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The Muppets

November 27, 2011

Kid: Are you one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
Kermit the Frog: Yes… yes, I am.

James Bobin’s update of Jim Henson’s beloved series The Muppets is not a comeback, because the Muppets never left. For months now, this has been one of my most anticipated films of the year, ever since they came out with the first trailer, followed by an array of brilliant parody trailers. Another reason I was pumped up was the teaming of Forgetting Sarah Marshall scribes Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, who are well-known for their raunchy R-comedies, and they handled The Muppets with advantageous delicacy; managing to combine classic humor, modern humor, and fantastic musical numbers. It’s time to light the lights… because The Muppets is impeccably muppetational!

Gary (Jason Segel) and Walter (a muppet, voiced by Peter Linz) have been brothers for their whole life, and Walter has based his livelihood on the Muppet Show (which was an actual show in the 70s). For the 10 year anniversary between Gary and his long-time girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) plan a vacation to Los Angeles, and leave the town of Smalltown U.S.A, with the forced accompaniment of Walter, who plans to visit the set of the muppet show. 

After plans collapse at the muppets set, Walter discovers a nefarious plan of the oil bastard Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), who plans to destroy the cherished set, and transform it into an oil shipment. In the midst of this happening, Walter has a plan of his own: to get the whole muppet gang back together to give one hell of a show in hopes of raising the 10 million dollar budget needed to save the sacred muppet set. Can Kermit earn it? 

The idea of brining the Muppets back to the big screen is not the most popular idea, but it seemed like a darn good one looking at the final results; but don’t ask me, ask the people at Rotten Tomatoes, who determined this film as the best-reviewed wide-release of the year, and one of the best reviewed films of the year, surpassing personal favorites including Drive and Melancholia. While those two mentioned are significantly more peachy then The Muppets, it still ranks in my top ten. If the Academy Awards had a section solely for comedy or children’s films, The Muppets would surely be at the top (then again, I have yet to see Scorsese’s Hugo). 

The concept is refreshingly original and clever, executing all of the right jokes, at all of the right times. This is literally a laugh-a-minute riot, much thanks to the ingenious updating of Henson’s characters. What intrigued me the most was the way that the writers managed to keep the modern aspect here, while using nostalgic techniques to create a fantastic trip for adults who were fans of the Muppets. Don’t get me wrong here, this is a complete joy for the kiddies, but for the adults who can appreciate nostalgic, ironic humor, you will have a pleasant time.

The acting is fantastic here; it’s nice seeing all the actors so committed to their roles, as crazy as it might get. I was pleased to see most of the story focused on the Muppets themselves, and not only to the people. While I enjoy the works of Segel and Adams (really, fantastic performers), I felt that it was right to hand the Muppets their screen time… to shine. I was quite skeptical about the fact that they were adding new muppets to the feature, yet it is impossible not to love innocent little old Walter, who is supremely voiced by Peter Linz. Though his presence doesn’t make sense if you pay close attention to some of the plot points, which was honestly my only flaw, an extremely minor one. Even though all of the original voices did not return, it’s still nice seeing the muppets back in action. The Muppets is clearly a standout of 2011, and one of the best films of the year. This isn’t a comeback, this is redemption. 

The Muppets: 4.5 out of 5

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 28, 2011 8:49 pm

    I saw “The Muppets” the other day and I *loved* it! Amy Adams and Jason Segel did such an incredible job! Then there was the muppets! It made me so happy seeing them on the big screen again. Me and my kids laughed heartily through the whole thing! I just wish there was more Gonzo. 🙂

  2. December 6, 2011 7:24 pm

    A very good review here! I agree in that it was refreshingly original. I am glad to see the high score you gave this one! It was great and a welcome nostalgic experience down memory lane!

    Oh, and your phrase: “The Muppets is impeccably muppetational!” …MONEY!!

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