This beloved film featuring The Muppets and adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s story turned 25 years old this week. Here, we take a look at why fans love it so much…
The adaptation: filled with humour and adventure, this was my first exposure to the story that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote – but a quick google suggests that the plot for the Muppet’s interpretation is remarkably faithful with a few tweaks here and there to add to the comedy. The screenplay keeps the spirit of adventure lively and exciting enough to keep the younger viewers engaged.
The songs: of course, if you think of Muppet Treasure Island, there is one song in particular that will probably stick out in your mind – ‘Cabin Fever’. It is a crazy yet catchy song written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil that really captures the spirit of the film perfectly (as well as suiting these lockdown times). But there are other strong songs in there as well including ‘Shiver My Timbers‘ is a really bold and strong opening number that sweeps you into the story automatically. Meanwhile, ‘A Professional Pirate’ is filled with smart and witty lyrics and ‘Sailing for Adventure‘ is simply a joy to listen to. It is impossible not to watch this and not sing along to these songs.
The humour: whether your a child or an adult, there is always something to be found in Muppet Treasure Island to make you chuckle or laugh. It is filled with an endearing silliness that is very much part of its charm – Squire Trelawney (Fozzie Bear) describing the ocean as “the big blue wet thing” or Miss Piggy as Benjamina giving Smollett (Kermit the Frog) a good smack when she first sees him – it has all the trademarks of a classic Muppet film.
The cast: aside from the beloved muppets, there is actually a really strong human cast as well. Billy Connelly has some of the very best lines in the film during his short but memorable role as Billy Bones, while Jennifer Saunders puts in a typically hilarious performance as Mrs. Bluveridge (particularly as she fights off the pirates). Tim Curry as Long John Silver makes for a delightful scoundrel of a pirate, with just a hint of compassion to his character that keeps him balanced.
The overall joyful spirit of the film: from start to finish whether it is through the use of song, humour or the script, Muppet Treasure Island just exudes joy and is always guaranteed to leave you smiling. It is still one of the best Muppet films to date.