Friday, 10 February 2012

The Muppets

It's a powerful thing, a very powerful thing, to create fictional characters which are larger than life itself. Characters which transcend time and the performers behind the scenes who give them life. Very few people who grew up with love and affection towards Jim Henson's creations would say the Muppets - be it Sesame Street or the lot featured in this movie - aren't living, breathing, international celebrities. Kermit the Frog and his friends aren't just some guys holding puppets, and the fact people believe that shows how wonderful and sincerely funny these characters are. If that isn't a lasting legacy to the legend of Henson himself, what is?

Which begs the question, is all this misty eyed romance just some idle nostalgia trip on my part, or is The Muppets' return to the big screen a genuinely entertaining family film which cinema has been crying out for since...well The Muppet Treasure Island? Bit of both, but stay with me for one moment...

The film's premise is stupendously simple, lifelong Muppet fans Gary (Jason Segal), his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) and brother Walter (the newest Muppet creation) travel to L.A. to visit the now decrepit Muppet Theatre where they stumble across a dastardly plan where an oil tycoon (brilliant turn from Chris Cooper) plans to destroy a theatre to dig for...well...oil, obviously. This of course sparks the trio to reunite all our favourite Muppets; Kermit, Piggy, Fozzy, Animal, Gonzo etc to put on one last show and save their theatre.

The most marvellous thing about the film is Segal's script caters very much towards fans who have grew up with the original Muppet films and television show. Any Henson geek can pick out a tonne of Easter eggs and nods towards the past efforts, summed up wonderfully when Kermit points out how to reunite the whole gang, "Haven't you seen our first movie? We drive!" Of course this isn't a film just for overgrown children like myself, the Muppets' innocent, loveable, old-school humour still remains and something all of the family can enjoy with sincere glee.

Very much like their past films, the movie is yet again littered with a delightful array of cameos from Jack Black, Dave Grohl, Sarah Silverman, Alan Arkin, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez and actors featured in all the hit US comedy shows at the minute from the likes of How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Recreation, Community, Modern Family and one outstanding cameo from a certain member of the cast of The Big Bang Theory.

Then there's the blissfully catchy musical score, written by Flight of the Conchords' own Bret McKenzie. Even walking out of the cinema I was humming the song Life's a Happy Song performed by all the cast at some stage or another at various points of the film, then there's the now Oscar nominated Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet? performed by Segal and Walter, Kermit's moving solo number Pictures in my Head and the classic song from the original Muppet movie Rainbow Connection even features to emotional effect towards the film's climax. And yes, Mah Na Mah Na even gets a play.

Final Thoughts
It's time to start the music, it's time to light the lights, it's time to get things started for the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, muppetational feel good family film you'll see in the cinema this year. The Muppets is simply delightful from the beginning to end. You'll smile, laugh and even at times shed a few tears. The songs, the performers, the colourful sets are just perfect. If you don't agree then...Mah Na Mah Na.

4.5/5*

The Muppets is in cinemas everywhere now.

*My 4 year old self wanted to give it 10/5

3 comments:

FilmMaster said...

I am afriad I have to disagree with the rating, however, you are totally correct with your first paragraph. It is so impressive that simple inanimate objects come to life with movement and recognisable voices and personalities that create entertainment. It happens with animation.

The Muppets are fantastic and I have seen many of the T.V show episodes. While this film had loads of great homages, the songs were quite sloppy, the human characters were annoying and it did have quite a generic plotline. A generous 7/10 from me for having many funny and rather touching moments.

Andrew Moore said...

The human characters served their purpose, Segal and Adams knew they weren't the stars when they signed up for this.

Personally thought the songs were inch perfect. Yes the plot was basic, but it was joyful, sincere and not the least bit pretentious.

Dan O. said...

Longtime Muppet fans will undoubtedly have more fun than young ones, but for the most part, it’s a witty, delightful romp, that shows you that you can still be funny, without ever being mean still in 2011. Good review.