Of Muppets and mermaids
The Manila Times
SOME Disney is in order this week. Ten episodes of “The Muppets Mayhem” dropped earlier this month. The series features members of the band “Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem,” which debuted in the ‘70s on “The Muppet Show.” Dr. Teeth, Floyd, Lips, Zoot, Janice and Animal meet Nora Singh (Lilly Singh), a record company underling who says the band owes Wax Town Records an album. Will said, “Album get made before Wax Town Records goes under and gets sold to a former employee?” I found “The Muppets Mayhem” made for mostly a Gen X audience (those who were kids when “The Muppet Show” first came out) as it makes so many references to classic rock, and a majority of the cameos are more familiar to that age group as well. They include Danny Trejo, Steve Aoki, Morgan Freeman, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin, Billy Corgan, Susanna Hoffs, Tommy Lee, Kesha, Lil’ Nas X, Ziggy Marley — the full list is longer. Not all the jokes fly. Animal continues to be my favorite, and as much as some cameos were fun, I miss seeing interactions with the other muppets. I wonder, though, if this is something a seven-year-old would enjoy. *** Out last Wednesday is Disney’s much talked about, latest live-action iteration of an animated classic by the studio. The animated “The Little Mermaid” came out in 1989 — 34 years ago! Instead of letting my Gen X cynicism get the best of me, I thought the perfect people to talk about “The Little Mermaid” would be my friend and correspondent CJ Miñoza who last worked with me on “Thor: Love and Thunder.” He attended the Philippine premiere with his soon-to-be seven-year-old. He still found something exciting about going back to a beloved old story, even if we know what it’s about and how things go. But a trip back under the sea “becomes unique because it’s seen with different eyes.” In both meanings of the phrase — you are not the same person you were when you first watched it, and you could be with someone for whom this will all be new. CJ adds, “In no way is ‘The Little Mermaid’ a simple trip down memory lane. Though it does, for the most part, stick to the classic animated version we grew up with, it also offers a few curves that manage to help the movie stand on its own.” He gives lead Halle Bailey a thumbs up (as do most of the early reviews). Those in an uproar over the casting can hopefully relax now. “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea,” “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” and “Kiss the Girl” are still highlights. This is all good to hear because I do belong to the school of thought where I question the necessity of live-action remakes of these animated classics. I did succumb to “Beauty and the Beast,” though. It is hard to totally escape Disney.