Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Muppets: A review.

Yesterday I saw the new film The Muppets.
I'll spare you the plot points and synopsis of the movie, that info is everywhere. I also won't go into what a huge Henson/Muppet fan I am and what an influence they are to me. If you want to know, just click the Muppets tab on the right-hand column.

What I will discuss is the film, and I'll try not to give any spoilers away. I think writing for the Muppets is an incredible challenge. It comes down to the tone. The Muppets are sweet and nostalgic, yet chaotic and sometimes edgy. They are quiet and reflective, yet have explosive anarchy. There's so much warmth, heart and humor. A fine line needs to be walked. The Muppets are FAMILY entertainment, they are not meant strictly for children, nor are they geared only toward adults.

It's obvious to me, for one of the few times in 20 years, that the Muppets are in capable hands. The movie is a delight. I sat there with a smile on my face nearly the entire time. I even have a few goosebump moments and an occasional tear (dusty theater I'm sure).

This movie was a love letter to the fans. There were so many references and inside jokes and fun little details packed into the corners and backgrounds of nearly every scene. What surprised me, were the numerous call-outs to Jim Henson himself. In several flashback scenes, they even used his voice and performance.

I was also pleased that CGI was used as little as possible. The movie celebrated the art of puppetry, as well it should. There were even a few "how-did-they-do-that, moments, a hallmark of any good Muppet movie. 

Was the movie perfect? Well, no. The film was trying to accomplish so much in such a short running time resulting in some confusing, chaotic editing. Judging by the footage from the trailers and clues in the soundtrack, there's a wealth of footage on the cutting room floor. I would love to see a director's cut, or the deleted scenes when the movie comes to DVD/Blu Ray.

Regardless of its flaws, the Muppets are back and not a moment too soon. We live in a cynical and sarcastic time. The Muppets remind us that it's okay to be silly, sweet and goofy. We need their trademark gee-whiz optimism in our lives. 

I'm not sure that this review gave the movie justice. I have more that I'd like to say, but I want to give you a few days to actually see it for yourselves before I go into more detail, so look for some additional thoughts of the movie coming soon.

I should mention, give yourself extra time to get to the movie before it starts because there's a new Toy Story short before the movie, and it's terrific.

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