3 March 2012

The Muppets Review (With Bonus Small Fry Mini Review)

Anyone who knows me knows that I love The Muppets, I love the show, I love the characters and I love the films. Hell, The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of my favourite Christmas movies, just beaten to be my favourite by It's A Wonderful Life. So of course I've been really excited for this new film, how does it hold up? Well, I have to say, I loved this film, it was fun, creative and really made use of the fact that this is the first Muppet film to hit the big screen in over a decade.
The story of the film is simple, the Muppet studio is threatened to be shut down and Kermit, with the help of new characters Gary (Jason Segel), Mary (Amy Adams), who by the way give brilliant performances playing their characters straight which really works for this type of film, and new Muppet Walter (a great new character whose character arc to fully become a Muppet I really bought and sympathised with), have to reunite the gang to put on a show to save the theatre. This story is simple but it works as a way to get the characters to interact with each other and that's what I want to see in a Muppet movie, crazy characters interacting off of each other and boy this film doesn't disappoint. Whenever any of the Muppets are on screen together comedy gold is created, this being especially true after Miss Piggy comes into the film. I also loved the places the Muppets ended up after they broke up before the film, especially Sam the Eagle being used to parody Glenn Beck and Fox News and Dr Bunsen and Beaker working at the Large Hadron Collider.

Speaking of the humour, this comedy is this film is incredible. Every single type of joke is thrown at us, from Fourth Wall jokes to Whoopee Cushions on Fozzie's feet. A lot of these jokes work really well and others are so cringeworthy that you can't help but laugh. Then again, that's always been the type of humour that the Muppets has been known for and in that way, this film really embodies the spirit of the Muppets through the humour most of all.

Now there is the matter of the songs in the film and nearly all of them are brilliant. Life's A Happy Song, Pictures In My Head and Man or Muppet are great original songs for the film and Bret McKenzie did a great job with the writing of the songs, providing the right balance between silly and moving with Pictures in my Head and Man or Muppet whilst Life's A Happy Song is just pure fun in a song. It's also great to see that the song that got the Muppets their first Oscar nomination, The Rainbow Connection is included and the covers of Smells Like Teen Spirit from the Muppet Barbershop Quartet and Forget You from Camilla and the Chickens are laugh out loud hilarious. However, there is one song I didn't like, Me Party, I don't know why but I just hate this song and, for me at least, it feels really out of place in the film. Now there is one song I've not mentioned, Lets Talk About Me, but I feel that I need to mention this song in my big criticism of the film coming up shortly.

Finally in the good I have to mention the cameos, whilst I didn't know who some of the people were while watching, for example I had no idea who the two people who came with Whoopi Goldberg were, a lot of them were really funny with there being 4 stand-outs. The first was Emily Blunt who gave a really straight performance as Miss Piggy's secretary, despite the craziness of the Muppet Man, secondly there was Zach Galifianakis who was really funny in a short role as Hobo Joe with him just going really over the top funny, thirdly there's Jim Parsons, best known for playing Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, who seems to have a lot of fun in his brief appearance in Man or Muppet and finally, and the best of all, Jack Black. He really has fun in his role in the film and plays up his character in the film, plus the cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit mixed with Black's pleading that the song stop and he be released is just priceless.

Now I said that I had one major criticism of the film and that is the villain. Don't get me wrong, Chris Cooper is hilarious as Tex Richman and I love the fact that he says "maniacal laugh" instead of having an actual maniacal laugh but it was his motivation that I didn't understand. We know he hates the Muppets but we never find out why in the film, that's where Lets Talk About Me comes in. See I listened to the song on the soundtrack after I saw the film and I found that half of the song had been cut and that half had the character motivation in and this is a major character point. I don't understand why this part of the song was cut except for time constraints because it's clear this is meant to be in the film. I hope that there's an extended version of this film coming out on DVD so that I can see what the film is like with the full song in.

Despite that though, The Muppets is still a great film, really fun, great characters and it reminds you about why The Muppets are so good and why they needed to come back. Highly recommended to people of all ages.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Small Fry Review:

So before The Muppets there was a new Toy Story short, Small Fry, being that this was a short film, I'll give it just a short review. This is a really funny short film, it was great seeing the characters back on the big screen and it was a great reminder of how funny the Toy Story series is and actually fit well with The Muppets due to the nostalgia from this short crossing with the nostalgia from The Muppets.

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