Before he died, Jim Henson
directed one last project with The Muppets
for the group he was working on selling them to, Disney
. The show, Muppet*Vision 3D
, which was written for the Disney Theme Parks
, combines 3D images, audio animatronics, and live actors for one of the parks' most interactive movies. It premiered in 1991 at the Disney-MGM Studios theme park (now Disney Hollywood Studios) in Walt Disney World. It also became an opening day attraction for the Disney California Adventure park at Disneyland in 2001, although the movie often gets replaced nowadays with a preview for a new 3D Disney movie.
The film starts in the queue, with an informative (and hilarious) pre-show, involving Sam the Eagle explaining the safety proceedings before ushering the people in. The actual show involves the Muppets having just perfected Muppet*Vision and attempting to demonstrate it through various musical numbers, with varying success.
See also the Muppet Wiki entry
and the imdb entry
Muppet*Vision 3D provides examples of the following tropes:
- 3-D Movie: Though, due to all the in-theater effects, it was later dubbed a "4D" movie in Disney promotional materials, which may mark the first time that term was used.
- Affectionate Parody: "A Salute to All Nations, but Mostly America" is this to "It's a Small World", complete with the actual song turning up on the soundtrack.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: It really takes advantage of popping things out at you with the addition of 3D. At one point, a machine on-screen sucks anything that crosses its radius, including a penguin conducting the live orchestra pit that flies into the screen!
- Captive Audience: Statler and Waldorf, because "We're bolted to the seats!" This references the fact that they are Audio-Animatronics here.
- Crossover Punchline: At the end, when Waldo thinks he's escaped the film, he shapeshifts into Mickey Mouse. "No one will ever find me now!"
- Deadpan Snarker: As befitting the fact that this is Muppets, Statler and Waldorf show up. Apparently they lost a contest, and that's why they have box seats to the show.
- Delayed Reaction:
Gonzo: Hey, Bean, what's up?
Bean Bunny: I'm going away... forever!
Gonzo: Oh, great! Could you get me a sandwich? (turns to audience) Would any of you people like anything? Bean says he's going out— FOREVER?!
- Everything's Better with Penguins: The orchestra.
- Flat "What.": During Miss Piggy's littlenote musical number.
Bean: I guess we won't be needing this.
Miss Piggy: What's this?
Bean: Oh, it was for the big water skiing finale.
Miss Piggy: What!? AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Coming and going. Waldo's antics in the movie's final sequence cause a small explosion in the penguin orchestra. The penguins retaliate with a cannon and blow out the Swedish Chef's projection booth. Chef takes out his blunderbuss and takes several potshots at Waldo until he sends out his OWN CANNON that blows up the theater!!
- Funny Background Event
- Beaker's interactions with the Muppet*Vision 3D machine during their demonstration.
- Most people miss it when, a few minutes later as Kermit continues the tour, Scooter and Janice ride across the hallway in the background on a double-seat bicycle. While every single other thing in the film is either showcasing the 3D or Played for Laughs, this just... exists. Especially notable since it's one of the very few times you can see Muppets' legs.
- Be sure to turn around a few times to keep an eye on what Swedish Chef is up to in the projection room.
- As Kermit addresses the audience at the end, there are human "tourists" peering into the theater through the giant hole in the wall.
- Great Gazoo: Waldo
- Hypocritical Humor:
Kermit: So it's going to be a swell demonstration, and at no time will we be stooping to any cheap 3D tricks.
Fozzie: Did you say cheap 3D tricks?! (blows a party favor at the camera)
- Key Under the Doormat: In the queue.
- Large Ham: Waldo
- Letter Motif: Fozzie hires "The Three Ds", consisting of three female singers named Dinah, Dorothy, and Debbie, to sing during the preshow. Debbie fell ill and became temporarily replaced by a Wholesome Crossdresser named Max.
- No Fourth Wall
- Paddleball Shot: Fozzie's "cheap 3D trick" mentioned on Hypocritical Humor is only the first such instance; later, Sweetums plays with an actual paddleball, just to rub it in.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: In the preshow, Rizzo attempts to pass himself off as Mickey Mouse. Sam is not amused.
- Pie in the Face: Happens to Fozzie when the remote control for his remote-controlled banana cream pie breaks, causing the pie to spin out of control and hit Fozzie in the face.
- Random Events Plot: This film has absolutely no story whatsoever except the Muppets demonstrating their newly developed three-dimenional viewing technology Muppet*Vision 3D to the audience.
- Scotty Time:
Sam: It is a glorious three-hour finale.
Kermit: You got a minute and a half!
- Stuff Blowing Up: The climax boils down to this.
- Viewers Are Morons: This is Rizzo's justification for trying to pose as Mickey Mouse — "They're tourists, what do they know?"
- Visual Pun
- "Don't you just hate it when your nose runs?"
- All over the place in the queue. A net full of jello, anyone? Annette Funicello, the most famous member of the original Mickey Mouse Club, for those that don't get it.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Waldo
- We All Live in America: Parodied in this exchange:
Kermit the Frog: And we've also got a big musical finale from Sam the Eagle. Sam, what's it about?
Sam the Eagle: It's called "A Salute to All Nations, but Mostly America".
Statler: So, with this 3D thing, it's like they're coming right out of the screen.
Waldorf: Why would you want that? It's bad enough when they stay behind it!