Published November 22, 2011
A lot of love and respect went into bringing The Muppets back, and it shows in every frame of their new movie. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy and Gonzo have been given center stage once again for a whole new generation.
“The Muppets” uses the long absence of Kermit and friends from TV and movies as its central theme. Jason Segel -- the behind-the-scenes champion of this film-- and his Muppet brother Walter are diehard fans of the original “Muppet Show,” and when a trip to Los Angeles comes about, they insist on stopping by the now-defunct Muppet Studios. There, Walter overhears the villainous land developer Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) threaten to tear down the studio and drill for oil if The Muppets can’t come up with $10 million. Walter and his brother, along with his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) endeavor to bring the Muppets back together to save their legacy.
This new film isn’t quite the equal of classic Muppet movies, but this “Muppets” is still smart and funny, and there’s humor for young and old alike.
Noticeably absent, however, is the iconic Frank Oz, who originally provided the voices for Miss Piggy, Fozzy, Animal and Sam the Eagle. Piggy and Fozzy especially sound "off," which is a significant distraction from the film. Kids may not notice, but older fans probably will. Thankfully the story, songs and the very funny gags compensate for the lack of Oz’s participation.
Indeed Disney scored big time when they signed up actor/songwriter Bret McKenzie and director James Bobin, part of the team behind HBO’s cult classic “Flight of the Conchords.” The situational humor and in-song gags which made that show a hit carry over very well to "The Muppets." The opening and closing song “Life’s A Happy Song” is destined to be an instant Muppet classic.
“The Muppets” is bustling with an exorbitant amount of positive energy and no Muppet movie would be complete without a healthy amount of cameos. You’ll find dozens of stars here ranging from Mickey Rooney to Zach Galifianakis.
There is something for everyone “The Muppets.” It’s styled after the original “Muppet Movie,” while the latter half of the film reintroduces the classic “Muppet Show,” making “The Muppets” a hilarious ride down memory lane. Wacka, wacka!