Sunday, November 27, 2011
The Muppets (2011)
Writer: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
Director: James Bobin
Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Walter, Kermit, and the rest of the Muppets
Jason Segel's brother is a muppet (but he doesn't quite know it). On a trip to Los Angeles, they learn that a rich oil baron is buying the Muppet Theater with sinister intent. They proceed to find Kermit and get the band back together to raise the funds necessary to buy the theater back.
this was the kid's first movie theater experience so i enjoyed watching him watching this. it was a good homage to an old school muppet movie. mostly, i think, it had the feel of "the muppets take manhattan" with the focus on the humans and kermit rather than the muppets themselves. there were some great jokes and i laughed plenty out loud. on the other side, there was some short comings as well. i think there was a little too much focus on the two different plots. i think it would have been better if they chose to stick to one and let the other be a small side plot. and by that i mean walter's story of finding himself and accepting his muppetness should have remained in the background. the preschooler in our group started to waiver around the hour ten mark so the last bits of the movie i only half paid attention to in between shushing my child and sitting him down and telling him he ate all of the bathtub sized popcorn. the ending was a little wishy washy for me also, but all in all i had a great time and i'm glad we followed through and saw this in the movies. definitely the best of the contemporary muppet movies. no adaptations. an actual original muppet story.
as a side note i think it was an interesting plot move to have the rights to the muppets become an issue since i believe brian henson and disney argued over the same thing in recent history...notice no henson or oz associated in the credits...
One of the few actually funny jokes from Austin Powers was even prescient: How much should they have made the contract worth? $10M seems like a pretty low number these days, but much more than that would have been equally implausible. Other than that there's not too much to say about the plotting itself. From a critical perspective it took a bit too long to get that point, musical numbers notwithstanding. From a critical standpoint, the premise of the movie needed to be set 20 years or so in the future. From a critical standpoint, blah blah blah. This is another one of those "this is a movie" movies. Who cares?
It's a fucking Muppet movie, and not a terrible one at that. The all-Muppet scenes were generally better than those where they had to interact with people, but only because they're more in their element. The "Muppet Show" type bits were definitely the best part, and I do wish we had gotten to see more of those. Because seriously, Gonzo + schtickless Jack Black=awesome.
There were some other great social commentary jokes ("Punch Teacher" runs for 120 minutes, of course) and some cute cameos (though I honestly feel like there could/should have been many more despite the woman's disagreement). The movie was funny and jerked enough tears and was generally quite satisfying. It's a Muppet movie. We are exactly the target demographic of this movie. If you are as well, then you will dig it. If you're not, then I don't know who you are.