Review: The Muppets (2011)

The Muppets
Directed by: James Bobin
Starring: Amy Adams, Jason Segel and Chris Cooper.
Genre: Family Comedy
Released: November 23 2011 (US) 10 February 2012 (UK)
by Walt Disney Pictures
Running time: 103 mins (1 hr, 43 mins)
Cert: U (BBFC) G (MPAA)
Rating: ★★★★

IMDb | View Trailer

Walter is a Muppet whose ambition is to visit the Muppet Theatre in Hollywood. One day, he gets the opportunity to go with his brother, Gary and his girlfriends, Mary. However, when they arrive they are saddened by the state that the theatre has got into. When Walter discovers that oil magnate Tex Richman intends to buy the theatre and drill for oil, he, Gary and Mary travel far and wide to reunite the disbanded Muppets. Together again, the Muppets must put on a show and try to keep the theatre.

I’ve loved The Muppets since I was very small. I used to watch The Muppet Show all the time, so when I found out about this movie, my brain exploded. I didn’t care what it would be about, it’s The Freaking Muppets! Also, I’ve been in the mood for a good laugh and nostalgia, and even though this is a family movie I knew that I would enjoy this.

If you’re a die hard Muppet fan like me, the poster will cause what I call a “fangasm”. Pretty much every Muppet is featured on it, along with Amy Adams, Jason Segel and Walter, the new Muppet. I love the amount of colours used on the poster; it makes it really stand out.

I didn’t know much about the human cast, but the huge amount of cameo appearances is outstanding. Name any celebrity and they will probably be making a cameo appearance here. I really like Amy Adams because she is an incredibly versatile actress; I loved her in both The Fighter and Enchanted. I haven’t seen any of Jason Segel’s work though.

Before the movie starts, there is a Toy Story short called Small Fry. It features a Happy Meal style Buzz Lightyear trying to replace the real Buzz. It was pretty funny and I’m glad that the original cast was featured but I didn’t pay much attention ebcause my THXphobia was on high alert. Yes, I am afraid of the THX logo because I am a big baby. It’s a digital nightmare (damn you, George Lucas)! Luckily, it didn’t appear and I was treated to just the lovely Disney logo.

I liked the opening scene/montage/whatever you want to call it that introcudes Walter and how he came to be the biggest Muppets fan in the world. Some of the class photos were quite funny, especially the one where he is being given a funny look by a little girl. As I said, I didn’t really care what this movie would be about, so I was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t start with Kermit or Piggy. It kind of added a bit of a realistic value to the movie since the Muppets are treated like celebrities in real life.

One thing that I really liked in the movie is how musical montages are referenced, especially when they “travel by map”. I love it when movies break the fourth wall and this movie did it pleanty of times. It wasn’t overdone when the fourth wall was broken and it garnered quite a few laughs from the audience (bearing in mind that the entire audience was over 15).

You’ll already know that I love The Muppets, but my favourite Muppet is Rowlf (the dog on my Twitter DP). I love Rowlf because he is a cool character and his sense of humour is icredibly witty:

Rowlf: I thought my storyline was very intriguing.
[cut to Rowlf snoring in a hammock on his porch surrounded by other Muppets]
Kermit the Frog: Hey, Rowlf.
Rowlf: Huh?
Kermit the Frog: You wanna get back together?
Rowlf: Okay.
[cut back to the car]
Rowlf: Classic.

I thought that Walter, the new Muppet, was incredibly likable. Even though he is a grown “man”, he is a bit of a man-child (Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka is a perfect example of a man-child), which I thought to be cute and appealing. I found it was funny how nobody in Smalltown or anywhere realises that Walter is clearly made out of felt and a human hand, rather than flesh and bones, even though he is treated incredibly different from the other residents of Smalltown.

Amy Adams is one of my favourite actresses and I thought that she gave an excellent comedic performance. I love her versatility and here she proved that she is able to act in a movie for any audience. Her musical number were incredibly funny and I enjoyed hearing her sing; she has a very nice voice. She kind of added to the brightness of the movie, as Mary is a very bright and bubbly character. For some reason, her thoughts on Gary and Walter always being together and tagging along on dates kind of reminded me of the situation with Principal Skinner, his mother and Mrs. Krabapple from The Simpsons. I’m not sure why, but I was reminded of that. To me, Mary was the most ‘grown-up’ character in the movie, if that’s the right way of putting it. Even though she wanted to help out, she was able to handle things in a more mature manner.

I love cheerful characters, and Jason Segel’s Gary was the most cheerful of cheerful characters I have seen in quite some time. I love that Gary was an incredibly loyal character, to both Walter and Mary, and even the Muppets. His loyalty is a trait that I really admire and it made Gary a really likeable character. I liked Segel’s musical numbers; he managed to make them funny even when they’re supposed to be serious, like with Man or Muppet.

My opinion of Tex Richman is quite mixed and hard to put into words. For a villain, I found him to be hilarious but some of his scenes were quite awkward. In one scene, he breaks out into a hip-hop song with some showgirls and I thought that it was… odd. When the number was finished, I sat with a reaction of “WTF?” I liked how Uncle Deadly and Bobo were his “henchmen” because they’re not really antagonists to any of the Muppet characters but being henchmen does fit their appearance (and Bobo was originally the security guard on Muppets Tonight). As soon as I heard the name “Tex Richman” I knew that the character would be a villain. His name reminds me of the Rich Texan from The Simpsons (yes, I’m making comparisons again) who buys things without considering the consequences.

I screwed my face a little when the first musical number started. I didn’t expect it at all, but it was quite funny how the numbers were addressed. The numbers were written incredibly well and the lyrics were quite funny, my favourite being,
Life’s a filet of fish, eh!
…yes, it is!

I wasn’t surprised that Man or Muppet won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It’s a really catchy song and the scene that it appears in is incredibly funny; especially when Jim Parsons shows up unannounced as Human Walter. Pretty much everyone in the screen burst into laughter at that point. It was so unexpectedly hilarious.

I think that the songs used in the movie were good choices as they fitted the scenes. I loved that Gary Numan’s song Cars was featured as it is one of my favourite songs of all time, even though it wasn’t featured for too long. I also liked the original score, it was very fitting of both The Muppets and your typical Disney music. Also, one of my favourite scenes involves Sam the Eagle, Rowlf, Link Hogthrob and Beaker performing Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit in a barbershop quartet style while they “shave” Jack Black.

I loved how Mahna Mahna was featured in the credits with every member of the cast featured in it. You can’t have the Muppets without a performance of Mahna Mahna and it was incredibly enjoyable how the song was performed here. Unfortunately, I can’t find a video clip of the credits so you’d have to watch the movie to see it.

Overall, I loved this movie. I’ve never laughed so much in the cinema in my life; I nearly cried with laughter, this movie is so funny. The musical numbers are catchy, the characters are likeable and the plot is very easy to get into. However, I have incredibly mixed opinions on Tex Richman and his inability to laugh maniacally (maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh..). I would recommend this movie to anybody who likes The Muppets or wants to have a good laugh.

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