On Friday, Oct. 8, Disney released the highly anticipated “Muppets Haunted Mansion,” a treat for Muppet and Disney fans alike. Based on the Disney Parks attraction, “The Haunted Mansion,” the movie follows Gonzo and Pepe the King Prawn as they visit the old estate of a famous magician on Halloween night. Pepe assumes that the night will be filled with Hollywood celebrities, while Gonzo aims to find out what happened to the deceased magician. Upon their entry to the house, they are met with some spooky surprises. The two navigate the house, challenged with spending the night — or else they’ll become trapped in the home forever.
The film is a great watch. It is chock full of old horror movie references and Disney Easter eggs, making it a fun experience for anyone interested in pop culture. The musical comedy is star-studded with names like Will Arnett, Taraji P. Henson and Darren Criss gracing the screen. In particular, it is interesting to see Arnett take on the role of the Ghost Host, a far cry from his more adult-oriented roles in “Bojack Horseman” and “Arrested Development.” Taraji P. Henson also gives a riveting performance as Constance Hatchaway, bringing the comedy we’ve come to expect from her.
The special feels like a wonderful throwback to “The Muppet Show” of the 1970s. My childhood was filled with the fuzzy friends we know as the Muppets. My dad and I used to watch the classic for hours on end, so I immediately loved this movie. But even if you aren’t a Muppet fan, this film is still a wonderful watch, as it provides something for everyone. Longtime Muppet fans will get a smile on their faces from the groovy tunes of “Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem,” or from the wise-cracking of characters Statler and Waldorf.
The only thing that threw me off upon watching was the voice of Kermit the Frog. Voiced by the creator Jim Henson until his death in 1990, the role was then given to Steve Whitmire. Whitmire voiced the character until 2017, when he was fired for misconduct — according to fellow castmates, Whitmire would repeatedly make a scene, and write letters or emails attacking directors and producers. The role of the green icon was then handed over to Matt Vogel, who still currently holds the title. Whitmire’s portrayal was shockingly similar to that of Henson’s, but Vogel’s voice is so different from what we’ve come to know that the scenes featuring Kermit drew me away from the plot.
Regardless of this, “Muppets Haunted Mansion” is a great movie to watch with little siblings, or even on your own. It gives a fun scare for little kids, and a good laugh for adults. In just under an hour, “Muppets Haunted Mansion” achieves all that the previous Muppet movies have. It lives up to the expectations its predecessors have set. In all, streaming this movie will no doubt bring about some cheerful Halloween fun.