Last year, Disney released Muppets Meet the Classics: Phantom of the Opera, which was the first installment in a series of classic books re-adapted and retold by The Muppets. The second installment to that series, Tales from the Brothers Grimm has hit shelves almost one year later, and expands and elevates upon the many things that worked well in the series first installment, and also improves upon the elements that didn’t. As the second installment in this series, Muppets Meet the Classics: Tales from the Brothers Grimm once again showcases the wonderful potential of this series as a continuous addition to the world of Muppet literature.
What works best about Brothers Grimm, in contrast to Phantom of the Opera, is that the characters are not only better adapted to short concise stories and acts, but also that the stage is set for the characters because of their self-awareness. Phantom of the Opera, as witty as it was, hadn’t acknowledged the obvious fact that the Muppets are merely starring within a new re-telling of the Phantom of the Opera story. While this is often granted, without the setting set forth by the signature Muppet fourth-wall element, some darker aspects get lost in the ability to combine the Muppets’ colorful goofiness with the more complex areas of the story. In this installment, the book sets the stage by introducing the fact this, of course, is just another production of The Muppets, and even the darker tales from within the Brothers Grimm no longer feel as drab with this storytelling element now attached to it.
Tales from the Brothers Grimm is told through a format similar to that of The Muppet Show, with intersecting acts, segments, and stories, and that is to its benefit. By doing so, the characters have the opportunity to be sillier and opens the opportunity for far more chaos to ensue, in what the Muppets do best. Like Phantom of the Opera, this book features an abundance of obscure Muppet characters scattered throughout, filling each role with wacky characters often obscure enough to leave even the most hardcore Muppet fans searching online to refresh their memory.
Where the Phantom of the Opera only had the opportunity to allow few central characters to share the spotlight in their main roles, Tales from the Brothers Grimm is built as a wonderful experiment in testing new stories and ideas. From this, some stories succeed better than others, but each keeps the story interesting, taking on a whole new story or tone different than the one before it. The tongue-in-cheek format of this book offers some classic fan-favorite moments, like the ability to briefly include a Veterinarian’s Hospital sketch right in the middle of a classic Brothers Grimm tale.
Following what was a promising start to this new series, the follow-up to the Muppets Meet the Classics series is a fantastic new addition to the world of Muppet literature, and a fantastic blueprint of where the franchise could go next with this format. Once again, author Erik Forrest Jackson has found a way to bring these characters and these stories to life in a brand new format previously unfamiliar to the franchise. With these two fantastic books now available, we can only hope there are more exciting installments on the way, and that this will lead to many more Muppet books in the future.
Muppets Meet the Classics: Tales from the Brothers Grimm is now available to purchase online.