* Prices may differ from that shown
I have to confess to being quite a big fan of The Muppets. The Muppets Christmas Carol has been one of my favourite films since childhood and I even had two computer games based on the show. I was therefore pretty enthusiastic to go and see the new film when it came out at the cinema in early 2012. My boyfriend happily accompanied me to see it and we absolutely loved it, enjoying it so much that I bought him the first film, The Muppets Movie, for his birthday a week later. We also watched quite a bit of the TV series from the seventies and got more and more into them. The day I returned from Germany for Christmas, The Muppets Christmas Carol was playing at a cinema near us and so we went out and watchd it (fairly drunkenly, I must say). Our enthusiasm for The Muppets reinspired, I thought that a box set of The Muppets films would make a great present for my boyfriend for Christmas, and it appeared that this was gratefully received. On Boxing Day, we felt like watching a film and he decided that he'd like to watch the most recent Muppets film again, and so we did.
== The Muppets ==
Walter (Peter Linz) hasn't had the easiest life - as a Muppet, he never grows tall or has much luck with girls, with his close friendship with his brother, Gary (Jason Segel), and his love for The Muppet Show being the main joys in his life. This continues into his adult life, where he is still living with Gary despite his being in a ten year long relationship with Mary (Amy Adams). Mary kindly agrees to let Walter come along with her and Gary on their anniversary trip to Los Angeles so that he can visit Muppet Studios. On arriving, however, they find the studio in ruins and Walter overhears an evil businessman's plot to take over the studio for the oil located underneath it. He and his brother warn Kermit the Frog of the plot and, together, they try to save the theatre by bringing the old Muppets gang back together. Over the course of this adventure, the two brothers have to work out what they want most in their lives, and whether they are men, or muppets.
== What I Thought ==
The Muppets is a great film that I enjoyed greatly when I saw it in the cinema as well as upon a repeat viewing. It was a fantastic film that could be enjoyed by children and families as well as adults on their own.
== The Story ==
The story of the studios/theatre being in trouble has been done before in previous Muppets films, but this most recent Muppets offering manages to be fresh and different. This is mainly down to the three principal characters of Walter, Gary and Mary, whose personal lives and relationships add an extra dimension to The Muppets. I loved the fraternal relationship between Walter and Gary, with them being the best of friends despite being very different. The story was mainly about Walter helping to get The Muppets back together to save the studio but there were more elements in there to keep you interested. The film was written by Jason Segel, who also played one of the lead roles, along with Nicholas Stoller.
== The Music ==
There is a lot of music in this film, which is unsurprising given that it is a Muppets film as well as a film suitable for children. By and large, the songs are fantastic and I still find myself singing bits of one of them a few days after having watched it again. The film's score was written by Christophe Beck with songs written by Bret McKenzie, who became known from the HBO series Flight of the Concords, which was filled with good but comical songs. The songs in The Muppets have a similar style and are perfect for this type of film. They are well written and good to sing along to, and I imagine that kids will love them. Adults are likely to love them even more, however, as the lyrics are also wonderfully funny and clever. The opening song sets a cheerful tone for the film (with lyrics: 'life's a happy song, when there's someone by your side to sing along') with different styles being used throughout. A climactic song for the film, 'Man or Muppet', is a very powerful yet poignant song and I believe that it was played quite a lot on Radio 2 as it is also a brilliant song. The songs were performed well by the whole cast, with Jason Segel in particular having a much more impressive voice than I had expected.
== Acting ==
He also proved himself to be a very good actor in this film. I can't imagine that acting with Muppets is the easiest of things, but the two main human actors, Jason Segel and Amy Adams, were both very good. The voice actors and animators/puppeteers for the Muppets were also excellent and it was easy to believe that they were every bit as real as the human characters.
== Conclusion ==
This was a fantastic film with some very clever laugh out loud moments as well as having an enjoyable story and characters. It was very well written and managed to keep the Muppets style and I imagine that Jim Henson would have been pleased with it. My boyfriend and I enjoyed watching it every bit as much the second time on DVD as we did when we initially saw it in the cinema, and my parents were also in stitches when they saw it for the first time with us. I'd highly recommend this for fans of The Muppets and people less familiar with them alike, and would say that it is equally suitable for adults and children.
The film is available for £8 on DVD and £9 Blu-ray on amazon.co.uk, but I managed to get it as part of a six film box set from HMV for £20 the other day, so that is something worth looking out for if you're a fan of The Muppets. Highly recommended.
