The Muppets – Review

I’ve been a fan of the Muppets since their TV show aired on UK television in the late 1970s. It shows my age obviously. Having lost interest as I grew up the Muppets were left behind only to be re-introduced to them again through my kids. I got to see the movies which are of varying quality and fun. The best of which, in my opinion, was Muppets from Space. So when the news came out that the Muppets were coming back and seeing all of the fantastic spoof trailers the expectations were high.

The film follows a familiar, some might say recycled, story. The Muppet Theatre is under threat. The gang has all gone their separate ways and an evil oil Barron, Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) is purchasing the theatre to exploit the oil that is underneath it. Brothers Walter, a Muppet, Gary (Jason Segal), and his fiancée Mary (Amy Adams) find out about the evil plan while on a visit to Los Angeles to see the Theatre. It is up to them to seek out Kermit, Fozzie Bear, and the rest of the gang in an effort to raise $10 million to save the theatre. Cue song and dance numbers, jokes, and adventures as the film skips along. This film does exactly what it sets out to do. It is the perfect introduction to the Muppets for the uninitiated and a reminder of how good it was to the long-time fans. The revival was down to Jason Segal insisting that he wanted it as his next film project. The film keeps it tradition of witty knowing scripts. There are lots of references to the fact that they are in fact in a movie. The film is full of star cameos making it even more enjoyable.  I won’t go into any of the jokes from the film as to do so would spoil your enjoyment of it. There are some really good musical numbers within the movie. The music supervisor was Brett McKenzie, one-half of the superb Fight of the Conchords. His trademark song style is all over the film. It was good to see that he won the Oscar for best song with the big ballad number from the film, Muppet or a Man.

This is one of that rare breed of film that appeals to all. I saw this at a packed Sunday afternoon screening with my kids. The whole audience was swept along, even the smallest of children and most cynical adult. Everyone got something out of it with jokes that work at several levels. It certainly kept me smiling. I was still laughing later when I was thinking back on my favorite scenes from the film. The best character for me was Fozzie Bear. A true professional going for the tears of a clown vibe with Fart shoes.

A welcome return and based on the success of the film, not the last we will see of the Muppets. Highly recommended.

John McArthur
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