Dir. James Bobin, USA, 2011, 110 mins
Review by Michelle Moore
It’s official. The gang is back together! The Muppet Show began back in 1976 and, over 30 years later, the characters are still going strong. This return to the big screen will see people from the ages of seven to seventy rejoicing at the prospect of watching a green singing frog, a diva pig, a funny bear and other bizarre characters.
This latest Muppets movie started with Jason Segel. Like many of us, Segel grew up watching these adorable characters on the small screen. He wanted to see his childhood favourites back on the big screen, and the movie follows a similar theme. New muppet character Walter (Peter Linz) is a sweet, naïve soul who just wants to belong. When he finally connects, it’s with the muppets, the only people he has seen who are like him. He tags along with his brother Gary (Segel) and Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Adams) to Hollywood. On a visit to the Muppets studios he overhears a plan to drill for the oil beneath the studios by oilman Tex Richman (Cooper). After a conversation with Kermit the Frog, the rest of the muppets, who have all gone their separate ways, are located and a telethon is held to raise $10 million to save the studio.
The plot that unravels is full of laughs and not just from Fozzie’s jokes and fart shoes. Comic highlights range from kidnapping a celebrity to host the telethon, to mapping journeys and several nods about the fact that this is itself a film, as well as numerous other “waka waka” moments. Some of these come from the abundance of cameos from artists such as David Grohl and Zach Galifianakis as well as Emily Blunt, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Ken Jeong and Jim Parsons to name but a few familiar faces.
The musical side of things could have been more impressive and a little livelier, but it never fails to bring out audience emotions. Songs which stand out are Kermit singing about getting everyone back together as paintings come alive and Walter and Gary singing ‘Man or Muppet’, (which has received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song), There are also plenty of full on choreographed dance numbers.
Seeing your favourite childhood characters return to the big screen and dazzle the audience the way they did so many years ago makes you smile the whole way through. The Muppets is an opportunity for old fans of the show to see the return of characters they adored as children and for new fans to see the muppets in all their glory.
Now that we have seen a comeback from The Muppets, bring on a Fraggle Rock movie!