Monday, November 28, 2011

The Muppets (2011)

The Muppets (2011)
Rated PG
Starring: Kermit, Miss Piggy, Animal, Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Jack Black, Walter, Fozzie Bear, Rawlf, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones
Directed by: James Bobin
Tagline: They’re closer than you think.
Running time: 98 Minutes
In Theatre

Quick Summary: After disbanding and losing touch, The Muppets reunite in an effort to raise $10 million to save their beloved theater after an evil oil tycoon attempts to take it for the oil underneath.

Saturday night. Date night. The wife and I choose The Muppets over any of the other options showing at the theater near us. To be fair, we would have chosen The Muppets over just about anything, though I do plan on watching the newest Twilight movie at some point, I’d rather I laughed on purpose, so The Muppets was the only choice.

In theory, The Muppets are not unlike The Smurfs or Alvin & The Chipmunks in that it’s a beloved, classic franchise with established characters and a built-in audience. But unlike the other two, I was actually interested in The Muppets. Mostly because I liked The Muppets more than The Smurfs or Alvin when I was a kid, but The Muppets just seemed like it was coming from a better place. The Smurfs and the Alvin movies looked like a cheap ploy to make some money (it worked for Alvin & Co, but no so much for The Smurfs), whereas The Muppets (seems) to come from a much more heartfelt place. Jason Segel strikes me as an immense fan of The Muppets, seeing as how he pitched the idea, co-wrote the script and stars in it. That gave it a much more genuine feel, unlike the Alvin & the Chipmunks movies (one of the trailers before The Muppets was for Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the third recent movie in the series. I cringed. I wanted to vomit. It looks awful).

So you get people who love the history behind it, and you get all of the original Muppets back, you can’t really go wrong.

Everyone has a favorite Muppet. For me, it’s Fozzie Bear. I love bad jokes and puns. For my wife, it’s Animal, whose probably a close second for me, tied with Statler and Waldorf. Most people probably like Kermit or Miss Piggy, but they are probably my two least favorite Muppets. Miss Piggy is one of the most annoying characters of all time, and Kermit is way too whiny and emo for me. Luckily Kermit didn’t steal the show, and many of the other beloved Muppets got their chance, and several new Muppets were introduced. If I was a kid and saw this movie, my favorite would have been Deadly, the blue dragon-looking henchman of Oil Tycoon Tex Richman, mainly because he looked cool, but also because he has an awesome name.

One of the main things people love about The Muppets is the celebrity cameos. For some reason, people love watching celebrities interact with their favorite puppets, and this movie doesn’t disappoint. In cameos as themselves, we have Neil Patrick Harris, John Krasinski, James Carville, Judd Hirsch, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jack Black. And in other, smaller roles, you had Sarah Silverman, Donald Glover, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Ken Jeong, Zach Galifianakis, Jim Parsons, Mickey Rooney, and Dave Grohl. That’s a pretty awesome list of cameos.

People also love the music, and the movie featured some of the classics, such as the theme song, Rainbow Connection, and Mahna Mahna. Surprisingly missing was Being Green, which I would have expected to be in the movie for sure. They also had some original new songs that were pretty funny, and had some contemporary songs thrown in too (the chickens rendition of Cee-Lo Green’s “F*&^ You” made my wife laugh louder than anybody else in the theater, maybe even louder than anyone in the entire building).

All in all, it was exactly what I was expecting from The Muppets. It was updated and original while staying true to the original. It was everything you want, and had something for everyone. Most importantly, it makes you care about felt puppets, which is the mark of a really good movie, to care about the characters.

Verdict: Streets Ahead of Avatar


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