The Muppets

I couldn’t be happier to bring you this news.

“The Muppets” isn’t just good, it’s great. For fans from the “Old Days” it will be a joyous reunion. A thorough reminder of why you loved them to begin with. For children and young people who are new to the Muppets, you’ll love meeting them. They’re going to be characters you’ll love for the rest of your life.

It’s a song and dance comedy spectacular that’s full of laughs, feel good story moments and wonderful, colorful, comical characters. It literally gave me chills at several points, and I sat watching it with a grin ear to ear from beginning to end.

Muppets fans? Raise your expectations 100%. I guarantee you leave saying “That was SO awesome”.

“The Muppets” tells the story of Walter, a puppet who lives with his human brother, Gary (Jason Segel). Being a puppet can be tough sometimes, as you’d imagine. So Walter takes solace in becoming the world’s biggest Muppets fan. He reveres them. When Gary invites Walter to come to LA with him and his fiance Mary (Amy Adams) as they celebrate their anniversary, Gary jumps at the chance. He’d get a chance to tour the legendary Muppets Studio, the place where the Muppets performed the shows that he loves so much, all those years ago…

Of course, once he gets there, he finds the studios are in a sad state of disrepair. Decrepit. The Muppets haven’t performed together in years, and now the property is up for sale. During his tour, Walter sneaks off, hoping to explore the studios more deeply than the brush-off tour guide is offering.

It’s then he discovers the terrible truth. The pending buyer is SAYING he wants to turn the studios into a Muppet Museum, but if the sale goes through, the studios will be torn down, in order to drill for oil.

There’s only one chance to save the historical studios. Walter, Gary and Mary have to find the Muppets, tell them the truth, and hope they can raise the ten million dollars needed to buy the property themselves and prevent the sale.

And there’s only one way to do that. They’ll have to put on a show.

Of course, that’s not going to be easy! The Muppets have “broken up”. They’re scattered all over the place. Plus, they haven’t performed in years, how could they get their act together in a short timeframe?

But perhaps the biggest challenge of all… the biggest hurdle they face… is the fact that they’re “has-beens”. The public barely remembers The Muppets. How can they get them to care again? In this age of violent video games and reality tv, where do singing, dancing, skit performing puppets fit in?

Can they reconnect with the public’s heart?

Which of course, isn’t just a plot point, but an actual challenge faced by this movie for real. “The Muppets” is charmingly “Meta”. It uses its self-awareness to great comedic effect throughout. The Muppets seem to know all too well that they’ve been relegated to the “Where are they now file”.

So how do they address that? How do they regain the public’s attention? How do they tell everyone, “Hey Remember us? You used to love us!!”

Not by reinventing themselves. Not by being something they’re not. And certainly not by being “darker and edgier”.

No, the Muppets do what they do best. They sing and they dance and they tell bad jokes as if they were a puppet-produced vaudeville review. Every Muppet has his moment in the sun. Miss Piggy sets a new bar for being fabulous, and Fozzie’s jokes are as bad as ever, maybe even worse. Statler and Waldorf heckle, the Swedish Chef hoomdie horgs, and Gonzo pulls a crazy stunt.

The supporting human characters were perfect. Jason Segel and Amy Adams sing and dance and seem so likeable and enthusiastic, that it’s nearly impossible not to get behind them. The musical numbers are written by Bret McKenzie of “Flight of the Conchords” fame, and it really comes across. The songs are catchy and funny and absolutely perfect for the movie when they’re used.

The end result is not only a movie that’s incredibly entertaining, but completely refreshing. It’s wholesome. Full of charm and heart. The songs are great, the jokes are great, the Muppets are great. You can get lost in the nostalgia of it, and at the same time get swept up by the fact that they’re creating magic again anew.

Highly recommendable. Perfect for families and children of all ages. A completely enjoyable piece of entertainment.

A++   I never realized how deeply I love these characters until I saw this movie.

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34 thoughts on “The Muppets

  1. Wow, so wait, did you like it or not? Just kidding, really glad it seems to be getting good reviews and the self awareness of the ‘where are they now’ sounds like a good, emotive base for the story. Also didn’t know one of Flight of the Conchords was doing the songs! Love that show. Unfortunately i have to wait till the 10th of February for it over here!

    • Yeah, Jaina said that too. That’s a super bummer.

      Yes, Bret’s the one without glasses (If you needed to be told). I didn’t know he was involved in this going in. I guess I hadn’t been paying enough attention. But anyways, when they hit “Am I a man or a Muppet?” it was unmistakeable. I was like, thats a Flight of the Conchords song, I know it is.

      And sure enough, yup. Well, at least one of them.

  2. Yay!! I can finally say I’ve seen one of the new movies that you have posted a review for!!

    It was very awesome. I think I liked it more than my boys! It was new and retro at the same time. I agree with you that they’ve been gone so long that I forgot how much I missed them too! They had me hooked when they introduced the “80s robot” at Kermit’s house. The “Am I A Man Or A Muppet” musical number was the funniest thing I’ve seen in years!! Many LOL moments for me throughout, some that I felt I was the only one laughing in the whole theater!!

