Yesterday I went to a free advance screening of The Muppets, even though I would have gladly paid for a seat. Hey, maybe I still will once it's on general release. I've always been a fan of The Muppets, and while I've not been a hardcore follower, I have enjoyed pretty much everything they've done, and paired with my love of Sesame Street it adds up to a great love of Jim Henson and his work.
I remember seeing Muppets From Space a long time ago at the cinema with my dad, and I remember it not being that great. Since then there's been a couple of Muppety things put out, but they seemed to have faded a great deal. All praise to Jason Segel though, who pitched this movie to Disney, co-wrote the script, and starred in the result.
The plot involves a man named Walter, born as a Muppet, travelling to L.A. to visit the Muppet theatre with his human brother, Gary (Segel) and Gary's girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams). Upon finding the place deserted and about to be torn down, they track down the Muppet crew and get them to join together again for one last show in order to raise enough money to save the building.
This is the Muppet movie that could give the franchise the reboot it so badly deserves. Segel is obviously a big Muppet fan, this movie is so full of the humour that the Muppets are all about. There are so many meta references, some great one liners and visual gags, and of course, some great songs. Probably the best thing is that it doesn't try and set itself apart as an entirely new movie. There are constant references to the glory days of The Muppet Show, including mentions of guest stars and some of the old songs that the Muppets used to perform together. Near the end of the movie when the show is underway, just seeing the whole gang singing the theme song is like a massive nostalgia trip.
I can't really fault this movie. I loved every minute. Disney have done a lot of good in recent years, first bringing their movies back to hand drawn animation and fairy tales, then creating a great throw back to the classic Winnie The Pooh movie. With The Muppets they have risen in my esteem even more, and I just hope that the success created by this movie will persuade them to make a new Muppet Show, because that would be amazing. Jim Henson was clearly a man ahead of his time, but I think now is the time when The Muppets could work extremely well again.
My rating: 5/5