1 disc DVD released in 2012
Written by Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel (forgetting Sarah Marshall)
Produced by Jason Segel and also starring Jason Segel
Directed by James Bobin
Cast: Starring Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones, Jack Black (as himself) and of course the Muppets, too many cameos to mention but include Whoopi Goldberg and Dave Grohl.
The film is based around the character Walter, a cute and endearing muppet who lives with a human family. He is the The Muppets biggest fan. Him and his human twin brother Gary (Jason Segal) and his twins girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) go on a trip to the Muppets Theatre studio. It's now sadly just an old attraction as the Muppets have gone their separate ways and no longer perform. Once there they over hear a plot to knock it down. They go off in search of Kermit to convince him to fight to save it. Together they help the muppets begrudgingly reform and come up with a plan to keep the Muppet Theatre from baddy Tex Richman's clutches- will they succeed?
After all the hype, my kids and I waited expectantly for the release of the dvd as I had resisted the urge to pay over the odds in the cinema. Described as a 'Musical comedy film' we weren't disappointed but weren't bowled over either. We found the music annoying, they seemed to burst into song rather a lot- we found ourselves groaning in the end. There were a few comedy moments but I wasn't really laughing and neither were my kids. Young children would find it more appealing I think.
The acting was incredibly cheesy and I found the story to be drawn out and lacking somehow. Never the less it's a colourful nostalgic film with all the old gang, and the usual celebrity cameo appearances.
This innocent story is a nice break from the more complicated films and just a bit of fun for the kids- took me back to my childhood too.
Director James Bobin is no stranger to sharp, intelligent comedic fare. With over ten years of comedy television under his belt (including The 11 O'Clock Show, Da Ali G Show and The Flight of the Conchords, all of which are brilliant), he was a clever choice for a new Muppets movie. He has a history of putting forward playfully hilarious, leftfield sequences that can charm and amuse simultaneously, so with a strong script from Jason Segel (who also stars) and Nicholas Stoller (Yes Man, Get Him to the Greek) it seemed as though all the pieces were coming together... and they really were. This is a wonderful film with some really delightful moments to behold. There are so many jokes to take in that it demands repeat viewing, but even if there weren't as many, you would still want to watch it again. I walked out of the cinema feeling like I was on a cloud, desperate for all around me to burst into song so that we could do a dance number together. It's a rare thing for a film to make you feel that good, but for me The Muppets managed it in spades.
Gary (played by Segel) and Walter, voiced by regular Muppeteer Jason Linz, have always been together, watching each other grow - or not grow, as the case may be. Having always felt an affinity to the Muppets, whom he has loved since their heyday, Walter is delighted when Gary reveals that they are to travel to Los Angeles and visit the original Muppets theatre, where all the magic used to happen. However, it does not turn out to be the dream world Walter had envisioned. The theatre has been long shut down and the legendary tours are a major disappointment. So when Walter discovers that oil magnate Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) is to tear down the theatre and drill the land on which it stands, he finds himself in a race against time to reunite the Muppets and save the day. Of course, it won't be easy. Tex Richman will do whatever it takes to stop the Muppets from succeeding, and all the while Walter and Gary must come to terms with the idea that they cannot always be together as they used to be.
Right from the get-go, this film is all-out, unapologetically cute. With its upbeat opening credits, sweet nature and fast-paced wit, it's a whirlwind of delight that is so easy to become swept up in. With barely a blink of an eye, we have the first musical number, which leads us from Gary and Walter brushing their teeth in the bathroom right through to a song and dance session in the streets of Songtown, the imaginary world in which our protagonists live. Soon after, we are introduced to Gary's girlfriend, Mary (played by the wonderful, sumptuous Amy Adams), and this is where the film really starts to set out its stall. Mary takes issue with the amount of time Gary spends with Walter. She feels so strongly about this, she soon leads into a song around the issue that ends up being so funny I'm pretty sure my laughter was worrying the little girl sat next to me in the cinema. (It's okay, her dad was there and didn't seem to mind to much.) With too many cameos to list, although I will say that Neil Patrick Harris gets a great line, there's plenty for everyone young and old to enjoy.
