The Muppets brings back good old fashion fun to the big screen.
Walter and Gary (Jason Segal) are two brothers that are the best of friends. One day, Walter flips though the television and finds the Muppet Show. He is instantly hooked and becomes the world’s biggest Muppet fan. Flash forward to about 20 or so years later, Walter and Gary are still living together and Gary is about to take trip to Los Angeles with his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to see the sights and visit Muppet Studios. Gary asks Walter to come along on the trip because he knows that it has always been his dream to visit Muppet Studios and meet the Muppets. Unfortunately, when the trio gets out to Los Angeles, they learn that the studio is in danger of being sold and demolished by a rich oil tycoon named Tex Richman played by Chris Cooper. After Walter hears this disturbing news, Walter, Gary, and Mary set out on the ultimate journey to find Kermit and reunite the Muppets for one final show that will hopefully raise $10 million dollars to save Muppet Studios.
Disney has been marketing The Muppets for what seems like an entire year now. Usually when a film is marketed a lot, I tend to lose interest, however, this was never the case with this film. I have loved all of the marketing campaigns that were parodies of other films. The marketing that started with Green with Envy and ended with Twilight: Breaking Dawn campaign, has been nothing but hilarious and peaked my interest more and more. Being that I am such a huge fan of the Muppets, I actually bypassed the press screenings for the film to see the movie on its opening night with hardcore fans at the midnight show.
I grew up watching the Muppets so my expectations of this film were extremely high and lately whenever I have such high expectations for a film it tends to let me down, however, I am delighted to report that The Muppets does not. In fact, The Muppets is probably one of the finest family films that I have seen in years and is up to par with classic Pixar films such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. The key difference, however, is that The Muppets is neither computer animated or in 3D, which gives the movie the old school feel to it and one that I really appreciate. There is something really pure about watching The Muppets compared to the wide array of family entertainment that comes out of Hollywood today. It shows that effort went into creating the film with people working hard on creating these characters rather than people sitting behind a computer screen. As a film lover, I really appreciate the real film aesthetics in this film.
There is just so much to say about The Muppets that its hard to know where to begin…
Let’s just start with the characters. Jason Segal and Amy Adams are absolutely delightful as the two human leads in the film. They both look like they are enjoying themselves and bring a lot of energy and personality to the film. Lets not forget to mention how good their musical talents are. As for the new Muppet Walter, he is a perfect addition to the whacky Muppet cast. He is really lovable and fun. As for the rest of the Muppets clan that consist of Kermit, Animal, Gonzo, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Swedish Chef, Ralph, and Beeker to name a few, all reprise the roles that we have grown to love them in. Kermit as always tends to steal the show as well as Miss Piggy and Animal, but oddly enough even with all the Muppets in the film (and there are a ton of them) everyone gets a fair share of screen time.
One thing that I always remembered about the Muppet films as a kid were the cameo appearances, which are still a major part in this comeback film. Besides having solid leads and Chris Cooper playing the whacky and often hilarious villain (loved the Mischievous laugh line) there are so many cameo appearances that range from Jack Black to Rashida Jones to Mickey Rooney. I don’t want to spoil them all since there are so many that pop up here and there, but just know if you are a loyal Muppet fan like myself that they are still present.
Now lets get to the story and how the film itself knows exactly what it is. This movie knows its a comeback story and is very self aware of itself. Its delightful watching these characters poke fun of themselves and referencing the older days when the Muppets were huge celebrities. The film as well references so many classic films in the process. If you pay attention and know films the way that I know films, you will realize so many film references that include the Blues Brothers, Sister Act, UHF, and a host of other films from the 80s and 90s. The song selection also makes it know that it knows its entire audience since it ranges from classical Muppet songs such as the Rainbow Connection to a modern chicken version of Forget You aka F*ck you by Cee Lo Green.
Speaking of music, I am and have always been a fan of musical numbers in film especially when they are randomly thrown into the film. Let be honest…those horrible spoof movies made by the two of the seventeen writers of Scary Movie had very few redeeming moments although I know I smiled when they randomly had a musical number. The Muppet musical numbers are a mix of randomness and planned. The song selection is great starting from the very upbeat Life’s a Happy Song to the random but hilarious Man or Muppet. The soundtrack in this film is just terrific and will be one that I am not afraid to admit will be going on my Ipod.
All in All, I really can’t say anything negative about this film because it lived up to my expectations and brought me back to a happy time in my childhood, which is unusual since Hollywood tends to rape my childhood when they remake films of things from my childhood i.e The Smurfs, Yogi Bear, and the Flintstones to name a few. I can only hope that The Muppets does really well so that we get a sequel. Yes, I realized I just said I wanted a sequel, which is something that doesn’t come out of my mouth often. Truth is I really missed these characters and missed seeing live action puppets on the big screen. Everything is always about computer animation today and seeing a film that features live puppets and real actors working together is a rare treat. The Muppets is the perfect film for those who grew up loving these characters, but is still also extremely fun and enjoyable for those who were not apart of this 70s and 80s culture. Its perfect for children and adults alike.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for The Muppets is a solid 9 out of 10.