The Muppets – The Review

Nobody is a bigger Muppets fan than I am. I can’t count the number of posts I’ve done on them on this blog, or the number of videos I’ve shared. Heck, I’ll probably be sharing one at the end of this post. Last weekend I went with my friend Scott to see it in Rochester; this is my review of the movie.

The storyline begins with new characters, a couple of brothers where one of them is a Muppet (go with me here) and one human, and his very cute girlfriend. The humans were played by Jason Segal and Amy Adams. The Muppet brother, named Walter. doesn’t see himself as a Muppet, just a misfit in the world, but he considers himself the biggest Muppet fan and really wants to be one of the gang. When Gary (Jason) decides to take Mary (Amy) to Los Angeles to celebrate their 10th anniversary of being boyfriend and girlfriend, Mary thinks it’s to get engaged until Gary tells her that Walter’s coming as well so that he can take him to visit Muppet Studios.

When they get there, the studios are decrepit, and when Walter goes off on his own, he overhears a conversation by a rich oilman who’s planning on buying the theater and drilling for oil that’s underneath, telling everyone else that he’s turning it into a museum to get his hands on the property. Walter, Gary and Mary go off looking for Kermit, who they find living in his mansion alone, tell him what’s going on, then finally convince him to try to get the gang together to put on a show to raise $10 million to save the theater and the studios.

That’s the basic premise; I’m not going to say how it all ends except to say that, in an odd way, it ends just like one might expect a Muppets movie to end, but without what I’m calling the type of quirky goodwill and smiles that I expected. As a matter of fact, I have to truthfully say that I was letdown by this movie a lot, and that’s depressing to me.

Jason Segal had a hand in helping to write the movie, and supposedly he’s a major Muppets fan as well. However, I felt like he missed just what the Muppets were all about. After all, he wasn’t born until 1980, which means he wasn’t even alive when the TV show or the first movie came out. Not that people can’t become fans of something later in life, but I think his age made him miss just what the Muppets were all about.

This movie missed all the stuff that made the Muppets funny. There were no corny jokes except by Fozzie Bear. There were no running gags. There were no puns. There were no surprises such as being in the wrong place at the wrong, or right, time. There was a robot, and none of us could figure out where that came from, and the robot drove the car. None of the newer Muppet characters were named in the movie, and only one, Pepe, the giant prawn, got a true scene in the movie.

And there was a lot of sadness in this movie, way more sadness than happiness. Walter was sad that he couldn’t find his place in life. Mary was sad because she didn’t think Gary would ever see her as a woman. Kermit was sad because everyone had disappeared and he didn’t even have the dream anymore; this was probably the most depressing thing of all because it’s always been Kermit who believed in everything. Miss Piggy had moved on, but she was sad because she and Kermit hadn’t ended up together. Everyone else had failed in life except for Gonzo, who was rich, powerful and respected in plumbing yet yearned for show business (what he does was probably one of the few truly Muppet inspired gags of the movie).

And the music… well, I liked the opening song, but I’d have to admit I wasn’t enthralled by much of the rest of it, though there was a nice touching scene of the gang doing Rainbow Connection. When the first movie came out I went and bought the album the very same day and played it incessantly for weeks (well, when my roommate wasn’t in the room at least lol).

This wasn’t a bad movie, just not what I expected from a Muppet movie. As much as the critics panned and fans stayed away from Muppets From Space, I actually thought that movie had some charm and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Will this movie actually spark interest in the Muppets again? I’m not sure, and that’s disappointing. It could have been so much more, and I’m not sure the updated version had the same spark as what I remember (and I have the movie, another movie, and the 1st 3 seasons on DVD so I know lol). I hope so, but if it happens I also hope someone remembers what made them what they were in the first place. By the way, this was a nice tribute to Jim Henson, as they made sure to show pictures in the background with him and Kermit; nice touch. Okay, yes, here’s a video:


 

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16 comments on “The Muppets – The Review

  • My kids watch disney channel and I keep hearing the muppets show jingle over and over while I work. No wonder–they have a new movie.

    I grew up watching sesame street, then later, the muppets show. If my kids ask to see this movie, I am good to go.

    Thank you for the review.
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  • I used to be a very big fan when I was a kid, actually I think my father was even bigger fan than me and he bought all possible toys and merchandise for me, but may be a bit background – this was the first foreign show on TV in my country at that time, as you know we were behind the curtain. I didn’t know that there is new edition, but for sure I am going to watch it.

    • Carl, I could see your dad being a bigger fan than you; he was probably closer to my age, and back then something like the Muppets was far out stuff. I mean, in some instances you wondered “is there someone in there or is it more of a puppet”? Didn’t matter overall though; they were different for the day & we loved them.

      • Yeah, I think parents and kids were understanding the show in much different ways. Actually I’ve been a bit older than my son at that time and I think father was around the age of 35.

  • I’m glad Jason Segal got the role. He’s one my of favorite up and coming actors and also is madly obsessed with the puppets and the muppets. I haven’t seen the movie yet as I’ve had zero time lately. Great, thorough review though. thanks
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    • Thanks Briddick. I’m not upset that he got the role, just that he was probably not the right guy for writing the movie. At the least I wish some older Muppet writers had participated, though I can’t say for sure some didn’t.

  • Angel Collins says:

    Great review! I don’t know if it can attract the attention of today’s viewers but it definitely hasn’t lost mine. Can’t wait to see the Muppets on the big screen again!

  • Mitch, I haven’t been to a movie theater in at least two years, but was planning to go see this one. The thing I’ve always loved about the Muppets is how original and unique they are, and how so many different age groups can appreciate them on their own level and for their own reasons. There’s nothing else like them.

    I still may go, but I’ll be watching a little more critically now. Thanks.
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    • No problem Charles. You know, I think going in that I was a little leery of what was coming based on the commercials, but it was an adventure of sorts going with my friend to see it. I hope you enjoy it; now get in there! 😉

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