The Muppets is a small way off from being flawless, though. The middle-section of the film takes a dip, which seems to last for a while. It's mostly while the Muppets are renovating the theatre where the script seems to be struggling for decent gags and feel-good moments, but this deviation from joyousness doesn't last and before long it gets right back on track. While most of the cast deliver little other than charm and pure watch-ability, particular Segel and Adams (about whom I can't speak highly enough - I think I'm a little bit of a lot in love with her), some of the performances are a little self-conscious. Whether the problem lies with the script or with the fact they may not have adjusted very well to communicating with puppets I couldn't quite decide, but there were moments where this completely removed me from the illusion. Not all of the jokes are fantastic, either. I suppose it's difficult when you're trying to pack a movie with gag after gag after gag, but sometimes it does fall flat on its face.
All being said, there's no reason for any of these flaws to spoil what really is a fantastically upbeat experience. To not be swept up by the pure, unadulterated joy of it is, in my opinion, to be quite a cynical soul indeed. It's glorious to behold at times and all builds up to quite the face-ache of a finale. I was smiling from ear to ear, almost literally, to the point where I can still feel the strain on my jaws as I write this. With all that's going on in the world today, I suppose the movie-going experience boils down to little more than a distraction. But when the distraction is this much fun, I'll take it over the ten o'clock news any day. Go with friends, take your children - heck, go on your own if you have to - it really doesn't matter. With so much to give and very little wrong with it, the rest of 2012 is going to be hard pushed to deliver a film that has the potential to lift an audiences spirits this high. It really is time to start the music...
It's been a while since we've really heard much from The Muppets. Kermit and Piggy occasionally turn up on other shows, bringing a little bit of nostalgia to us old enough to remember their hey day. Here the entire gang are fully re-united for the first time in over a decade, as they are brought back together to save their beloved studios.
Lifelong fan, and fellow muppet, Walter is taken on the trip of a lifetime to LA with his "brother" Gary and his fiance Mary. The purpose of his trip is to visit the long vacated Muppet studios, now playing host to a few fan stragglers, as the world seems to have lost interest in them. When Walter overhears the wicked plans of oil magnate Tex Richman to bulldose the studios, he sets about finding Kermit The Frog and the rest of the muppets. As Kermit tries to re-unite the old gang, he is reluctant to approach Miss Piggy, but the rest of the gang insist they can only do it if she is part of it. So they go in search of Miss Piggy. However, their biggest challenge to raise money to save the studios is persuading tv execs to air their new special.
The Muppets starts out well, bringing back to life all those old characters that us 30-something's grew up on. However, it quickly runs out of steam. The early material, and the singalongs are good old fun in a cheesey nostalgic way, but it becomes one song and one clever joke too much about 30 minutes in. The highlight of the Muppets has always been the diva-ish ways of Miss Piggy and the on/off relationship between her and "Kermie". She gets too little screen-time, and a large portion of the film is left hanging on the shoulders of the dreary relationship problems between the humans, and the longing to belong of new Muppet Walter.
Jason Segel and Amy Adams provide the human element to this film, and they are just too wishy washy. Both are getting a little old to be able to pull off the cutesy "Pleasantville" type of characters that they are required to play here. Segel may still have the personality of a man-child, but his face is starting to defy that, and Adams can only do cutesy so many times without us looking for the sick-bag. Their songs also overstep the mark as well, alienating potential adult viewers who may have enjoyed this as a trip down memory lane. The only audience it really appeals to then are the kids, most of whom wont get the history that is required to introduce the story.
The injokes come thick and fast. It does manage to amuse on a certain unexpected level. The travel by map sequence, and the "maniacal laugh" joke are both genuinely funny, and call upon the knowingness of all age groups. However, in other sequences, the jokes may alienate the viewers who this film would most appeal to. The film is directed by James Bobin, who has also directed some of Ali G's material, but has only really turned his hand to advertising campaigns so far. It's no surprise then the direction feels slightly flat, and even the big finale feels a little humdrum.
I found myself willing this film to its end before it was even halfway through. The dreariness of the human characters, the lack of screen time for the most famous of the Muppet characters, and the lack of development for a potentially interesting baddie make it very pedestrian viewing, and viewing that neither brings many new fans to the Muppets nor rekindles its spark with the old fans. The message of the film is that perhaps The Muppets don't belong in the modern world, with younger viewers looking for more sophisticated viewing, and that message is only brought further home after viewing this very lacklustre reunion.
It's been a long time since the Muppets last appeared on screen (big or small) and so releasing a film now was something of a risk. In an age of high concept action movies, edgy-knowing cartoons and computer generated animations, can a bunch of cloth puppets really still cut it?
