The Muppets Movie Review
Review by Rachel Hansen (B)
"It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights..."
I'm a child of the 80's. I grew up watching classic Disney, "Fraggle Rock", and "The Muppets". So, needless to say, I was really excited to see The Muppets, their first theatrical release in over a decade. And with all the positive hype it was getting, my hopes were set pretty high. I was not disappointed.
The plot is simple: Gary (Jason Segel) and his brother Walter, a puppet, have been lifelong fans of the Muppets. They set off on a trip to Los Angeles with Gary's girlfriend, Amy Adams. When they discover that an evil Texas millionaire (superbly played by Chris Cooper) wants to destroy the Muppet Theater to drill for oil, they help Kermit rally the gang together to put on a benefit show to try and save the theater.
You go into a Muppet movie expecting celebrity cameos, but I was surprised by the number of recognizable faces in here: Emily Blunt practically reprising her role from The Devil Wears Prada; Rashida Jones as the studio exec who reluctantly gives the Muppets a time slot for their telethon; Jack Black as Animal's anger management sponsor; and way more than I can name here. Seriously, go look it up - you'll be impressed.
The film is full of sly references to the fact that you're watching a movie, such as their use of "travelling by map" to cover long distances or the suggestion of using a montage to round up the other Muppets. But despite this, there are no jokes made about the fact that the Muppets are, well, puppets. The characters are out functioning in society and no one seems to question that Jason has a puppet for a brother. I thought this worked well, though, as it helped to solidify that they are just as much an actor in the film as their human counterparts, if not more so.
The music is also a lot of fun. The main song and dance number, "Life's a Happy Song," is so catchy and upbeat that I'm willing to bet I wasn't the only one humming it on my way out of the theater. And with other songs including their own adaptations of Cee Lo's "Forget You" and the classic "Smells Like Teen Spirit," along with the famous Muppet theme song and "The Rainbow Connection", it's an easy prediction that the soundtrack is going to be a hit.
Minor spoiler alert: If I had to make a negative comment, it would be their choice to have the Muppets use Jack Black as the "Celebrity Guest Host" their telethon desperately needs. Not that he isn't great, and the kids in the audience sure seemed to like him, but he had his moment earlier in the film and it would have been great to see someone else make an appearance.
Was The Muppets groundbreaking? No. But I bet if you're someone who was eagerly awaiting this film, you weren't looking for "groundbreaking." You were just looking for "great." You were looking for a film that was funny without having to resort to being crude, one that was well written and had good acting, a movie that featured familiar faces and some you may have forgotten about. If you ever watched one of Jim Henson's classics then you owe it to yourself to see The Muppets in theaters.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.