leading the other Muppets to attempt to save him. A set of Welch's Jelly Glasses were produced based around this theme.


This was the first Muppet film to not be a traditional musical film with original music, opting instead for a soundtrack comprised primarily of classic soul and funk tracks. Some tracks were remade by contemporary artists, such as "Shining Star" by the Dust Brothers featuring Jeymes, and "Dazz" by G. Love and Special Sauce. Parliament's "Flash Light" was updated by George Clinton as a duet with Pepe the King Prawn named "Starlight". This was also the first Muppet film to have a separate score album (Jamshied Sharfi composed the score, released by Varese Sarabande).

Earlier drafts of the film had more original music, including the song "Eye 2 the Sky", written and recorded by Ween, which was not included on the soundtrack. This song was intended to be sung by Gonzo. Dave Goelz had also recorded a new rendition of "I'm Going to Go Back There Some Day" for this film, a song which had originally appeared in The Muppet Movie. This song was also dropped, but was included on the Muppets from Space soundtrack, also sung by Gonzo.


Among the many pop culture references, K. Edgar Singer makes a Star Trek reference in the film, complete with the appropriate musical cues from the original 1960s television series.


Overall, the film was considered a flop theatrically, grossing only $16,625,807 against its $24 million budget. Reviews were mixed though positive, with a 62% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 52 reviews (though this is lower than any of the previous Muppet films, all of which have reached at least 70% favorability on that site). Its consensus stated "Charming and light-hearted, this feature captures the early magic of the Muppets". According to Brian Henson, the film was planned by the Henson company to be released in the off season, like other Muppet films, but Columbia wanted Muppets from Space to be their big summer movie, rushing production and causing there to be less advertising for the film. The film had also suffered coming out the same summer as Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and having to face fierce competition against South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Wild Wild West, Inspector Gadget and Runaway Bride. There has not been another theatrical Muppet film since, yet a new movie is in the works as Disney recently enlisted Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller to create the next Muppet movie for the studio.

References to Popular Culture

  • In one scene when Dr. Van Neuter is removing Gonzo's Brain, tubes wrap around his neck, he utters, "Release me.", a phrase from Independence Day (film).

External links


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