One of the most recognisable institutions of entertainment, The Muppets have been entertaining families, young and old for over half a century. Uniquely creating a massive cast of hugely individual characters, whom are all instantly recognisable and unrivalled by any other creation in media. (Can you tell I’ve got big love for the Muppets?). In 2011, we saw the return of the Muppets after a nearly 12 year break from the big screen in a big value production, which earned various nominations for the musical numbers. They’ve returned to raise money to save the Muppet tour, after being underhandedly bought out by an evil oil tycoon. They struggle to find network backing because they are not relevant anymore. Can they do it?
The premise of the Muppets is fairly formulaic, fairly straightforward, maybe too simple in places, particularly the ending which descends into a ‘afterwards everything resolved itself’ type narrative, which I have to say was a bit disappointing. I always feel that endings which are wrapped up with a sentence or two of dialogue explaining events after ‘the end’ are lazy. But this is probably the only criticism of the film. It’s genuinely funny, and for cinema fans out there, there is a ton of references to ‘the movie’, ‘the plot’, fairly existential for what is essentially a happy go lucky, tame film. But the gags are consistent, and well executed. It’s mostly slapstick and stupidity, but there’s never been anything to complain about watching Animal destroy scenery.
The music in the Muppets is catchy, never too soft and fluffy, the dance numbers invoke old style musicals, classical Hollywood musicals, probably consciously on the side of the Muppets creators to cement their place in cinema history alongside the big guns!
The draw of the Muppets has always been comedy. The comedy is not too dumbed down, but neither is it ‘adult jokes thrown in’. It’s just funny, really funny. I do think though, considering Muppets are known for their star guests, there would be more celebrities thrown in. Maybe art reflecting reality? The most prominent thing about the Muppets is it’s quite clearly a tribute. It’s bursting full of charm and affection. It would be pointless trying to assess this film on artistic merit, acting, even plot, it’s one of those rare films which supercedes traditional reviewing ‘points’. It’s quite simply marvellous, sensational, inspirational, celebrational, muppetational and it’s a welcome break from some of the lower points of recent cinema.
In short, it’s a feel-good classically coated film that all Muppets fans should see. Rarely does Kermit have a bad outing and it seems he’s got more to come.