Thursday, December 8, 2011

Movie Review: The Muppets

Jim Henson's Muppets are back in a star studded tribute to the original Muppet Gang. The group that starred in the Muppet show and classic films like The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper are back with a vengence in Jason Segal's new[ish] story that is basically a love letter to a group over fourty years old.

Everything that made the original films quirky and a little bit like a trip on whatever drug the muppeteers might have been on seems to have come together in the latest film. While Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island (and, okay, even Muppets from Space) had their moments of hilarity, they lacked the Henson-ness that seemed to have been lost with the death of creator Jim Henson.

But, with the script carefully created and supervised by Muppet fanatic Jason Segal, it was almost as if - for a moment - Henson himself was back.

There are flaws with the film. The most glaring are the incorrect voices of Miss Piggy (no longer voiced by Frank Oz, who did not sign off on this film) and Rowlf. Some of it was corny, even for the Muppets, and the story is not new. The idea that the Muppets have to save their theater has been a storyline for at least one of their TV specials in the last ten years or so.

Having been disappointed by the Muppet TV specials and their last feature film, I went into the idea of a new movie with a lot of hesitation. In fact, I was not planning of seeing the movie in theaters at all. But, then, the movie hit theaters and fans nationwide (as well as many of my friends) began pushing it as a MUST SEE. Even with that knowledge, going into the film my expectations were low.

The storyline is simple. Jason Segal is older brother to a muppet looking character. They grew up loving the Muppets and trek out (along with Segal's longtime girlfriend played by Amy Adams) to LA to visit the Muppet Studios only to find that the theater is condemned and the studios are broken down shells of what they once were. To make matters worse they find out that Oil has been found under the property and an evil tycoon is going to buy it out from under them and drill. They have one last chance, to collect 10 million dollars to keep their property. How better to do this than a Muppet Show Telethon. But first, Kermit has to get the gang back together.

Classic characters who were more or less background characters in the last three films are back in their starring roles that they relished in the 70s. Muppet Show favorites also make apperances. It's probably the best tribute the Muppets could ask for.

There really wasn't a lot to complain about in the film. Some of the jokes were beneath them (Fozzie's fart shoes as well as Jack Black's genetalia joke), and without Frank Oz, Miss Piggy just doesn't have the same sassiness. For those of us who grew up after Henson's death I guess the difference in Piggy's voice for me is the same feeling that folks had when Kermit was forced to have a different Muppeteer (granted Whitmire is amazing). Not sure I will ever get used to a new Piggy.

Overall this film is FANTASTIC. I loved it from beginning to end, and yes, I cried when they sang Rainbow Connection. The ending also gave me a lump in my throat. If it's still playing in your area, then go see it. It's well worth the cost of admission, and is a GREAT family memory to be made. It's time the Muppets are welcomed back.

No comments:

Post a Comment