    My boys enjoyed it. We have a couple of the original Muppet movies but probably because it is dated, they never really got into them. They were more into this one than those.

    Disney has set the bar high for sure! I hope they can keep building and produce more at the same level. (Not sure they can top this one!)

    • I’m sure that our generation is going to love it the most, because the Muppets were “ours”. There’s a deep affection for these characters after seeing the show on tv every week. So, undoubtedly, we’ll be a lot fonder of it than newbies.

      But I’m sure its going to win over a whole new generation. All the musical numbers were great. But yeah, “Am I a Man or a Muppet” stands out.

      Were you a Flight of the Conchords fan, by any chance?

  3. The Muppets have always been a favorite of mine. The humor and the perfected delivery are what I strive for in my own personal Muppet movie, called life. Your write-up is so filled with enthusiasm, it made me want to see it immediately, but it’s only 9am. And I can picture you writing this with a constant smile on your face. It comes through loud and clear. Now I can’t wait to see it, but will have to wait until my first chance on Saturday.

  4. I am really glad to hear that this movie is so good. I was looking forward to it but trying my best to not get my hopes up. This reminded me that I need to get a copy of The Muppet’s Christmas Carol for my kid this year to get him hooked on The Muppets.

  5. So very glad to see your review is this positive. I was worried it might not live up to the hope. (Not the hype (well, that too), but the hope. You know what I mean.) I’m not sure if I’ll be seeing this in the theatre or not (I want to, but this is the time of year when it’s a little harder to set aside the ticket fare, you know?) but this has just moved from “definitely seeing” to “eagerly anticipated”.

    • “this has just moved from “definitely seeing” to “eagerly anticipated”.”

      Mission accomplished.

      That’s where it belongs Morgan. It wont let you down. In fact, you’re going to love it. It’s a slam dunk.

  6. This movie exceeded my expectations – although having read your review, I felt pretty sure it would be good! I think I may have enjoyed it more than the kids! The 80s humor was great! Also, I am a sucker for big dance scenes in the middle of the street (like in Enchanted)! This truly is a movie the whole family can enjoy!

    • Wait, you read my review and it STILL exceeded your expectations? I practically broke out a marching band and played the themesong myself!! LOL ;)

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for swinging through to support my lunacy. I DID pretty much go crazy on this review, and its nice to know that I’m not the only one who thought it was completely off the charts.

      I agree, I think its a movie entire families can enjoy, too, and I hope its a phenomenal smash hit.

  7. I grew up with The Muppets and have been a lifelong fan. Admittedly, I haven’t seen many of the movies but, I do have the 1st 3 seasons on DVD. I’m also happy to report that my 5yr old loves them & the 2yr old twins enjoy them, as well.

    The 5yr old & I have been looking forward to this movie for a while (twins are still a bit too young for the theater). We’ve even watched all of the shorts & trailers on demand. To say expectations have been high would be a gross understatement….

    Yesterday the squirt & I went to see it and it was easily 100x better than I had hoped. The story, the songs, all of it. I felt like a little kid again. Hell, I even came close to tearing up during the finale of the telethon. Yeah… that’s right. I said it.

    Dan, your may have written a gushing review but, it was a well deserved gushing. You were spot on.

    I give it an A++++++++…..

    • In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that it may be a bit long for the youngsters. I think it was about 1hr 45 min and about 90 min in, even so she was laughing right along with me, she started asking how much longer it was gonna be until it’s over. I practically had to force her to stay for the stuff during the credits….

      • Well, she’s five.

        Its great to hear she liked it though. I’m sure I’ll get the full review tomorrow.

        Anyways, I’m really glad I’m not the only one crazy about this movie. My grading scale only goes to an A++ bro, or I might have added a few pluses myself. LOL

        I’m anxiously waiting the opening weekend box office results. I’m hoping it did GANGBUSTERS. I want a sequel to this one.

  8. Saw this movie today in a sold out theater in Boulder, CO and was delighted to see more adults than children, but an audience of all ages to be sure. At almost 42yrs old, I grew up with the Muppets and missed them. It was wonderful to see them again, and I truly hope this movie marks the beginning of a long overdue return of wholesome entertainment. The movie was all that Dan describes and then some. It provides a perfect launching point from which the Muppets could regain a weekly highlight in our lives.

    • Hey… that would be cool. The Muppets back on tv! LOL Thanks for the nice words Pam, I appreciate it!

      Not sure they’ll get back on TV, but after this, I’m sure they’ll be back in movie theaters more often!

