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The Muppets (DVD)
Member Name: Mephit
The Muppets (DVD)
Date: 01/03/12, updated on 01/03/12 (52 review reads)
Advantages: nostalgia value, funny and enjoyable for kids, Animal, Ma na ma na
Disadvantages: Jason Segel
***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.
Summary: A fun outing for the Muppets