The Muppets (2011) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

The Muppets (2011)

Amanda:  I wanted this movie to capture the humor and joy that The Muppets brought for me when I was a kid, and it just did not do that for me.  Maybe I was expecting too much, or I was holding it to a higher standard than I should, but this movie was not what I hoped for.

The bullet train pacing, the muddled plot points, the shifting focus (is the movie about the Muppets or about Jason Segal and the gang?), the dangling and incomplete story threads, and the underwhelming music (at least compared to previous Muppet movies0 left me feeling empty and incomplete.  The humor was funny and the guest stars were fun and enoyable, but the Muppets did not act like the Muppets I remember as a kid (Kermit has a mansion?  Fozzie is in dire straits), and the movie did not seem like a proper Muppet movie.  This movie was Jason Segal Presents: The Muppets.

Ryan:  Amanda, I come as a novice Muppet movie watcher.  I had seen parts of some of the movies and I, of course, knew who the Muppets were but I was not a huge fan unless they were on Sesame Street.  The movie worked for me because I did not have any preconceived notions of what a Muppet film could, or should, be.  The movie was made to reintroduce the film to a new generation and with that I think it succeeded very well because i enjoyed myself and my 5-year old daughter laughed throughout.  I did not really think it was paced that fast and the middle actually dragged for me a bit with all of the mopey Kermit-Miss Piggy romance drama.  My biggest gripe was I wished they would have gotten to the show a little faster and shown more of that.

I don't think you can fault Jason Segal with putting him out more in the forefront because Disney has had the rights to the Muppets for almost a decade and have done very little with them  segal might have made him a focal point of the movie but that is maybe what needed to happen for Disney to greenlight the film.  I don't imagine them making a film without at least some sort of celebrity (like Segal and Amy Adams) to put on that poster because Kermit was not a big enough draw.  That might not be easy to take, but most kids under 15 have no idea who the Muppets are/were.

Keep your eyes peeled because the movie features a cameo from just about every Muppet (though no surprise Big Bird moment).

Amanda:  Ryan, the "Kermit and Miss Piggy have to get back together" trope is a huge staple in previous Muppet movies (except for Muppet Christmas Carol, but that is mired in the conventions of Dickens' original story).  It was not a surprise that Segal decided to bring it back to this movie, having said that I'd have to agree with your boredom over the "Will they get back together?" melodrama in the movie.  I understand why they did it and it makes a little sense in the context of the plot, but it's old hat to fans of the Muppets and uninteresting to newcomers.

I suppose it makes sense to have Segal and the gang be the focal point since the Muppets were mishandled in the past decade (aside from some funny videos like the Muppet rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody), and that led to the 15-and-under crowd never learning about what made the Muppets so wonderful to begin with.  I guess having the Muppets be in a more ancillary position in a movie that bears their name is a reminder of how mishandled they were during the 2000s, but if your kids loved the movie, I'll let that slide since the younger generation will keep the Muppet tradition strong.

I had some problems with the music (some was good, some was forgettable).  What do you think?

Ryan:  I hope you are not talking about Chris Cooper rapping, because that might be one of my favorite moments of any film this year (so delightfully weird and unexpected).  I enjoyed the chickens singing Cee-Lo Green but the songs didn't do anything for me one way or another.  I think the best original song was the "Man or Muppet" song and that was more for the brilliant cameo and less for the song.  I was thinking the songs were of typical quality for a Muppet movie, for us newbies, what movies have the best songs?

Not nearly enough Statler and Waldorf, but it's hard to bring their curmudgeony goodness to a movie this cheery.

Amanda:  Oh no, Chris Cooper's song was very silly, spontaneous and enjoyable, but I would have loved it more if it was longer.  The only song that was not great was Amy Adam's song just because it was so forgettable, which is almost a crime.

As for a Muppet movie with the best songs, it's a tough call.  I'd say watch the original Muppet movie (which is where "Rainbow Connection" comes from) and Christmas Carol and Treasure Island since those are great movies for kids and adults.

All in all, The Muppets is funny and enjoyable for those who have seen more than one Muppet movie in their day, just don't be surprised if it feels a little off.  Still give it a shot, though, you won't regret it.

Ryan:  I think the best word that could describe The Muppets would be charming.  After leaving the theater you are in a better mood than you were before it began.  The film might not be as good as what came before but I will leave that to devoted fans of the Muppets to hash out.  While the movie did have small faults, there are few movies outside of the Pixar canon my family has enjoyed together as much as this film.

I would recommend this to any family looking for a fun night out together.  If this movie helps usher in a renaissance for Kermit, Miss Piggy, and all the rest then I am up for whatever they do next.

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Posted by Amanda

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  1. Longtime Muppet fans will undoubtedly have more fun than young ones, but for the most part, it’s a witty, delightful romp, that shows you that you can still be funny, without ever being mean still in 2011. Good review Amanda.

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