Tuesday, November 22, 2011
REVIEW: The Muppets
Jason Segel, Amy Adams,
Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy
November 23, 2011
Walt DIsney Pictures
1 hour 43 minutes
After twelve years of absence from the big screen, Jason Segel, his 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' director/screenwriter Nick Stoller, and director James Bobin have finally brought back The Muppets in spectacular fashion. Ever since Disney started up an amazing marketing campaign back in late May, audiences have been eagerly waiting to see what Disney and Segel exactly had in mind. Luckily for them, they created a spectacular kids movie with lots of hilarious jokes, elaborate and catchy musical numbers, and a perfect reason why 'The Muppets' are something for every generation to see. I honestly haven't felt so enthralled in a kid’s movie since 'Toy Story 3' last year. This is the perfect film to take your kids to during the holidays, or just to take yourself. (Oh yeah, it's THAT kind of movie!) I don't think that I have laughed harder at any other movie that came out this year. Not only is 'The Muppets' possibly the best thing out there right now, (I still haven't seen 'Hugo' or 'Arthur Christmas' at the time of this posting.) but it also one of the true joyus celebrations of 2011. There is no greater fun than watching puppets playing off the fact that they are in a movie.
Jason Segel and Amy Adams play Gary and Mary, a dating couple who live in the town of, well, Smalltown. Smalltown is basically a playoff of a Disney set combined with a 50s era tone, which is always awesome. Gary has an adopted brother named Walter, who ever since he was a child felt that it is his destiny to be on TV with The Muppets. Gary and Mary decide to take a trip to Los Angeles, with the surprise being that they're taking Walter along so he can go to Muppets Studio. However when they get there things take a turn for a worst for the crew as it turns out that Muppets Studio is going to be destroyed by an oil tycoon named Tex Richman who want to get the oil that's under the studio. Walter being the big fan and all decides to try to get Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the rest of the team in order to make $10 million before Richman destroys the studio forever.
Jason Segel and Nick Stoller have written a fantastic and witty script that both pays homage to the original show and plays off today's advances in technology. Plus Segel putting himself as the head human star of the film also added an advantage to it because Segel in some ways is a human Muppet. I loved seeing his chemistry between his "brother" Walter in the film, as well as his chemistry with all of The Muppets. The purpose of humans being in Muppet movies is so they can interact with these creatures as if they were regular people like you and me. Amy Adams was good, but I sort of don't get why she needed to be in this film. She sang this ridiculous song with Miss Piggy called "Me Party" that added nothing to the story. Despite the flaw of Adams' character, the cast in this film is pitch perfect. As for the "muppeteers," they were all fantastic playing the roles once conceived by Jim Henson. (R.I.P.) Sure they don't sound entirely like the original voices, but the spirit is still there and they make believable Muppets. Plus the renditions of classic 'Muppets' music all sounded like the original versions, which is always an awesome sign.
I don't think that this was shown a lot in the commercials, but this film is actually a musical. Every song in this film, even if it's supposed to be a dramatic song, still keeps a smile on your face because almost every song features a celebrity cameo, which I will not give away at all! They are catchy as hell, and really move the story along in comedic fashion. These are the type of musical songs that are worthy of buying for your iPod, because, while not as memorable as "The Rainbow Connection" or "Munamanah," (both are in the film, by the way!) they are still fun to listen to and will always make you feel warm inside. When was the last time a soundtrack did that to you?
The best type of movie is when it breaks the fourth wall and makes fun of itself. From traveling by map to saying lines like "I can't believe we had that in the budget," some of the film's best jokes come from breaking the fourth wall a countless number of times. Of course little kids wouldn't catch onto these jokes, but all of the adults and teens at my screening were bawling their eyes out in laughter because of the jokes in this film. They even pull the fourth wall jokes off in the musical numbers, which to me was great cinematic joy. It's not just the fourth wall breaking that makes this film funny, everything in this movie is simply heartfelt and hysterical, sometimes at the same time. Parents who go see this film I guarantee will be crying on the floor while watching this film; that is if you understand all of the jokes, have seen the original show/movies, and know ALL of the celebrity cameos.
'The Muppets' is the purest of examples that show why going to the movies with your family is a gimmick these days. Studios depend on 3D and crappy characters to sell tickets, when what they really should be doing is finding the right character(s) to bring to the big screen. 'The Muppets' may just be pieces of fabric with hands up their butts, but the essence of reality that we get out of them bring joy to the youngest of kids, and better yet the kid in all of us. Disney and Segel were smart to release this movie with no special gimmick added to the title, because this is the type of movie that needs no gimmick. 'Winnie the Pooh,' another Disney release, also proves that you don't need a gimmick to sell a great (or sometimes crappy) movie. Families, I beg you to take all of your youngest relatives to see this movie over the holidays. Not only will they be introduced to 'The Muppets' for the first time, but you will feel like you're a young kid again watching Kermit and the gang back on the big screen. As the opening of the original 'The Muppet Show's' theme song says, "It's Time to Play the Music. It's Time to Light the Lights. It's Time to Meet The Muppets!" This time adults, let's meet 'The Muppets' once again, and introduce the new generation to these loveable characters. Wocka Wocka Wocka!
(New short, 'Toy Story Toons: Small Fry' in front of ALL 'Muppets' prints! It is insanely funny!)