I confess I went into this film with fear and trepidation, worried that yet another fond childhood memory was about to be stomped on. Thankfully, the franchise has been resurrected by a genuine fan and so what evolves is a funny, feel-good film that uses the Muppets property well, and is not just a cynical marketing ploy to make money from toy sales.
The plot reflects the sad reality of The Muppets' history. They have all split up and gone their separate ways - the heyday of their show long behind them. The famous old Muppet Theatre is scheduled to be bought and demolished by evil oil baron Tex Richmann unless they can come up with $10 million in just one week. Kermit and friends respond in the only way they know how... by putting on a show.
OK, so the basic plot is cornier than something that comes on a cob and contains nothing original. The idea of putting on a show to raise money has been done dozens of times before and smacks of old Cliff Richard movies of the 50s (shudder). Yet, as you might expect, the plot is really just there to give the film a bit of structure, to act as a platform to allow the Muppets' anarchic style of comedy. What follows is a fine, old-fashioned Muppets outing, packed with lots of laughs and some surprisingly decent toe-tapping song and dance routines.
The script treads a fine line between cheesiness and good old-fashioned fun, although there are a couple of occasions when it slightly oversteps the mark. It's obvious that writer/actor Jason Segel is a huge Muppets fan and he perfectly captures the anarchic spirit of The Muppets in a script which is both an homage to the earlier shows and a reimagining of the creatures for a new, savvier age.
The comedy is the same as ever and that's no bad thing. In an age when every "comedy" seems to rely on bodily functions for laughs, it's great to see the clock turned back to a more innocent time. The edgiest gag in The Muppets (and a brilliantly timed one at that) sees Fozzy Bear create a pair of "fart shoes" by strapping a couple of whoopee cushions to his feet. It might not sound terribly funny but trust me: seen in context, it is.
The humour also has a lot of variety to it: visual gags, bad puns and wordplay, daft ideas, bickering and poking fun at anything and everything. Some of the best Muppet humour came when it broke the fourth wall, reminding you that you were just watching a TV show. The new movie carries on that tradition leading to some of the film's finest moments ("travelling by map" and the "getting the gang back together by montage" to save time are particularly inspired).
OK, so The Muppets is perhaps not quite as good as in its heyday, but the key thing is it's good enough. It might not make you roll around the floor with aching sides, but it will make you laugh, smile and chortle at the crazy antics, and it will make you do so regularly. This is a film which is still making you laugh as much in the closing sequence as it was in the opening ones. Once it gets over the slightly slow start (i.e. once the Muppets actually appear), it's a film will delight young and old alike.
It's true that the human cast can get a bit lost, particularly the sickeningly perky (but well-cast) Amy Adams as Mary. Writer-star Jason Segel makes a likeably dopy lead, whilst Chris Cooper is clearly having fun hamming it up as bad guy Tex Richmann, even though he's saddled with a spectacularly unfunny running joke ("maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh") which bombs every time.
Elsewhere there are probably a few too many cameos (many of which I didn't recognise) and the star names that do appear can't compete with the old shows, which were able to attract big names like Bob Hope, Sylvester Stallone and The Queen (OK, I may have dreamt that last one).
But who cares? The real stars of the show are The Muppets themselves and they prove to be just as daft, endearing, funny and loveable as ever. Full of life and character, it's them that give the film its heart, soul and sense of fun. In this age of super-polished CGI effects, it's credit to the puppeteers and voice artists that they can make a collection of felt, fur and ping pong balls so damn loveable.
Of course, with so many Muppets and relatively little time, some do get squeezed and the plot inevitably concentrates on some of the best known faces. New Muppet Walter is a bit of a nothing character, created mainly as a focal point for the narrative. However, if your favourite Muppets are the likes of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy or Gonzo then you'll lap this up. Elsewhere there are fun supporting turns from second tier Muppets like Animal, The Swedish Chef and Bunsen and Beaker (the latter used particularly brilliantly) that will keep most fans happy. Even where Muppets don't get much of a look in, it's still fun to spot them in group shots and see how many you can name.
If you're going to be ultra-picky, you could complain that the voices don't always sound right. None of the original voice actors return (no Frank Oz, for example) but for the most part they do a good job of imitating the famous voices. Where there are differences, they don't grate on the ear too much or ruin the character.