  9. Really the only thing wrong with the movie was that I wasn’t in it! I would’ve loved to be in a crowd scene, anything to be a part of it. Thanks for posting Rainbow Connection. Even when Sarah Mclachlan sings it in her angelic voice, it doesn’t bring me to tears like Kermie. I’m so happy to see other people loved it as much as I did. Great review.

    • LOL! I’m glad to see people loved it as much as I did too…

      I’d have felt a little silly if not, I did basically turn my review into Muppet City.

      And no problem with Rainbow Connection… I had to hear it when I got home, listened to it constantly while writing this up, and then by the end I figured, ah, what the hell, embed it!
      :D

      Thanks for the support Colleen!

      • I love the Muppets so much that I actually chose my screen name in anticipation of this delightful bon bon of movie fun.
        Thank you so much for this exuberant review! You’ve got me singing Rainbow Connection to myself now

  10. Saw this movie last night, thoroughly enjoyable! I can’t think of any other movie that can make you so emotional about puppet acting. I enjoyed the unconventional scene twists, (the hot dog scene). Also, the musical numbers were very interesting, Lady Gaga and Nirvana! Awesome!

    • God, yeah, LOL. That hot dog joke was pretty funny, wasn’t it?

      I think it was a solid win across the board. I went in hoping to like it, I had no idea I’d come out raving about it.

      I want to call in to the Muppet telethon and save the theatre for real!!

  11. Fogs,
    You’re spot on with this review. Two thumbs way up for me who remembers The Muppets fondly in the ’80s. My nieces & nephew saw it with me and really enjoyed it too. Additionally, a great Pixar Toy Story short preceeded the film.

    • Thank you!

      Yup. We were just doing a new podcast last night, and I told my buddy Tank that when I left the theatre, my only question was “How loudly do I sound the horn?”

      My answer was “As loud as I can” I guess. LOL

      We spend a little time talking that short, too, check it out if you get a chance, should be up by Weds. Meanwhile, thanks for the comment!!

  12. The Muppets is about a lot of things; it’s about facing our problems with positivity and with hope, it’s about finding courage and support in our friends, and it’s about the power of a good belly laugh. I mean, it’s also about chickens performing Cee-lo Green and fart shoes and omelet stations and Chris Cooper rapping and Animal finally getting to play the drums and the third greatest gift you can give a person, sure, but it’s also about so much more.

    That’s because of how much the Muppets mean to people who grew up with them. I think this could easily have just been nostalgic fan service but Segel and Stoller really bring these characters forward into 2011; they’re not yearning for happier times but reminding us that the Muppets point us to happiness, full-stop. I think that that shows how relevant they could be today when pop culture has grown so derogatory and cynical and, often, mean-spirited.

    I’d also say that this makes for a great introduction to the characters for those unfamiliar with them.

    Loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. For me this is just behind the hem of The Muppet Movie, which is no small feat.

    • Agreed on all counts. I think they made a wonderful movie. I’m still really surprised by just how good it is.

      People have been nearly unanimous in praising it. Which is a relief because I went all out in support of this one :D

      It’s funny you mention the first movie… I don’t think I’ve seen it since it was out in theaters. It’s a testament to this movie that it makes me want to go back and reconnect with that one.

      You’re right, a lot of great messages. A lot of fun… This movie should be the blueprint for reinvigorating franchises.

  13. Awesome! They fell back on the classic tones of the Muppets, and it worked! It all worked!!! We were in stitches! The whole theatre sang when the Muppet Show theme song played. (I am actually surprised they was no dancing in the aisles at some parts)
    Highlights for me: Muppet or a Man with Jim Parsons — over the top funny! “Rowlf: why wasn’t I in the montage?, maniacal laugh, traveling by map, Animal staying in control…hahaha
    The whole movie was done in classic Muppet Style, I loved that they knew what worked, and they didn’t change it!
    I feel they respected the “Muppet Generation” For example, they didn’t have Selena Gomez going gaga over the Muppets (she really has no reason to know what the Muppets were all about…..) “My agent made me come. “ Sounds silly, but I really appreciated that….
    It was so good I can only sum it up by saying any adult can go see this movie without hiding behind the excuse “I am only here b/c my kids wanted to go”…..no excuses needed…this movie is enjoyable for everyone!
    I haven’t been to a movie in a long time where there was a full blown audience applause at the end!

    • That is cool. I’ve been trying to hit movies like this is primetime so I can judge audience reaction, but I couldn’t wait til Friday :D

      I liked the Selena Gomez moment too. You’re right. Very respectful. Clever of them to work it in like that.

      Lots of highlights for me, but when they played Rainbow Connection, I got chills. Like just completely was 10 years old again.

      Muppet or a Man was awesome too. Tank said he bought the soundtrack… I may follow suit.

      But that’s one of the reasons I’ve been RAVING about this movie. I mean SO many great moments. All the ones you mentioned, “Muppet Man”… If I had been taking a drink during Gonzo’s leap off the building in his first scene I would have spit it all over the place, LOL!

      Great, Great flick.

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