A scene from The MuppetsMy theory is everyone has a favourite Muppet. Whether it’s the lovable Kermit the Frog, the comparably giant Sam Eagle or the goofy Swedish Chef, the Muppets offer a personality that appeals to everybody. That’s one of its charms and what gives it the longevity it’s experienced – the first episode of The Muppets Show aired in 1976. And unlike many of our other childhood favourites that resurfaced after long hiatuses, this movie is everything you hope it would be.

Gary (Jason Segel) and Walter are not just brothers, they’re best friends too. Though growing up, Walter wasn’t actually growing as much as Gary and he began to feel left out. That’s when he discovered The Muppets Show, quickly becoming their No. 1 fan. When Gary and his girlfriend (Amy Adams) offer to take Walter to L.A. to visit the Muppets’ studio, words cannot express his excitement. But while there, they uncover a plot by a rich oil tycoon (Chris Cooper) to tear down the studio and setup drills. The only way to save the property is to get the old gang back together, hold a telethon and raise the money to buy it all back – which is of course easier said than done since they haven’t seen each other in years.

Though I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely necessary, I think familiarity with the Muppets is somewhat of a prerequisite for truly enjoying the movie. Understanding their relationships and quirks, such as the tumultuous relationship between Kermit and Miss Piggy or Gonzo’s adoration for Camilla, is key to getting many of the jokes – at least for the first half of the picture. The second half, on the other hand, which actually revolves around producing The Muppets Show, is when the film really takes off and most of the humour at this point becomes independent.

One thing to keep in mind is the musical element of a Muppets movie. Characters randomly burst into song, work through their feelings lyrically and complete tasks to music. Though after the first number, you wouldn’t want them to do it any other way. In addition to some old favourites, such as “Rainbow Connection” and “Mah Na Mah Na,” they introduce some new material, such as the captivating duet “Man or Muppet,” and tackle an unexpected rock anthem.

Another element not lost in this recent incarnation is the witty self-referencing. Characters consistently point out that we are watching a movie, from stating they’ve just laid out an important plot point to suggesting a montage to save time. It’s always been part of the magic of the Muppets to pull you into their world by bringing you in on the joke, and much like they did for Walter, making you feel like you belong.

Of course a Muppets movie isn’t complete without a lot of cameos. Everyone who’s anyone makes an appearance, including Neil Patrick Harris, Jim Parsons, Alan Arkin, Emily Blunt, Sarah Silverman, Jack Black, Dave Grohl, John Krasinski, Rashida Jones, Mickey Rooney, Selena Gomez, Rico Rodriguez and many more. Though the appearances by the younger stars feel token and out of place.

Parents, however, need to note that the Muppets are really wonderful – after a certain age. Though both come from creator Jim Henson, the Muppets is not Sesame Street. It was never intended for young children. In fact, the show used to air during primetime for exactly that reason. But if you’re going to take your kids (of any age), build the foundation at home so they don’t feel left out of the punch lines. There are several movies to choose from, some of which were just re-released on Blu-ray.

So now sit back and enjoy because it’s once again time for The Muppets – the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, muppetational movie of the year!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s