This is the last Fairy tale movie of the review set, this series was supposed to be done back in December 2015 originally but I kept extending it to the point of madness.
Jim Henson’s The Frog Prince is from 1971 and if you can’t guess from the title it’s a Muppet retelling of The Frog Prince. The only well-known Muppets to appear in it are Kermit, Robin and Sweetums. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know this one prior a guess made by Esmee see here.
But is it that good even for a TV Muppet special from the 1970’s?
Kermit is your typical frog living in a well near a castle, along with many many other frogs. One day a new frog arrives named Robin the Brave. Robin claims that he’s really prince that was cursed by a evil witch and nearly eaten by her ogre. He says the only way to break his spell is to befriend a Princess, live her castle and get a her to kiss him. Kermit is sympathetic to Robin but doesn’t believe him. But Kermit does teach Robin to swim somewhat at least though Robin favors the doggy-paddle.
At the same time King Rupert II is announcing that since his daughter, Princess Melora is of age, which is 19, he will step down as King and she will became Queen. This makes Robin happy as there is Princess nearby that might help him turn back to a human.
Melora comes to the well and Robin learns that she too is under an enchantment that prevents anyone from understanding her as her speech is mostly spoonerisms. Like she says fretty plower instead of pretty flower. However when he father tells her she is to be the Queen she is happy though her father can’t understand her. She then sits at the well and sings and then drops her golden ball into the well. Robin offers to get it for her if she becomes his friend and takes him to palace to live. She agrees though with some hesitant and despite Robin’s lack of swimming skills he gets her ball back. As she places Robin in her basket he sees the witch that cursed him, Taminella, who now is posing as the King’s sister and she is also the one that cursed Melora so she couldn’t tell her father that Taminella wasn’t the King’s Sister. Kermit also follows them to palace to keep an eye on them.
As it turns out Robin can understand most of what Melora says. The only thing he can’t figure out is the way to stop Taminella, which Melora says is “bake the hall in the candle of her brain.” Taminella then stops Melora from giving Robin a kiss.
At lunch the King tells Melora that since no can understand her the King has decided to crown Taminella as Queen. Melora and Robin try to tell the king that Taminella is a wicked witch that cursed her. Taminella takes Robin way to the Sweetums who wants to eat him. Robin convinces Sweetums to eat his tomorrow and lulls him to sleep. Kermit appears to help Robin escape but can’t lift the latch. Kermit then convinces a sleeping-walking Sweetum to free Robin. It works but Sweetums walks up and trashes the place and is knocked unconscious by a pillar.
Kermit and Robin get to coronation as it starting. Robin struggles to figure out what bake the hall in the candle of her brain means. To buy time Robin has Kermit get the other frogs from the well to create a distraction. Robin the figures the clue out which is “break the ball in handle of her cane” so he bites her causing her to drop the cane and breaks the ball. This causes her to explode and become a bird. And Melora’s spell is broken, she the kisses Robin and he turns back into a prince. The King is confuse but recongize it has a happy ending and crowns Melora.
Queen Melora and Prince Robin get married but they still visit their friend Kermit and even named their baby after him, pretty good for a frog.
This movie or more accurately Special is adorable. It’s the right blend of Muppet wacky yet dry humor and fairy tale elements. It’s not forced. Though I have to ask with Melora curse was her writing effected too? Because it would have be easy if it wasn’t and it wasn’t even mentioned. Mostly it didn’t bother me because all the other elements were delightful.
Kermit is his typical self but that isn’t a fault, who doesn’t love Kermit! Sweetums is in a antagonist role which is different for him but it worked. Robin is Robin though he kind of fun to see him as a romantic lead or romantic deuteragonist.
I do like how they show that Robin is love with Melora because he can understand her it’s not just to break the spell, they form a connection. I also like the juxtaposition of Robin with the dashing Prince.
Taminella Grinderfell is not exclusive to this. She debut in 1962 and stared in Tales of Tinkerdee, which was the unaired pilot. She was revived for this and she is great. She just a mean witch who wants power. Nothing wrong with that. She also has a cool design and concept art. Also I should add that it seems that Taminella was the source of nightmares for young kids who watched this special. It understand as she as a human shape body as a result of how the puppet is operated but does look human. That sort of combo can be scary. Also she reminds me a little bit of the Groke from Moomins who was also a source of terror for young children.
King Rupert II is great, dumb but fun. I love the scene where it’s revealed how Taminella tricked him, very silly. He also sounds like Rolf the dog.
Melora is great too. She doesn’t have much of personality but she is nice but not a push over. She tries to tell her father about Taminella and she does figure out to break the spell. It also refreshing to see that she wants to be a Queen and is not fighting fate.
As is standard with muppets project the technicals are great, they have to be or the muppets wouldn’t be believable. Are they perfect? No but are what they need to be for project.
The songs are also cute.
Got to give it to Trudy Young as Melora for making her lines feel natural. I’ve seen worst acting and diction with lines that make sense. Melora’s line are all messed up but she makes it work.
It’s about self-awareness, Jim Henson’s The Frog Prince know exactly what it is and everything about it coalesces to fit it’s identify. It’s silly yet smart and wacky yet heartfelt.
I wish it was on DVD.Follow thehunchblog