El Jefe de Santo fancies himself an in-ring general, an orphan recuing dynamo and even a film critic. One thing that you faithful readers may not know, however, is that nearly all his life the creations of Jim Henson (God rest his soul) have been a major component of his memory. The Muppets, in their various incarnations, have been a mainstay of not only his childhood but a reminder that despite all the cynicism out there that hope, happiness, and love do exist. A luchador review: The Muppets!
It's time to play the music..
It's time to light the lights..
That familiar refrain is, sadly, unknown to most kids today. Henson Studios, once a veritable factory of dreams that once produced the amazing Muppet Movie, Muppets Take Manhattan and The Muppet Show, has since the early 90's been nothing more than a joke. The last few cinematic outings for the Muppets have been, well, bad. There, of course, is the manic energy that accompanies Henson's felt creations but it lacked the talent behind the camera and behind the pen that had made earlier efforts just so damn good.
So, all the history aside, it is 2011 and we have brand spankin' new Muppets movie. Is it what we know and love from the Muppets? Is it more of the same garbage that the studio churned out in the mid 90's into the 2000's?
This is the movie that the franchise needed in a BIG way. I find it hard to believe that anyone could watch this movie without at least cracking a smile. The music is downright fantastic at times, the comedy ranges from self-aware deprecation to puns that go on for miles. All the elements are here.
Jason Segel (star and one of the writers of the screenplay) plays Gary who is "brothers" with Walter (A Muppet). They've grown up in Smalltown, USA watching the Muppets and adoring them. Gary's long-time girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams) wants to make their tenth anniversary together special. A trip to Los Angeles is planned and even Walter can come along. A tour of the old Muppets studio inevitably takes place and we soon find out that the legacy of our felt friends is in danger. Time to put on a show to save the day! The Muppet Show reborn! It's all very grand and very entertaining.
This is, as always, a VERY musical movie. The music is top notch ( the ballad Segel croons "Man or Muppet?" should EASILY garner Oscar nominations for Best Song) with much of it composed by Flight of the Conchords star Bret McKenzie. There's also another Conchords alum in the director's chair as well, James Bobin. We've even got Nicholas Stoller, Segel's collaborator on Get Him To The Greek, co-writing the screenplay with Segel. A lot of R-rated talent behind the lens but the film never goes past the PG threshold.
Make no mistake about it this movie is safe for all ages and can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Parents will likely wax nostalgic over the Muppets while an entirely new breed of youngsters can finally get to see what all this fuss is about. The human element of the movie is great, though Segel seems to struggle just a bit with the singing and dancing duties, but truly the Muppets steal the entire show away. Kermit and Ms. Piggy together again and I'll be damned if it doesn't feel OH so right.
This is WELL worth the price of admission and I even plan on seeing it again over the Thanksgiving break. This is pure sunshine, folks. It's a fun movie that plays on the nostalgia of the older generation so well yet introduces the new folks to a universe of characters that are absolutely timeless.
I leave you with one last image. One doesn't think that a creation of felt, a puppet, can trasmit so much emotion yet ..