Sean K. Cureton

A Muppets Revival

In Movie Reviews: 2011 on November 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Theatrical Poster


The Muppets
3 ½ out of 4 stars
Directed by James Bobin

In an attempt to revitalize Jim Henson’s Muppet franchise, screenwriters Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller were given quite a challenging task. The last Muppets movie, the 1999 release of Muppets in Space, was fun in its own right, but was also not something that anyone really remembers very well, or would want to view again upon reflection. More importantly, with such a long absence of any major Muppet film or television appearance, one might wonder whether anyone really cares about the Muppets anymore, or if the Muppets are even entertaining in the 21st century.

That being said, the 2011 feature film release of The Muppets is a very successful revival of the Muppet franchise. Depending on the monetary success of the film’s release, it would not be at all surprising if more Muppet films will be on the way.

A large part of what makes The Muppets so great is the care and attention that the writers, Segel and Stoller, obviously paid to make sure that their film would be both worthy of the Jim Henson franchise as well as being faithful to the franchise’s characters. Segel, who wrote and starred in 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which Stoller directed, was obviously the perfect choice to write the new Muppet movie, since he is a self-avowed super fan of the Muppets himself. It also doesn’t hurt that director James Bobin had a hand in the film’s creation, as his work on the television show Flight of the Conchords has a sense of humor that seems to lend itself very well to the Muppets style of comedy.

Centering on the lives of two brothers, one of whom is played by Segel, while the other is played by a brand new Muppet named Walter, voiced and manipulated by puppeteer Peter Linz, The Muppets is about how these two brothers grow apart when Walter begins to realize that he is a Muppet and not a human being. Much of the movie has to do with Gary, Segel’s character, and Walter going to California to visit the Muppets studio. Upon finding the studio in disrepair, and about to be sold to oil tycoon Tex Richman, played to a very comedic level by actor Chris Cooper, Gary and Walter decide to round up the old Muppet gang to put on a show to raise the money to save the old studio.

The way in which the movie is able to round up the old Muppet gang is fun and ultimately heart warming, since while the viewer has definitely changed over the years since he has last seen the Muppets on the big screen, Kermit, Fozzie Bear, and the rest of the gang have not changed at all, and instead of getting more cynical like their viewers, they have gotten more genuine and honest, which is something that is very refreshing to see in an age where shows like Jersey Shore abound.

The Muppets also boasts some really great musical numbers, ranging from the barber shop quartet rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, to the Bret McKenzie (one half of Flight of the Conchords) penned Man or Muppet sung expertly by Jason Segel, as well as old classics like Rainbow Connection.

All in all, The Muppets is one of the funniest and most genuine family themed movies to come out this year. Instead of going to see something like the new Twilight movie, or watching reruns of Entourage, or worse yet Jersey Shore, go see The Muppets. You won’t be disappointed.

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