Given the rather slender concept and deeply predictable story arc, The Muppets is a little too long at 103 minutes (110 minutes if the pointless and deeply unfunny Toy Story short is shown before it) and it runs out of steam towards the end. Certainly if you take your little moppet to see The Muppets they are likely to be wriggling in their seat long before the inevitable song and dance conclusion.
It's not perfect and it's a long way from being the best ever Muppet movie, but this revamp is strong enough to give a real blast of nostalgia for those old enough to remember the original series, whilst opening up the possibility of giving the furry ones a whole new generation of fans. You'll come out of the cinema with a great big smile on your face and feel like dancing your way back to your car. And there's not many films could get me to admit to that.
Director: James Bobin
Running time: Approx. 103 minutes (110 with Pixar short)
© Copyright SWSt 2012
Film Only Review:
It's rare I think as an adult to actually actively want to go and see a kids' movie, rarer still perhaps to come out of the auditorium having thoroughly and unashamedly enjoyed the film and knowing that your own children did too. The Muppets, is a film that managed all of the above in bundles and for anyone who knows and loves the characters from the past (their last film was unbelievably a whole 12 years ago), it's a fitting continuation of the series, and the younger viewers amongst us may well find themselves instantly charmed by the loveable puppets as well.
The film stars Jason Segel, who also co-wrote the film, as Gary, the sweetheart of the wholesome looking Mary (Amy Adams) and biological brother of Walter, who just happens to be, for reasons not explored in the film, a muppet himself. The two have grown up in "Small Town" and Walter has always been the Muppets' biggest fan. When Gary plans a trip to Tinsel Town and to go and visit the Muppet Theatre, the scene is set for a musical romp as Gary, Mary and Walter join forces with Kermit to reunite the Muppets and save the theatre from the dastardly Tex Richman. Will the crew be able to resurrect the dilapidated Muppet Theatre from the ashes, find all the team and battle their way out of oblivion to raise enough money? To find out - though in all honesty the end result is never really in doubt - you will have to watch the film.
From the start it's very clear that this isn't a film that is going to take itself seriously, as anyone familiar with the series would fully expect. Moments when the human characters burst into song and carry on with a "I was just doing the dance number" or exclaim " this is going to be a really short movie" set the tone. The humour, though not always on target and quite often over the head of the 8 and 5 year old I watched the film with, comes thick and fast. As the characters travel to Paris they go "by map" and after a cut scene showing a car travelling on a map emerge from the sea in the South of France; it's all tongue in cheek but full of heart at the same time and though the film does undoubtedly play on 1980's nostalgia, as a stand alone film for my money it works on pretty well every level.
All of the old favourite characters feature, from Miss Piggy, now editing Vogue in Paris, through to Gonzo who has become a rather successful businessman, and Kermit who is living alone in his mansion amongst the portraits of his former theatre troop. It was a real pleasure to see some of the minor characters that I remember from watching the TV show from my youth - who knew singing chickens could still be quite so funny - and the Swedish chef, Beaker and Scooter were as fab as they ever were. As the film unfolded it was great to see the theatre just as it always was with the Muppets struggling to find a guest presenter (in this case they coerce Jack Black into appearing) and the opening number being as magical as I remember, with not a CGI animated animal in sight, refreshingly there are not any huge special effects used just like in the original bar an explosion at one point in the film which leads to Fozzie exclaiming "Wow, that was such an expensive looking explosion! I can't believe we had that in the budget!".
That's not to say there weren't some points where the film dragged more or didn't quite hit the spot - I didn't like Mary's "Me Party" solo, but in the main the songs were great, "Man or Muppet" recently got an Oscar for the best song and was a joy to watch. The ear-worm "mah na mah na" from the show was in the film, though you will find you have to wait to see it and then spend weeks hearing your children singing it and trying to get it out of your head. The Muppet Show also featured cameo appearances, and I may be getting old but some of the stars featured here were just not that recognisable to me - bar Whoopi Goldberg I recognised but didn't really know as such James Carvile, Leslie Feist, Selena Gomez,Neil Patrick Harris, Judd Hirsch,John Krasinski and Rico Rodriguez. There were times too when the plot seemed a little unnecessarily convoluted - at one point the muppets themselves suggest speeding it up by a "montage", and you had to wonder why the tycoon Gonzo didn't just stump up the money and save the day, but in the main the film is well paced, with the right balance of human and muppet spotlight and the director (James Bobbin) delivers a confident, funny and endearing film. Segel, as Gary didn't over-dominate, Amy Adams as his sweet fiancee was perfect and a refreshing change from stick-thin heroines. All in all I think the film managed to bring the Muppets back in a convincing and fitting way without being too cheesy or nostalgic.
