Friday, April 25, 2014

The Muppets Movie Review

The Muppets have been comedy icons since the mid-70's. Though the infamous Jim Henson appeared with early Muppet characters as early as the 1950's. The cast of wacky puppets originally starred on The Muppet Show TV series and went on to make several movies. After Muppets In Space in 1999 The Muppets kind of fizzled out, making only occasional obscure TV appearances. After Walt Disney Pictures bought The Muppets, they did a YouTube video of the cast singing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody which garnered over seven million hits within its first week. So, there's still an interest in The Muppets. Finally, in 2011 The Muppets hit theaters to revive the franchise, and it ended up being one of the best Muppet movies to date.
When three Muppet fans, Gary (Jason Segel), Mary (Amy Adams), and Walter (who is somehow a Muppet himself) learn that Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) wants to drill for oil under the old Muppet Theater, the trio set out to find The Muppets, who have been split up for years, in hopes that they can put on one last show and save the Muppet Theater. Kermit the Frog now lives depressed in his own mansion in Hollywood, "The Great Gonzo" is a high class plumber at Gonzo's Royal Flush, Fozzie Bear performs with a tribute band called "The Moopets," Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, and Animal is at a celebrity anger management rehab center in Santa Barbara. Can the cast get their act together and pull off a spectacular marathon to raise enough money to save their old theater on such short notice?
When The Muppets hit theaters it had been a good 12 years since The Muppets had a theatrical film. Of course there are some different puppeteers portraying some of The Muppets. This was the first Muppet film without the involvement of veteran Muppet performer Frank Oz whose characters included Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and Sam the Eagle on The Muppet Show. Fozzie just doesn't quite sound the same without Oz.
Jim Henson had originally created The Muppets to revive the dying art of the variety show he grew up with; it has been a standard structure for most Muppet movies and shows and was aimed towards adults and children . I'm not entirely sure that style of entertainment is appreciated anymore, but on the other hand, watching a variety of 3-minute comedy and music YouTube videos for a half hour is pretty similar.
The Muppets was positively saturated with nostalgia for original Muppet Movies and especially The Muppet Show. Viewers who got a kick out of the old television series back in the 70's and 80's will easily be transported back to the good old days and revel in the familiar absurdist sketch comedy variety show that The Muppets are known for. A number of sketches and songs that helped make The Muppets so famous are either eluded to or even preformed again in this latest movie.
The musical numbers are tons of fun. Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame wrote a majority of the songs. He even won an Academy Award for the song "Man or Muppet." Although it was the fourth Muppet film to receive an Academy Award nomination, this was the first time a Muppet film had won an Academy Award and was the first time a Muppet film was nominated for Best Original Song since 1981's The Great Muppet Caper.
The Muppets is a really fun movie. Serving as both a wondrous stroll down your childhood's  memory lane and a fantastic introduction to Kermit and company, this is a warmly inspired nostalgia kick that will delight both longtime fans and endear the franchise to a new generation. The giddiness that Jim Henson and friends brought to the original Muppets is missing. The antic energy and old vaudeville variety show are remarkably fun, but may be alien to modern kids. That style that Jim Henson originally strived for seems dated, but still not bad. Whether you are young or young at heart, this is a charming movie that is worth seeing for some laughs and fun songs. Jim Henson would be proud. It's also worth owning if your kids get a big enough kick out of these classic characters.

What was your favorite Muppet sketch? For me it's a Dr. Bunsen and Beaker at the Muppet Lab. Golly, that was hilarious. Comment below and tell me all about your favorite sketch!

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