Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The Muppets is seeing the person you loved with all your heart doing the exact thing that made you fall in love with them in the first place.
Jason Segal managed to tap into the core insight of his generation. One that said, "I love the Muppets and I wish they would do something good." As the film rolls out that generation smiles in the realization that their dreams have come true precisely the way they dreamed.
It doesn't matter that the Muppets weren't actually forgotten. Their viral videos have hits in the millions and NBC aired a new Christmas special in 2009. Because the message of this film isn't, "the Muppets haven't done anything in a long time". It's "the Muppets haven't been BIG in a long time". And this movie corrects that injustice.
It also doesn't matter that the plot basically recycles the one in 2002's A Very Muppet Christmas. Or that Walter, the new Muppet is slightly bland. This movie is about the small moments, the characters and the tone. And the tone is spot on. It's hilarious, touching, poignant, manic, everything that made "The Muppet Show" one of the greatest series ever.
It's not the same as "The Muppet Show". It never will be now that the main creators, not just Henson but Frank Oz, Richard Hunt and to a lesser extent Jerry Nelson, have all moved on. But it can still be every good. Take a look at Cartoon Network's new "Looney Tunes" series. They'll never capture the magic of that era again, but they can do something modern, sharp and true to the characters. In short, something worth watching.
The movie's already done very well, coming in only behind the new Twilight. This puts the franchise back in Disney's focus, one distracted by PIXAR and Marvel. But I don't know what they'll do with it. This movie is all about bringing the Muppets back but doesn't give us any clue what to do with them next. At the very least Disney should finally release the long delayed season 4 and 5 dvds and the original Muppet films on Blu-Ray.
Whatever they do, I want more 80's Robot.