I'll admit that I really enjoyed this film, I came out of it observing to my husband "I think I enjoyed that more than I should have done", it left a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Disney have announced that there will be a sequel, I can only hope that it will be as good as this as I'm pretty sure will be first in the queue. Highly recommended.
Mahna mahna (doo doo doo doo doo)
***FILM ONLY REVIEW***
During half-term, I took advantage of the Orange Wednesday 2 for 1 cinema tickets and went to see 'The Muppets' with my two children.
The film begins by introducing us to Gary and Walter, a mismatched pair of brothers, growing up in Smalltown - or rather Gary (as a human) is growing up but Walter (being a puppet) stays the same size. Obviously this poses problems for Walter in the mostly human Smalltown and his discovery of the Muppet show on tv becomes his comfort and obsession.
The real action of the film begins when we rejoin Gary (now played by Jason Segel) & Walter as adults. Not much has changed, although the Muppet Show has been cancelled and Walter just watches DVDs of it, and both are stuck in a rut. When Gary's anniversary with his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) means they arrange a trip away to Los Angeles, it seems natural (to Gary) that Walter should tag along. Gary is pulled in two directions between Mary's desire for romantic couple-time and Walter's Muppet-based itinerary, but the romance takes a back seat when their first stop in LA is a tour of the Muppet Theatre.
This exciting prospect turns into disappointment when they find the theatre almost in ruins and the tour lackadaisical. Walter wanders off and finds himself eavesdropping on a conversation between the baddie Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) and his hench-muppets. Tex wants to knock down the theatre and dig for oil! Obviously this nefarious plot must be thwarted, and Walter, Gary & Mary go to find the only frog who could save the theatre...
Convincing Kermit into action is one thing, but can they get the whole cast back together to do a telethon? Can they find a star guest? Are Walter & Gary men or muppets? And what of Miss Piggy?
I quite enjoyed this film. It had a lot of nostalgia value for me, with the old characters I loved being brought back. I'm not fussed on Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo, but Animal, the Swedish Chef, Waldorf & Statler and Beaker?!
As you'd expect with a Muppet movie, there are plenty of musical numbers. I think the most memorable is the song "Man or muppet"*, which features Segel and his muppet counterpart, and Walter and a human doppelganger (Jim Parsons). My daughter was pleased by this cameo by Parsons since he plays Sheldon in 'The Big Bang Theory', one of her favourite comedy shows.
There are a number of other cameos - some people I realised I was supposed to recognise, but didn't (either because they are better known to US audiences or because I'm old). Others I did appreciate, including Dave Grohl as Animal impersonator, Animool.
I find Segel smug and resistible as a rule, and continued to find him so in this, but not enough to spoil the film. I wasn't impressed by his dancing, although he did give it a go, but he seemed to have the very easy steps while the backing dancers knocked themselves out. Amy Adams was well-suited to the wholesome girlfriend role assigned, although I felt she was dating down! Chris Cooper's bad guy was properly fiendish, with an inability to laugh and a nice line in unexpected rapping. And Jack Black got the chance to throw his considerable weight around. I can't say the acting generally overwhelmed me with its brilliance, but then it was all interacting with muppets, and rather stylised. The Muppets themselves were definitely the stars.
The story had some large holes in it, as you had to wonder, why Kermit didn't sell his mansion or Gonzo his successful plumbing business to purchase the theatre - but we'll just gloss over that...
Overall, the film had some funny moments and great nostalgia value for me, really reminding me of the original tv series I watched as a child. Most of the songs were catchy and enjoyable.
The children were kept hooked throughout - no "when is it going to finish?" questions - and that's really what counts. I would recommend it to any family to watch, (particularly where the parents remember the Muppets fondly, as it'll make it that much easier to stomach).
The Boy (7) says "It was great and funny. I liked Fozzie's fart-shoes".
The Girl (12) says "I liked Sheldon being in it and Miss Piggy going hiii-yaaa."
The DVD and Blu-Ray release of 'The Muppets' in the UK is still to be announced, as of 01/03/2012.
* Edited to add. I realise belatedly 'Man or Muppet' won an Oscar for the best song, so there you go.