Monday, 28 November 2011

The Muppets (A Review)

WARNING: This review is being written by an insanely huge fan of The Muppets, so I’m already kind of biased. That being said, it’s clear that this movie was aimed at crazy Muppet fans like myself, so everything kind of works out. 
Yes, The Muppets. That wonderful gang of fur and felt are back after 12 years without a movie. And after much online love in the form of viral videos, trailer parodies, and other goodies, the true next Muppet movie is here. So how is it? Does this movie have a true “Rainbow Connection?” Or should you be “Movin’ Right Along.” (Muppet fans see what I did there? Wocka wocka!)
The plot fits perfectly for how long The Muppets have been out of the limelight. Basically sometime ago the Muppets split up, and now it’s up to Gary (Jason Segel,) Mary (Amy Adams,) and Gary’s brother Walter (a new Muppet/superfan of the Muppets) to work with Kermit to reunite the old gang and raise enough money to save their theatre before the evil tycoon, Tex Richman (Chris Cooper,) tears down the theatre to drill for oil. The “get the gang back together” story has been done before, but it works so well here because…well….it’s the Muppets! And that comes with what you’d might expect from the Muppets! Tons of forth wall breaking jokes, vaudevillian type slapstick, celebrity cameos up the wazoo, and emotional songs that know exactly how to tug on the heartstrings. It’s hard really to go into too much detail without spoiling some of the jokes, but there were some great moments with some of the new songs, written by one half of Flight of the Conchords, Bret McKenzie, and an extended cameo by Jack Black. 
But of course, the true stars are The Muppets themselves, and the plot makes it so they’re in a situation where they flourish. It’s back to the basics: a bunch of crazy weirdos trying their best to put on a show, only this time the steaks are much higher. I felt a unique blend of excitement, nervousness and nostalgia going into the third act that I don’t think I’ve ever felt from a movie before. 
That being said, let’s call this movie out for what it truly is: Muppet fan servis. There are countless references and in jokes from past Muppet works, specifically to the Jim Henson years of The Muppet Show and the first Muppet movie. Hell! Even the choice of Muppets to get screen time was very specific, choosing not to have newer fan favorite characters like Pepe the King Prawn to have much screen time, instead bringing back characters that haven’t had time to shine in years! Characters like Marvin Suggs and Uncle Deadly!
Yes! Uncle Deadly! This guy! Obscure, yes. Awesome? Double yes.
The point being this was written by a rabid Muppet fan (good ol’ Jason Segel) for rabid Muppet fans. Hell! Even the new Muppet, Walter, is a rabid Muppet fan himself! So of course we’re going to immediately love him.
All in all, the bigger fan of the Muppets you are, I feel the more you’ll love this movie. And if you’re not a fan of the Muppets? Well…you’re reading the wrong review then. I’m also really curious to see how kids will react to this movie; kids who have never even seen a Muppet movie before! I hope it manages to capture the same wonder and fun that I experienced as a child. So go see this movie already! It’s pure concentrated Muppety fun!
Welcome back Muppets. It’s about damn time! 
- Moo