Ripped from obscurity by a pair of eager fans, Kermit is forced to bring the original Muppets back together for a massive telethon to raise $10 million in order to save the Muppet Theatre from an evil oil baron.
Home hither, I have a secret to tell you… I have no real memory of The Muppets
Sure, I was peripherally aware of the TV show and a host of movies but it’s been a full 12 years since the last theatrical outing and considerably longer since The Muppets
last experienced worldwide success.
So, I can come to this latest outing for the characters with nary a hint of nostalgia, unfettered by the rose tinted vision of a childhood fan of Kermit and friends. And yet, despite this and years of hard tempered cynicism, The Muppets
is one of the most enjoyable times I’ve had in the cinema in years.
You might already know that the film has taken the US by storm since its November release, earning the adulation of critics and nearing the $300 million mark at the box office. That’s over twice the earnings of the original movie back in 1979, and all before it hits a host of international territories.
is chiefly fuelled by an honest and heartfelt love for the property by leading man Jason Segel
. Together with Nicolas Stoller
, the pair pitched the script to Disney and have been shepharding it ever since. But it’s not a matter of trying to reboot a tired franchise for monetary gain, Segel
genuinely believes the world is a better place with the Muppets
in it, and he’s been on a tireless quest to make sure it happens.
It’s an inspiring story, and cleverly mirrors that of the film itself, as Segel
and Muppet brother Walter bring the gang back together to save the Muppet Theatre. At every turn, they are reminded that they are no longer famous, giving the audience time to become reacquainted with the characters and their unique charms.
But apart from the clever structure, The Muppets
is simply entertaining. The musical format is famously hard to pull off but it works here thanks to some uninhibited performances. The songs themselves are a mixture of old and new, including a heartfelt duet version of Rainbow Connection and showstopper ‘Life’s a Happy Song’. The new tunes were supervised, and sometimes written, by Flight of the Conchord’s Bret McKenzie
and a couple err a little close to Conchord’s
territory, particularly Man or Muppet.
Other criticisms are minor – villain Chris Cooper
has an ill-advised rap number and the gags flow a little less easily in the middle third – but the whole production is so charming that you’ll hardly notice. Segel
throws himself into the role and he’s got the perfect partner in Amy Adams
, an unselfconscious performer who proved her mettle in Enchanted
. The Muppets themselves are a delight and there are plenty of cameos to watch out for.
Director James Bobin
is also a Conchords
alumni and has made a highly successful move to the big screen – managing to keep a comedy musical starring a crazy cast of puppet things in check while also giving the film enough scope to allow these characters to work their way back into audiences hearts. Segel
was out to reignite the franchise and with this terrific tale, he’s done just that.