It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Jolson sang, Barrymore spoke, Garbo laughed, and now Kermit the Frog rides a bicycle. “The Muppet Movie” not only stars the Muppets but, for the first time, shows us their feet. And if you can figure out how they were able to show Kermit pedaling across the screen, then you are less a romantic than I am: I prefer to believe he did it himself.
He's pedaling on his way to Hollywood, and “The Muppet Movie” itself is one of those origin stories so beloved by comic books. We've learned how Spiderman came into his extraordinary powers, and now here are the earliest days of the Muppets.
Kermit, we learn, was born in a swamp. Well, maybe we coulda guessed it. And he was born with an ability somewhat unusual to frogs: a talent for playing the ukelele. We encounter him sitting on a log and singing one of the movie's several Paul Williams songs, and for just a second we wonder where Jim Henson is. That's because Kermit is quite clearly surrounded by water, and we can't for the life of us figure out where they hid the Muppeteer.
It turns out Henson was sitting in a watertight compartment and communicating with the rest of the crew via walkie-talkie, and that Kermit's hands on the ukelele were animated by remote control, and that all sorts of technology went into making the Muppets move, but after that first second we quit wondering: This is magic, after all, so who wants to know where Henson is?