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The Muppets (DVD)
Member Name: azana
The Muppets (DVD)
Date: 05/03/12, updated on 05/03/12 (80 review reads)
Advantages: fun film
Disadvantages: cameos not so recognisable to UK audience
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)
Summary: I'll admit it I loved this film