Was it the most sensational inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational special?

Updated: Feb 5

The Muppets and Disney have had a strange history to say the least, the mouse officially brought the brand back in 2004 and have since rarely done much with the brand. Compare it to another big name like Star Wars, which Disney acquired back in 2012, which has seen an influx in new projects. Three sequel movies with another three on the way, multiple animated spin offs, multiple live-action spin offs, no end of merchandising.

Now let’s see what Disney has done with The Muppets: Two movies, four T.V shows and one special.

So it’s safe to say the mouse didn’t really have a plan for The Muppets, and it shows. However, no matter how many people want The Muppets back in modern society, Disney isn’t willing to let the rights go or really do anything with the IP; until as of recent.

Released on the 7th of October, The Muppets Haunted Mansion premiered on Disney+. The 52-minute special parodies the classic Disneyland attraction, The Haunted Mansion, with countless guest stars and musical tracks.

The special itself focuses on Gonzo the Great and Pepe the King Prawn, as they explore the haunted house owned by the once alive Great MacGuffin. No matter how many scares the ghouls and ghosts of the manor throw at Gonzo, the whatever isn’t scared in the slightest unlike his part-going crustacean.

The special focuses on all the classic gimmicks you’d find in the Haunted Mansion as well as providing some Muppet twists, for example, all the ghosts that inhabit the manor are other members of said Muppets. Fozzy is Gauzey the Hatbox Bear, Miss Piggy is Madame Pigota and Kermit is the Mansion’s Show host.

My favourite song from the special has to be ‘Life Hereafter’ which focuses on the ghostly crew informing Gonzo about his time in the grave, all through a little jazzy number with beats from the original Muppet opening theme song.

The set design was amazing, there was so much detail in every prop, every wallpaper design to make it feel as though you were back at the parks on the ride itself; with moments featuring aspects of the ride. Though you can tell most of the money went into the backdrops as the CGI scenes or wherever it features are pretty lacking. But I’m not surprised with the impossibly small budget they had.

There weren’t many occasions where I laughed aloud to myself, there were moments, but they were few and far between. Often, they explained the jokes, which at one point they make another joke about, but it was mostly unfunny jokes and slapstick humour. It’s a shame because The Muppets have been known to use quite witty and sarcastic humor, as well as being very fourth wall breaking.

The celebrity cast is strange to say the least, The Muppets are obviously known for their extensive celebrity cast list but this time it just feels off. There were celebrities like Alfonso Ribeiro, most famously known for playing Carlton in the Fresh Prince of Belair, and Will Arnett who hosted the special in a way. But there were many celebrities that some audiences may not have known or haven’t been in the spotlight for years, it just felt weird not to have any current celebrities mixed in.

All in all, The Muppet’s Haunted Mansion wasn’t a total flop. It had some good songs, amazing set design and as usual outstanding puppeteering. I wish Disney would put more effort into this franchise, it definitely deserves it and shouldn’t be treated like garbage.

The Muppet’s Haunted Mansion gets 2 ghouls out of 5.

The Muppet's Haunted Mansion is now streaming on Disney+.

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