Some Thoughts on “The Muppets”Posted: November 26, 2011
I went to see the new Muppet movie yesterday. I am already on record for my love of the holy trinity of Muppet films. For a very long time in my life the oldest possession I had was a commemorative glass of Miss Piggy on her motorcycle from The Great Muppet Caper. I think the music from The Muppet Movie is some of the best pure pop music placed in a film. I also believe that without Kermit and the gang and their amazing meta television show, modern comedy doesn’t exist. So, I come at this as a fan. Obviously I’m not a fan at the level of Jason Segel, but I came with a big bucket of love for these characters. I wanted everyone involved to nail it.
Short answer; they did.
Segal and co-writer Nicholas Stoller have a love for these characters and the way they respected their lack of irony and snark was great. I see A LOT of kid’s films. Very few have the balls to be sincere. The animated films of Miyazaki are as close as you can come with a modern release where the characters are fresh and fun and not pop culture quoting irony machines. The creators of the new Muppet film get this. They make sure we understand that they love these characters for who they are and that we should too.
The music is so great and Bret McKenzie is working in a very Paul Williams tableau. The music has pep and life and real heart. Even a silly song like “Am I a Man or Muppet” is done with heart and well tuned. I eagerly await the first gay bar that adds the Miss Piggy and Amy Adams disco duet “Me Party” to their rotation. The direction is crisp and clean and the director never gets in the way of what is happening. That’s what you need in a Muppet director.
Now, what about kids? Well, Sadie has seen all the Muppet films. She loves Miss Piggy and Kermit and every holiday watches Muppets Letters to Santa about one million times. She loved it. The only part she was not happy with was when Kermit was singing his song “Picture in my Head”. She said, “I don’t like when Kermit is sad.” And really, do any of us?
I think most kids will like the film. New Muppet Walter is there to usher in new fans and these characters can make new fans on their own. Miss Piggy is the original Miss Put a Ring on It and she still rules. All the characters are themselves. There isn’t any retconning or trying to change them. They all bring what they always have to the party.
Get out and see this flick. We need more happiness and optimism in our lives. If it takes Marshall Erickson and his comedy buddies to do it, then that’s fine with me.