2011 Directed by James Bobin
Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller
After a far-too-long absence at the theater (I remember going to see Muppets From Space in a deserted theater like it was yesterday…), the Muppets return to the big screen in a big way. And as you can guess from the mention of seeing Muppets From Space, I’m a huge Muppets fan. Enough that I can rattle off obscure background Muppets and spot errors on the Muppet wiki. But I’m putting the fanboy aside to give a nice objective review. And that review is positive. Not because I liked the film (I did), but because it’s a good film.
The Muppets are more than just puppets, just entertainment for kids. The Muppets are entertainment for all ages, treating the audience of all ages with respect and dignity. They may not have invented that kind of entertainment, but they rode it to a new plateau. Jim Henson was never afraid to tread new ground, always experimenting and improving, wanting to put out quality products that appealed to everyone.
As for the Pixar short before it – most of the jokes seem to be just the concepts of the fast food toy characters rather than actual story. But it is funny and does deal with abandonment issued and support groups. And some of those toys look like they come from neat fake franchises. I should just design fake Happy Meal toys as a hobby…
It’s time to start the music…
Gary (Jason Segel) – Our hero from Smalltown who loves his brother and also the lovely Mary. His attempts to please both of them cannot continue forever.
Mary (Amy Adams) – Gary’s long-suffering girl who has been waiting for him to propose for a decade now.
Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) – Evil oil baron who will buy the Muppet studios and tear it down to get oil. Spends most of the film trying to sabotage the plans to save the studio. And rapping.
Walter (Peter Linz) – Gary’s brother who was born a Muppet. Becomes obsessed with the Muppets and their number one fan. And begins the crusade to reunite them and save their theater from Tex Richman. As fun as Walter is to follow, I’m not sure he has what it takes to be an iconic Muppet. But when there’s a sequel they can probably come up with something cool to do with him.
Kermit (Steve Whitmire) – Our Muppet leader who realizes that the gang has dispersed and must go and get everyone back together to save the day again.
Miss Piggy (Eric Jacobson) – Kermit and Miss Piggy have gone their separate ways, largely due to her gracious forcing of issues vs. Kermit’s low-key attempts to keep everything together. She is now a high-profile fashion editor at Vogue. But true love cannot be defeated, even between a pig and a frog on two different continents.