New Muppets Movie Sits Well with the Past

Mike Bonanni, Staff Writer

   There have been some epic returns of old favorites both in music and in movies recently. This time it’s the Muppets’ turn in their movie, which came out on November 30, 2011. However, it just had a showing in the Red Dragon Theatre, so it may be worth noting for those looking for a good movie to rent.

   The plot is simple: Gary and his Muppet brother Walter have been huge fans of the Muppets since they were kids. Gary takes Walter and his longtime girlfriend to Hollywood. Their sight-seeing comes to a halt when Walter discovers an oil baron’s plot to tear down the Muppet Studio. Their only hope is to get Kermit and the Muppets back together for a show that will hopefully raise the money to save the studio and the rights to their names.

   This seems like a generic “franchise cash-in” kind of movie on the surface, but it is far from it. There are musical numbers spaced throughout the film and most are clever and very humorous. In fact, the song “Man or Muppet” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

   Almost every moment makes fun of film clichés and there are dozens of random but recognizable cameos by stars like Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris and Whoopi Goldberg. To top all of that goodness off, the Muppets still have their funny antics as well. Fozzie Bear still has his corny jokes, Beaker still gets lit on fire and the Swedish Chef still cooks while speaking in random Swedish sounds.

   Somehow, in all the humor and zany Muppet antics, there are also tear-jerking moments. The tears may not happen, but the feeling will be there and the humor will drag you out of it with a sigh of relief. This movie did what most movies these days fail to do: It creates a tension that leaves the audience at the film’s mercy and then releases it through well-written humor. This was also surprisingly funny for a PG movie and it ranks up there with Shrek.

   For those who don’t know the Muppets, this movie may get confusing and some of the humor might miss. This movie is loaded with a showcase of almost every Muppet from the show, which is really great for any fan who was scared some less notable Muppets would be left out. All in all, this movie is definitely deserving of the Muppet name as it really tries to embody the spirit of “The Muppets.” Though there are some serious moments, it is actually good to see a more realistic and human side to the funny puppet crew. The songs may get to some people, but there are not that many so don’t worry. The movie knows what it is and couldn’t have been done any other way; except maybe in 3D.

   There are plans for a sequel, but Jason Segel (who played Gary) said he will not be in it.

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