Thursday, November 24, 2011
For a Thanksgiving treat, Bunny and I went to see “The Muppets,” and I must say, as sequels go, it's not bad.
And yes, it's a sequel, to the classic 1979 “The Muppet Movie.” It's not as great as that, but it's darned good.
The movie centers around Walter, a Muppet, his brother Gary (Jason Segel, who also wrote the screenplay), a human (okay, it doesn't make much sense, but really—this is a universe where there are seven foot walking chickens, talking frogs, and nine foot blue monsters; if you can accept that, then I assume you'll have to accept a Muppet having a human brother) and Gary's girlfriend (Amy Adams). Walter is the Muppet's biggest fan, and as a present, Gary presents Walter with tickets to Muppet Studios. There, he learns that the studio is in trouble, and, once he meets Kermit, convinces him to get the gang back together again for one last show to save the studio.
What's nice is that not only do they reference the original “The Muppet Movie” with the “standard rich and famous contract”, but that Gonzo is now a very successful business…thing with a plumbing supply wholesale company (in the original, he was a plumber) and they yet again leave Sweetums behind. Again (in what looks to me the original setting for that scene).
And then there's the constant breaking of the fourth wall, film metahumor (they travel by map—like in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where they superimpose a map showing the path the hero is taking—that's how they travel in this film; or the villain (Chris Cooper) who laughs diabolically by saying “Diabolical laugh!”) and general mahem (they “obtain” a celebrity to host their show, and I'll leave it at that).
They even brought in older Muppets from the TV series, which was a nice touch (even these guys).
But … the voices are … just … a … bit off. I realize why, but still, it did interfere with my enjoyment of the film (the worst was Kermit, followed by Fozzie). They were so close, but not quite there. Also, the character of Kermit was pretty much split between Walter and Kermit himself. Kermit was always trying to keep order on “The Muppet Show” (the TV series), but here, that role was primarily Walter's.
And the cameos—it felt like “The Muppet Movie” had more cameos than this film. I'm not saying they didn't have cameos, but it felt like they had fewer this time around than in 1979.
But with that said, I loved the film.