Thursday, December 15, 2011

Theater Review: The Muppets

It's truly hard to believe that the last great Muppet movie was created way back in 1992. And, even that was considered somewhat a flop.

With the death of Jim Henson in 1990, The Muppet Christmas Carol was created and released in 1992 - the first film to not involve Henson at the helm. When it was released, however, it was considered a flop at the box office despite its favorable critical response.

Since then, the Muppets have been a part of a handful of underwhelming films such as Muppets in Space, Muppet Treasure Island and The Muppet Wizard of Oz.

Thankfully, despite being missing from the public's eye for quite awhile now, the Muppets are back and in a big way.

Jason Segel of How I Met Your Mother and Forgetting Sarah Marshall penned a beautiful film that brought the Muppets back to their roots.

Segel stars in The Muppets as Gary, a man from a city called Smalltown (think Pleasantville). Gary is dating Mary (Amy Adams), and they have the perfect relationship - except for Gary's brother, Walter (Peter Linz).

Walter is a bit different than Gary, in fact he looks more Muppet than human. Gary has always felt that he needs to take care of Walter, and so that gets in the way of Gary and Mary's relationship.

Growing up, Walter had always felt different - until they happen across The Muppet Show on television and Walter becomes entranced with them.

Gary and Mary are traveling to LA for a trip on their anniversary - and Gary surprises Walter with a bus ticket of his own. This is exciting to Walter - you see the Muppet Studios are located in LA, but also a wrench in the plans of Mary.

When they arrive in LA, the trio arrive at the Muppet Studios only to find out that it has been pretty much abandoned and is falling apart. Walter sneaks his way into Kermit's old office only to stumble across a meeting between Statler, Waldorf and Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) who are going over the old lease to the Studios. Richman will own the Studios, which apparently has oil buried underneath it, unless the Muppets can buy it back for $10 million.

Problem is the Muppets have disbanded and it's up to Gary, Mary and Walter to get them all back together again to save the Studios.

I have to say, I have always loved the Muppets. The original three movies are amazing and The Muppets Christmas Carol is a staple in our household every Christmas. So, when I heard that Segel was overtaking this I was extremely happy. Disney purchased the rights to the Muppets (but not Sesame Street or Fraggle Rock) in 2004. I was elated then because I assumed that under the Disney banner the Muppets would become something again. But, nothing happened until Segel got his hands on them.

The movie is everything you remember. It has great musical numbers. A ton of great laugh-out-loud moments. And, of course, those touching moments that the Muppets always seem to provide.

It was exciting to share the Muppets with both my parents who introduced them to me - and my wife and son. And, I definitely left the theater with a smile on my face and a new tune stuck in my head.


No comments:

Post a Comment