The Muppets (2011)



Why are there so many songs about rainbows? More importantly, why is it that sentence can always make me tear up?

On May 20, 2011 a trailer dropped for a movie billed as “Green With Envy”. It seemed like every hacky romantic comedy that I have seen so many times. I was moderately angry that Chris Hardwick had even tweeted about it. The moment the cast cards came up and I heard “Kermit the… Frog?” I started bouncing in my seat.

I had loved the Muppet Studios videos that they had been posting up on YouTube. Especially watching my friend’s little girl see Animal for the first time. The Muppets were such an integral part of my childhood, it didn’t click that there were kids that might not know about it.

That is actually talked about in the movie. The story is not from Kermit’s point of view. The story comes from the perspective of Walter, a Smalltown Muppet who never felt like he belonged unless he was watching the Muppet Show. His brother Gary (Jason Segel) surprises him with a ticket to go to Los Angeles with Gary and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to check out Muppet Studios.

During his visit, he learns of a nefarious plot by greedy oil tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to destroy the old studio. With the help of Gary, Mary, and Walter, The Muppets must reunite to save their old theater with a benefit concert.

When they say “star-studded”, they aren’t kidding. Besides the leads, there is an outpouring of recognizable talent that pops in at the funniest of times. Alan Arkin, Rashida Jones, Bill Cobbs, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Jim Parsons, Eddie Pepitone, Kristen Schaal, Sarah Silverman, Donald Glover, Emily Blunt, James Carville, Feist, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Dave Grohl, Neil Patrick Harris, Judd Hirsh, John Krasinski, Rico Rodriguez, Mickey Rooney, and Jack Black pack into a film that I’m guessing EVERYONE wanted in on.

I completely enjoyed this movie and am not ashamed to admit that I shed a few happy tears to see the characters I love so much from my childhood on the big screen again. The new songs were so very Muppet. They were both catchy and endearing and I find myself itching to learn “Life’s a Happy Song” on my ukulele. “Pictures in my Head” had me bawling in the theater. I kind of want to hug Christophe Beck (who had done a few scores for Buffy and Angel in addition to the Hangover), Bret McKenzie (from Flight of the Conchords) and everyone in the music department.

One thing I do suggest is that you see the movie before you spend time with the Soundtrack. There are a lot of things that would be less of a surprise if you were to listen to the recordings before seeing how well the visual gags hit. I am also very happy that not a lot of new chart topping songs were thrown into the mix. It jumped back to the timelessness of it all.

I had heard that during a Q&A in one of the various convention panels, a fan asked “What can we do to get the Muppets back on TV” and the cheeky reply was “Go see the movie three times!” If that is the case, I have almost done my part. I actually have plans to see it two more times while it’s still in the theater.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be in the Muppets. Walter and I are similar, except he’s already got the felt thing going for him.