So, I’ve decided to branch my blog out a bit to cover films and music too, since I enjoy them and am as annoyingly opinionated about them as I am about TV. So, to bridge the transition nicely, I thought I’d first review the new Muppet movie, since they’re equally known for TV as they are for their films.
Now, to clarify, I bloody love the Muppets. When they had a short lived TV reboot in the 90’s, I would make sure I was home every week to watch. I’d tape them so I could watch them at least three times during the week. I own the Muppet Christmas Carol on both VHS and DVD, and I consider it the greatest Christmas movie of all time, and I refuse to be told any differently. Thus, my hopes for this were really quite high. Did it meet them? Honestly, no. But it did come pretty close.
The basic plot involves Jason Segel (off of How I Met Your Mother), his long-term girlfriend (Amy Adams, I LOVE HER) and his adopted Muppet brother named Walter, as they try to bring the Muppets back to save their legendary theatre. Then there’s a couple of side-plots involving romance, that Ill get to later.
One of the things that I was most worried about was whether Segel (who was one of the writers too) could really capture the feel of the old Muppets TV/films. And I totally shouldn’t have been. It’s amazing how it manages to be both the least and most cynical film I’ve ever seen in my life, which is exactly how it should be. For every sweet romantic moment, or a touching speech from one of the characters, it’s countered by breaking the fourth wall or a vicious jab at the way American television is run.
Said romance is provided by the human couple (Segel and Adams) and the greatest cross-species love story ever told (Kermit and Miss Piggy). Considering that romance subplots, particularly in kids films, are almost always disappointing, these are both pretty good and surprisingly sweet. My few complaints would be that Mary (Amy Adams’ character) isn’t really given much in the way of character development, whilst the romance did tend to make Miss Piggy come across as a little too much of a pushover for my liking. Because she is NOT that.
I was actually quite surprised by the lack of presence of the other Muppets. Beaker, Rizzo the Rat, Sam the Eagle, Rowlf, loads of the classic characters are barely used. Fozzie, and to an extent, Gonzo are the only ones really used. Oh, and a sideplot involving Animal trying to recover from his addiction to his drums. Which is amazing. Obviously. It’s Animal.
Then there’s Walter, the new muppet. Sorry, but I hated him. Really hated him. He was utterly dull but completely self-centred managing to make everyone else’s problems all about him, whether it be his brother, Mary or any of the Muppets, whilst all these amazing characters stand around and tell the blandest Muppet EVA how amazing he is. And I don’t think he apologised for his shitty attitude at any point either! Prick.
There’s another new character that I don’t want to ruin as it is COMPLETELY amazing, but I’ll just say that his name is “80’s Robot” and just let your brain even try to conceive how amazing he is.
All the songs are brilliant too, unsurprisingly since they’re written by Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords, whom I also adore. The requisite celebrity cameos are all used well without overpowering the rest of the story, although I was surprised that the majority of them were US sitcom stars rather than big actors. I was also not exactly enamoured with the celebrity host of the big telethon but he’s not really in it enough to get on your tits too much.
So, in the rankings of Muppet movies (of the ones I’ve seen anyway) I would say this isn’t as good as Christmas Carol (but then, what is?!) but it’s deffo better than Treasure Island and is a considerable step up from the abomination that was the Muppet Wizard of Oz.