A battle is brewing about the worldview of the latest Muppet film. Eric Bolling of Fox News said, “I’ll put it out there. Is liberal Hollywood using class warfare to kind of brainwash our kids? We’re teaching our kids class warfare. What are we, communist China?” Actually, Bolling didn’t say the Muppet movie was communistic, even though every article I’ve read criticizing him says he did. It’s easier finding critics who pounced on Bolling than actually finding Bolling’s original statement.
Bolling was critical of the way Disney constructed the villain. I tend to agree. “The Muppets” website gives the following synopsis of the film:
The Muppets “discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman, played by Chris Cooper, to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds.”
What makes me suspicious about the film’s intent is that Chris Cooper plays the bad guy. Cooper is a very outspoken liberal. An oilman? Tex Richman? Maybe the rich Texas oilman George Bush? Like I said, I’m suspicious.
Why didn’t Disney make the bad guy an evil sheik who wants to steal the oil to replenish his depleted oil fields? So who’s a bigger threat? Big Oil, that brings the black elixir out of the ground at great expense, risk, and danger to run our automobiles (and makes all kinds of other things from it), or the folks in Saudi Arabia who fund organizations that want to see us dead? The latter are truly proper villains.
It wouldn’t be hard for me to believe that the “The Muppets” would throw in some liberal hogwash. Hollywood-types do it all the time even when a film’s message contradicts a studio’s business practices. It cost Disney $50 million to produce the film. The production “employed hundreds of actors, creative behind-the-scenes types and crew workers. In less than two weeks it has grossed $56 million at the box office in the U.S. alone.” So why would these guys produce an anti-capitalist film. But all films are expensive, but this hasn’t stopped Hollywood from producing numerous money-losing, liberal and anti-capitalist films. It hasn’t stopped Hollywood from producing other anti-oil films like Syriana, There Will be Blood, and Cars 2. This is what Cars 2 director John Lasseter said about his film:
I kept thinking about, “OK. A spy movie in the world where cars are alive. What would be a really good kind of über bad guy? Who is an über bad guy?” I kept going to big oil. This is before what happened in the Gulf of Mexico.
There wouldn’t any reason to make Cars or Cars 2 without “Big Oil,” and there wouldn’t be any cars driving to the movie theaters to watch Cars 2 without “Big Oil.” Who would go to see Horse and Buggies and Horse and Buggies 2? Maybe the Amish, but they don’t go to movies.
Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor said that not one of the movies attacking the oil industry reminded people what “oil means for most people: fuel to light a hospital, heat your home, fuel an ambulance to get you to the hospital if you need that. And [Hollywood doesn’t] want to tell that story.”
For another view, here is a differently angled review from my friends at Movie Guide that addresses the Commie propaganda angle of The Muppets:
Hollywood, CA – MOVIEGUIDE is shocked by the recent allegations of communism and liberalism made against THE MUPPETS MOVIE. Why is someone accusing poor little Kermit of going red? Clearly, it’s not easy being green.
The main criticism, made by Eric Bolling on Fox News, is that the MUPPETS malign capitalism by featuring an oil tycoon villain, Tex, who wants to drill beneath Muppet Studio in order to increase his own fortune. Yet, the story of Ahab stealing Naboth’s vineyard in the Book of Kings [1 Kings 21] provides a clear parallel and, in the New Testament, Christ casts the unethical businessmen of His day out of the temple.
THE MUPPETS condemns self-interest, deceit, arrogance, and unethical business practices. At the same time, it promotes a free market where, as Kermy puts it, people can “start at the bottom and work our way up to the top.” It is a movie full of wholesome, traditional values, including friendship, family, love, hard work. It even features a church choir bus driving past Kermit’s mansion.
MOVIEGUIDE is with Fozzie on this one: at the end of the day, any suggestion that this year’s MUPPETS MOVIE pushes a liberal or communist agenda is just plain “Waka Waka Waka.”
If you’re not a regular Muppet viewer, “Waka Waka Waka” is the sound Fozzie the bear makes after he cracks a joke!
To read the full article, visit www.movieguide.org.