In the realm of sacrosanct childhood memories, few remain as untarnished as Fraggle Rock. The mention of those two words likely sent many of you into gleeful spirals of nostalgic childhood whimsy, but for those of you who weren’t alive during the 1980s, imagine Fraggle Rock as the older, hipper brother of Sesame Street. It was a world filled with Jim Henson’s muppets, and these muppets educated kids on topics like prejudice and the environment, but you always got the feeling while watching the show that the Fraggles were just a bit edgier than Elmo and Big Bird. Maybe because they lived in a cave and were rocking out constantly.
Either way, as with all things cherished by the children of the 1980s, Fraggle Rock is being adapted into a feature film. The flick is still a long ways from completion, but The Hollywood Reporter claims that the movie now has two writers, Jim Byrkit and Alex Manugian. Byrkit was one of the writers on the recent Johnny-Depp-as-Hunter-Thompson-as-lizard movie Rango while Manugian is best known for, well, very little to be totally honest. He has a few producer credits on Cartoon Network shows, and had a bit voice-acting part in Rango, but otherwise the man is a blank slate.
So what do we gather from these new hires? Almost nothing. The Jim Henson Company is co-producing the flick so that does offer hope that the inevitable product will be more reminiscent of our fond collective childhood memories than the recent Smurfs and Alvin and the Chipmunks movies (the less said about The Squeekquel, the better). Still, given that the only notable big-screen, family-friendly work these two writers have in common is a CGI-animated movie about Johnny Depp being the living caricature of himself that he adopted circa 1998, we worry that this new version of Fraggle Rock will be either fully animated or spend its entire run-time trying way, way too hard to be “hip.” Or both.
While we doubt Hollywood would ever greenlight the idea, it seems that going in the opposite direction — using 30-year-old muppets and the exact same storylines as the old show — would be the ultimate act of subversive cool for this remake. Granted, it would baffle kids who never saw the original, but kids these days don’t have any respect for the classics anyway.
Wow. We suddenly feel very old.