Directed By Peter Jackson
I recently had the opportunity (misfortune?) of catching one of Peter Jackson’s earlier works. It lead me to thinking of how much our expectations have changed with directors. Peter Jackson was able to direct something so completely out in left field like Meet The Feebles and still be handed the keys to The Lord of The Rings.
Nowadays, directors seems to prove themselves with smaller independent films. Colin Treverrow’s hoop was Safety Not Guaranteed. Josh Trank directed Chronicle before being handed Fantastic Four. Gareth Edwards did Monsters before Godzilla. It’s odd to say that Peter Jackson did Meet The Feebles before Lord Of The Rings. Meet The Feebles in many ways seems like a reason to not hire someone as a director.
It’s intentionally schlocky, so you can’t really be that mad at it. It’s like the Sharknado franchise which just embraces the fact that it is awful cinema. Meet The Feebles is not a “poke” at The Muppets, it’s a decapitation of The Muppets. It’s so obviously a sendup of our favorite Jim Henson puppets. What else could it be? It’s so much darker, so much raunchier, that it gets lost a bit in translation. The print that I saw was poor quality too. I’m sure no one was in a rush to preserve this print.
Grading a film like this, that has become known for being a borderline grind house film, is next to impossible. I could grade it against other films, but that’s not fair really, because other films would never have a walrus getting a BJ from a cat. I could grade it against other schlocky films, but it’s not in on the joke enough. I was never fully entertained. I felt more like the film was made by someone who just really fucking hated Jim Henson. It felt more like watching revenge porn. I can honestly say I would never recommend the film to anyone. I wouldn’t want them thinking this was the kind of film I enjoyed.
I think there’s a difference between taking a concept and running with it, and taking the concept and beating it into the ground. I think there have been better attempts at doing “adult puppets”, and they’ve worked better because they don’t make the audience feel so damn guilty for being there. Greg The Bunny, while not a direct attack on The Muppets, took an adult approach to the same formula, and worked a hell of a lot better than Meet The Feebles did.
It’s that kind of justification that allows me to actually grade Meet The Feebles. Other directors have run with similar concepts, and done so in a more accessible (less hate filled) fashion. So, points for the concept. Points for having the balls to go there. But, everything gets lost in the delivery. You can only be so excited about the concept if the film isn’t funny.
Meet The Feebles works really only as a nightmare. A really bad nightmare. By Kermit.
FINAL GRADE: D
Please don’t show this to your kids.