Fighting Time Lords hoodies are at Sharksplode right now! Wibbly Wobbly Hoodie Warmy!
Speaking of Randy, he, I, David Willis, Danielle Corsetto, Jeph Jaques, Rob Denbleyker and MORE will be at the Dragon’s Lair Webcomic Rampage panel/signing event on December 10th and 11th. It is always a good time. Austin Fancy Bastard should NOT miss it.
While I must admit that I viewed it through rainbow connection colored glasses, having grown up with The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, Muppet Babies, and basically everything The Henson company put out in the 70’s, 80’s or early 90’s, The Muppets is essentially a perfect movie. When it is funny, it is REALLY funny. The first act as a good LOL at least every 2-3 minutes. Act 2 slows down a bit as we get to the emotional stuff (more of that later ) and act 3 finishes hilariously strong. When I wasn’t laughing, I just had a perma-grin from ear to nostril to nostril to ear. And it wasn’t just that it was funny. It was THE WAY it was funny. There was something genuine about the comedy. Like people of all ages and walks of life would laugh at these jokes because they were just plainly, humanly funny. The comedy was so relatable because it didn’t depend on current trends, or specific references (like HE does ((though HE is for a VERY specific audience)) ). It was universal and timeless.
When things got serious or emotional, it was hard to choke back the tears. When Kermit wonders if anyone really cares about The Muppets any more, you hear the humans behind (or beneath) The Muppets wondering the same thing. When Kermit and Piggy talk about their relationship it doesn’t even seem like a movie (much less one about felt frogs and foam pigs), but rather a real couple trying to figure out if they still need each other.
Jason Siegel and Amy Adams both do a superb job of anchoring the story to reality without getting in the way of the real stars. The humans in the story seem to live in a sort of absurdist reality that straddles the line between Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. It is a world that allows for Muppets to be real people and for song and dance numbers to break out at any time. Speaking of, all of the songs (penned by Flight Of The Conchords’ Bret MacKenzie) are good, and a few of them are great.
The Muppets is a 2 hour thank you to long time Muppet fans and a love letter to Jim Henson and his legacy, while still being accessible to new audiences. If you have kids that aren’t familiar with The Muppets, I would see it once without them to fully enjoy all of the call backs to Muppet history, then again with the whole family. Then see it again, just because it’s great.
Muppet nerd stuff:
- The guy that took over Piggy and Fozzy from Frank Oz does a SPOT ON Piggy and a 90% perfect Fozzy. It was a little eerie.
- This is the first post-Jim Henson Muppet production where I thought Steve Whitmire’s Kermit REALLY sounded like Kermit. His voice was soft, shaky, unconfident and revealed a character who’s had a couple of decades to reflect on his glory days.
- They digitally removed all the arm rods! I could not stop looking for them.
I hear Frank Oz thinks they didn’t stay true to the characters. I also hear Frank Oz is a bit of a curmudgeonly dick these days. Does he think the later Star Wars movies were true to the characters? Sure Yoda had some lightsaber battles, but basically everything else was horrible. Frank, you passed the porcine gauntlet on 10 years ago. Stop being a cranky old coot and understand that Jim would have loved this movie and been proud of everyone that made it.
Side Note: There was a time in my childhood where all I wanted in the world was to be a Muppeteer. I practiced puppetry for hours at a time, I studied the techniques for performance that Henson had pioneered, I read books about his history and his work… I was obsessed. I saw in The Muppets the as ultimate escape. They were imagination personified in foam and fabric. I still consider Jim Henson to be one of my largest early influences and doubt I would be drawing silly internet cartoons for a living if not for the characters he created.
COMMENTERS: Did you see The Muppets? What did you think? Were you a fan as a kid? Any particular bits of Muppet history that stick out to this day? Pigs In Space? Veterinarian’s Hospital? Nanny’s crazy-ass socks?