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The Muppets Movie Review - -

The Muppets

    Reviewed by Sophie Whin on January 10th, 2012
    Walt Disney Pictures
presents a film directed by James Bobin
    Screenplay by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller
Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones and         The Muppets
    Running Time:
103 mins
    Rating: G
    Released:  January 12th, 2011




Every now and then a film comes along that not only surprises the audience with its brilliant comedic structure but also surprises the critics with its self-aware knowledge of pop culture and its attention to detail, especially concerning throwbacks to the original Muppets films. James Bobin’s directorial debut is a highly successful revamp of the Muppets franchise, which appeals to all audiences and exposes Kermit and company to an entirely new generation.

Walter and his brother Gary (Jason Segel) couldn’t look more different. Walter is a Muppet whilst Gary gradually towers over him as they grow up in the nondescript community of Smalltown. The one thing they do have in common is their almost fanatical obsession with The Muppet Show, with Walter especially feeling like the production speaks to him on a uniquely personal level. When Gary takes his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to Los Angeles for their 10th anniversary, they take Walter along so he can finally visit the Muppet studio and meet his hero Kermit the Frog. When the trio arrive at the run down back-lot they discover that not only are the Muppets no longer a household name but also that an evil oil tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) plans to take over the derelict studio and destroy it in search of oil reserves. Believing that the property can still be saved, Walter, Gary and Mary go on a wild adventure to reunite the Muppet gang so they can put on one last charity show in the hope of raising enough funds to save the studio.

Let's talk script. Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller do a superb job of bringing out the laughs for both adults and children alike. The new generation of tweens will be bombarded by a comedy institution, whilst the oldies have the chance to reminisce about the classic Muppet formula of crazy hijinks mixed with song and puppetry. Jason Segel should be especially applauded for his behind the scene campaigning to bring The Muppets back to the silver screen as well as his starring role as the loveable Gary. The human characters portrayed by Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and Rashida Jones are all perfectly cast, with Chris Cooper doing as surprisingly hilarious rap rendition with sing-a-long words to boot. The multitude of cameos and references to modern pop culture fit seamlessly with the plot, with the cameos designed as blink-and-miss takes, which adds to the humour and doesn’t take away from the stars. Jack Black has a notable cameo as himself and his scene involving an anger management retreat is gold. The stellar performances derive entirely from the Muppets themselves, with old favourites Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Animal and Rowlf displaying the same witty ingenuity that has made them so celebrated. Animal’s side story involving the drums is definitely one of the true highlights of Bobin’s piece. Perhaps the only drawback of the film is its simplistic storytelling and the actual character of Walter himself. Yes this is a kid’s movie but give the masses a little credit: if they can follow Disney and Pixar they can follow anything. Walter is unfortunately the most boring character and his development throughout the film is predictable and long-winded. The audience came to see the Muppets so show them the damn Muppets, not some two-dimensional new character.

It should be noted as well that very little CGI was used in the making of this film and the director made the genius move not to create it in 3D. Too many present films targeting younger audiences overuse 3D (I’m looking at you Smurfs) in order to compensate for weak storylines and cardboard characters. The Muppets does none of this, which allows for a truly old school cinematic experience. On the whole The Muppets will definitely haul in the school holiday takings and deserves every positive anecdote it inspires. The combination of human characters versus the Muppets is fantastic and needless to say after this film anyone hating on the Muppets will have an army of fans ready to knock some sense into them.


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