Kermit's Swamp Years
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|Kermit's Swamp Years|
|Directed by||David Gumpel|
|Produced by||Ritamarie Peruggi|
|Screenplay by||Jim Lewis
|Story by||Jim Lewis|
Kelly Collins Lintz
|Narrated by||Kermit the Frog (Steve Whitmire)|
|Music by||Joe Carroll
|Edited by||Katina Zinner|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Home Entertainment|
|September 3, 2002|
Kermit's Swamp Years is a 2002 direct-to-video film, directed by David Gumpel, featuring Jim Henson's Muppets, including a young Kermit and his best friends Goggles and Croaker, who travel outside their homes in the swamps of the Deep South to do something extraordinary with their lives. The film, which tells the story of Kermit the Frog's early life, is a prequel to The Muppet Movie (1979).
The movie opens in the swamp lands that Kermit the Frog calls home. After meeting his old friend Horace D'Fly again, he recaps an adventure about his childhood where he enjoyed a serene amphibian's life with his buddies Croaker the Frog and Goggles the Toad. Young Kermit wonders what lies beyond the swamp, but his companions do not think the same. The friends run into two scientists, Dr. Hugo Krassman (John Hostetter) and Mary (Kelly Collins Lintz), intent on capturing frogs. Arnie the alligator saves them and warns them about the dangers lurking outside the swamp. The next day, they run into the bully Blotch, a bullfrog, who attacks Goggles. The fight spills onto a road, where the pair are kidnapped by a pet store owner named Wilson, and Kermit and Croaker venture forth to save their friends.
After getting run over by Wilson's truck and having tire tracks on his chest, Croaker is no longer able to hop. When Goggles and Blotch are taken into a pet store, Blotch's anger causes the pair to be put in a cage with Vicki the snake, who intends to eat Blotch. Goggles saves him by goading Vicki to attack him and then using his poison gland. Kermit and Croaker meet a stray dog named Pilgrim (voiced by Cree Summer), who saves them from Krassman and Mary, then decides to help them find their friends. Meanwhile, the other animals at the store manage to convince Goggles and Blotch in a lively musical number that being sold to someone as a pet isn't such a bad idea. Kermit is able to find Wilson's truck by using helium balloons, but discovers they are no longer in the vehicle. Kermit reconnects with Pilgrim and Croaker again, and together they find Wilson's Pet Store, but they find out from Vicki that their friends have gone to George Washington High School.
The next day, Kermit and Croaker intentionally get discovered by Wilson to get taken to the high school and escape upon arrival. They meet Pilgrim again, who followed them. While trying to find Goggles and Blotch, Pilgrim and Croaker get captured by Wilson. Kermit overhears Wilson heading to biology class, so he hitches a ride on a student's backpack. Krassman decides to dissect Goggles, but Blotch takes his place to return the favor for rescuing them from Vicki. Krassman discides to dissect Croaker instead, when Wilson brings him into the class. Mary refuses to show the class how the dissection is done, so she leaves the classroom. In a daring rescue, Kermit manages to free Croaker from the dissection table and fend off Dr. Krassman using some swashbuckling techniques he picked up earlier at a movie theater from the movie The Black Arrow, but Krassman is able to defeat Kermit, Croaker, and Blotch. Goggles finds the knife that Kermit dropped, but after he picks it up, Krassman spots him. Despite the warnings that Kermit should never talk to humans, Kermit stops Krassman from killing Goggles by talking and asks him to please release the frogs. This decision by Kermit reveals that Krassman, as a child, when he was going to dissect his first frog, the frog spoke to him, but he refused to say it out loud to everyone else in Krassman's classroom, which caused him to be humiliated. Krassman frees all the frogs and dismisses the class and enables Kermit and his friends to return home. When they hitch a ride back on Wilson's truck, Wilson adopts Pilgrim and the four friends head home.
Back in the present, Kermit enters the swamp to meet up with his three old friends, and Horace D'Fly again seen singing.
- William Bookston - Wilson
- John Hostetter - Hugo Krassman
- Christian Kebbel - Young Jim Henson
- Kelly Collins Lintz - Mary
- Cree Summer - Pilgrim the Dog (voice), Kermit the Frog's Mom (voice)
- Steve Whitmire - Kermit the Frog, Young Kermit the Frog, Jack the Rabbit, Chico the Frog
- Joey Mazzarino - Goggles the Toad, Joe the Armadillo, Turtle #1
- Bill Barretta - Croaker the Frog, Horace D'Fly, Roy the Frog, Turtle #2
- Alice Dinnean - Vicki the Snake, Kermit the Frog's Mom (puppeteer), Pilgrim the Dog (puppeteer)
- John Kennedy - Arnie the Crocodile, Blotch the Bullfrog, Monkey
- Dave Goelz - Young Waldorf
- Jerry Nelson - Young Statler
Kermit's Swamp Years was filmed in 2001. Goggles and Croaker were performed by Joey Mazzarino and Bill Barretta, respectively. Mazzarino was a writer, lyricist, and puppeteer for Sesame Street at the time of the film's production. Mazzarino also co-wrote the teleplay for Kermit's Swamp Years and Muppets from Space (1999). Blotch was performed by John Kennedy.
Originally, Barretta was supposed to play Goggles and Mazzarino was supposed to play Croaker, but they traded roles after they tried the characters out, due to their voices not sounding good enough for the characters.
The opening and closing sequence also introduces Horace D'Fly (voiced by Barretta), one of the few computer-animated Muppets (In the outtakes reel that rolls during the end credits, Horace complains about having to be swallowed up by Kermit and asks, "Can't we just use CG or something?").
The character Pilgrim was realized in some scenes as a trained dog, and other scenes as a puppet that was identical to the live dog.
Some of the puppets that appeared in Jim Henson's Animal Show appear in the pet shop scene singing "Life as a Pet." In addition, the Farmer's Dog from The Tale of the Bunny Picnic (1986) makes an appearance in the scene as well.
The behind-the-scenes featurette on the DVD is hosted by a Muppet named Joe the Armadillo interviewing various members of the production staff and crew.
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