Monday, December 5, 2011

Felt Something: The Muppets

We went to our first family movie outing tonight since X-Men: First Class in the summer, and saw The Muppets. Like they were for a lot of people, the Muppets were a key part of my childhood, both on Sesame Street and in their own television variety show, and it has saddened me over the years to see them losing ground to other pop-cultural and entertainment entities.

I can't tell you much about Jason Segel except I see him in ads for How I Met Your Mother, which I know is enjoyed by a lot of people I respect, but apparently he is a huge fan of the Muppets, and was a big reason for this movie getting made, and actually helped write the screenplay.  Based on this alone, I am now a fan of his.

If you have ever enjoyed the Muppets, you need to go see this movie, and quickly.  I'm afraid there is not a lot more I can tell you, because for something so familiar it is almost trite, there are a couple of great little surprises in this film.  Don't let anyone spoil a single gag or cameo for you, even though there are plenty.

I missed Frank Oz a great deal, especially in Fozzie's voice, but I can't agree with his feeling that the characters were not being treated with respect in the screenplay, and that the humour came from broad, cheap laughs.  Well, okay, that second part is kind of hard to disagree with, but it's always been that way, hasn't it?  This first Muppet movie in over twelve years (!) has really captured the feel for me of the classic, corny Muppets I grew up with, plus a lot of my newer favourites, like Bobo the Bear and Pepe, the King Prawn.

Best of all, the filmmakers (and through them,the Muppets themselves) are completely self-aware that they are out of step with current tastes, that this kind of simple whimsy really has no place in the cynical entertainment marketplace of this second decade of the 21st century.  And that is all the more reason to see it, and see it soon.

That's not to say it's perfect; it's a bit uneven in places, but for anyone who is a fan of the television show, you are not just used to this, you've actually come to expect it, right?

I really don't want to chance spoiling anything for you, but since I want this post to be more than just "See it; trust me!", here are my

 Top 10 Reasons to See The Muppets in Theatres ASAP

10. Amy Archer is wonderful, and should get more work.
9. Rockin' 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
8. Singing and dancing, just like the old show.
7. Most of the cameos are quite good.
6. Hearing 'The Rainbow Connection'.
5.Some of the cameos are actually great.
4.Jason Segel has put together a great story about the world's biggest Muppet fan, and it isn't him.
3. One of the cameos is indisputably brilliant.
2. Chris Cooper is the best villain without a maniacal laugh ever.
and the number 1 reason you should see The Muppets in theatres ASAP
1.  It is just absolutely, one hundred percent #%&ing delightful.

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