Its Time to Play The Music ….
It isn’t a remake, a relaunch, a reboot, it isn’t re- anything. Unless you count rewatchable, which it is, I’d go watch it again right now if I could. Its an original story (GASP) with memorable characters, celebrity cameos, catching tunes, and a green frog. Nope, not Twilight (though that horrendous female lead is very toad like with her … oh nevermind fuck those movies – there point made) I’m talking about The Muppets. Very simply named for what seems like a simple family movie at first. Or perhaps it is, to normal people. I’m not normal, far from it in fact, so when I watched this movie, a call back to everything I love about films and kid friendly entertainment I watched with eyes that see it just a bit different. Let me make one thing VERY clear: I liked what I saw.
I wasn’t lucky enough to grow up with the original Muppet Show on the air when I was a kid, nor was I really the world wise, culturally fluent person I am today when the show reaired in reruns on Nickelodeon (though I am beyond thankful for those reruns now as an adult, I have fond memories of sitting down and watching them). There was the sadly failed attempt at a second Muppet Show (which I enjoyed) that for whatever reason never really captured the magic of the original. What I do remember are the films, again I wasn’t really old enough for the first one to be something I’d consider a thing I grew up with, but I have watched it over and over many times and love all over again with each new viewing. The Muppets Take Manhattan and the Great Muppet Caper, however; are two films I DO remember from growing up and I remember enjoying them both. Something happened though, the Muppets kind of began to dwindle down into obscurity. There were great movies of course, Muppet Christmas Carol was wonderful, and I loved their take on Treasure Island, but somewhere they just kind of stopped being something I got excited about. Then I became a Dad. Reignite the Muppet = excitement part of my brain. A film I can watch and enjoy while at the same time doing something fun and sharing the event with my son. Y-E-S.
There was some part of me (I’m blaming the cynical, grumpy, old man part of my brain) that initially scoffed at the idea of another Muppet flick. I think the exact words were: “Huh, really?” Delivered in a mock disbelief, but even then there was a hint of hope. Because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Or maybe that was my insatiable man-love for Jason Segel (seriously, I think he’s one of my favorite people ever, along with Scott Bakula and Vince Vaughn) talking. I do admit it was Segel that got me to the point of saying yes in my head to wanting to see it, I watch How I Met Your Mother almost solely because of how much I like his character (the show is just plain good would be the rest of my reasoning). Then came this whole holiday pseudo vacation from work, a few spare bucks in my pocket, and a Friday with no gatherings planned. Cue: Muppets.
This move was everything right in the world. The Muppets are STILL largely practical effects, so no one ruined something I loved from my childhood with lame CG and flavor of the week celebrity voices (I’m glaring at YOU Smurfs). The movie never stops to take itself too seriously, breaking the fourth wall much as the first Muppet Movie did (Myth! Yeth? Its a running gag, get it?), and some of the more subtle humor (and cameos) go right over the heads of the younger audience members and give us adults a good chuckle.
Remember that nerd face I make? The one that says I don’t want to be anywhere else right then? First song/dance number of the film I made that face. I got choked up when Kermit and Piggy did their duet (sorry for the spoiler, but hey even my SON said he knew that one was coming). This movie helped restore a bit of my faith in humanity, and not just in the people but also in their ability to be creative, to keep imagining things and making things better. So don’t take your impressionable daughter to that glittery vampire flick where she’ll learn her life is meaningless without a husband and she should be willing to throw her life away for a controlling and possessive man because he’s beautiful. No, take her to see some Muppets, where she’ll learn no matter how far down you might fall, how many stumbles you might take, as long as you have your friends to help support you, you can always pick things up and start over. In twenty years she’ll thank you, and I’ll thank you too because hopefully instead of continuing the world’s downward spiral maybe JUST maybe she’ll help push us all another step forward. Thanks, Kermit.