Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dutch Premiere of the The Muppets
If there ever was a place to host a Muppet premiere it would be at the Tuschinski Theatre in Amsterdam. Build in 1921, the inside could easily be mistaken for the Muppet Theatre with it's lucious style and old fashoned interior. Well guess what? There was a Muppet premiere and it was held at the Tuschinski Theatre and Muppet Madness was there as well.

The Muppets is not an ordinairy movie and a ordinary premiere would just not suit the style and craziness of the Muppets. Luckily, The Walt Disney Company Benelux knew this as well and did everything to make the premiere feel Muppety.

Tuschinski was decked out in green for the occasion.
The mood was already set long before you even go near the theatre as the sounds of songs like “Mahna Mahna” and “The Muppet Show Theme' were heard loud and clear from the theatre. It not only set a suitable mood but also attracted a lot of curious people, wondering what was about to happen. Strangely enough though, the music heard was from the original version of the movie while the premiere celebrated and showed the Dutch dubbed version of the movie. Somewhat stranger was the fact that the Dutch tram car lines rode about a metre from the green carpet with every approaching tram being accompanied by a warning from the Tuschinksi staff in order to minimize accidents. Luckily, the trams were put on hold for the hour the premiere lasted.

When getting closer to the theatre, the most notable change from regular premieres became clear; instead of having the usual red carpet Disney rolled out the green carpet for this movie. There also were a lot of Muppet hand puppets in circulation who later appeared in the promotion held by Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn. Disney really tried their best to make this premiere feel as Muppet as can be and they succeeded. However, a green carpet is nice, but a bit empty without stars.

Celebrity galore at The Muppets premiere
Soon enough though the Dutch celebrities appeared, accompanied by a big brass band, who of course played Muppet songs. The celebs mostly dressed in 'Kermit green', the dress code issued, but all looked excited at the prospect of a new Muppet movie. Amongst those who appeared were The Voice winner Ben Saunders, Disney XD host Sita, radio disc jockey Gerard Ekdom and musical star Linda Wagenmakers.

However, Muppet Madness was mostly looking forward to the arrival of the voice cast, with Kermit's Dutch voice actor, Wim. T. Schippers in particular. Mr Schippers is not only one of the most notable writers, actors and producers of several highly acclaimed televison series but also in our opinion a Sesamstraat (Dutch version of Sesame Street) Legend for having voiced Muppets like Kermit, Ernie, the Count and others since 1976. This means he has voiced Kermit for a longer time than Jim Henson did. Casting him for The Muppets was the most obvious choice since the Dutch people know and love his Kermit, even though it sounds a lot different from Henson and Whitmire's softer Kermit.

Wim T. Schippers, the Dutch Kermit
Mr Schippers revealed to Muppet Madness that it was an obvious choice from him to use a different voice for his Kermit when compared to his Ernie. While his Ernie remains fairly close to the original Henson Ernie, he figured that it would be easier for children to distinguish Ernie and Kermit when they have different voices.
This however made his part in The Muppets somewhat tougher due to his Kermit being 'louder' and Kermit having some more reserved moments in the movie.

The Swedish Chef alongside
the Dutch chef
One other inspired casting choice was casting Dutch master chef Joop Braakhekke as The Swedish Chef. If dubbing wasn't hard enough, how does someone approach the dubbing of a already hard to understand Swedish Chef? Mr Braakhekke told us that chefs like him and the Swedish chef are curious by nature and use an universal language. After posing for some group pictures the Dutch Muppet stars entered the theatre to go and watch The Muppets while we went on our way knowing that finally the Muppets have returned to the Netherlands. 

Thoughts on the movie? We'll have an in-depth review soon so please come back to learn what did and didn't work in the Muppets' grand return. 

No comments:

Post a Comment