Wow. I hope the new muppet movie wins picture of the year. It is that good. In one of the final scenes in Pixar's 2007 film Ratatouille, the rat chef Remy serves a bowl of ratatouille, peasant food, to the feared food critic Anton "the Grim Eater" Ego. Ego sneers at the simple dish, but the first bite transports him back to his fondest childhood memories of his mother's cooking. Ego's cynical exterior cracks and he is filled with child-like joy and wonder for the first time in years.
The entire muppet movie for me is like Ego's first bite of ratatouille. I do not think a movie has ever made me so happy as I watched it. There were parts of it where I laughed so hard it brought literal, not metaphorical, tears to my eyes. I loved the muppets when I was younger and this movie played on that nostalgia perfectly.
I went into the movie knowing next to nothing about the story. For the past week I have avoided all reviews and discussions about the film.
My first surprise is that it is a well executed and witty musical! I am a song and dance kind of guy and the muppets did not disappoint. The villain, Mr. Richman, has a hysterical and unexpected song, but the real showstopper is Am I a muppet or am I a Man? I won't spoil it, but I have never witnessed an audience united in such sustained laughter before. This number alone is worth the price of admission.
The plot line is standard fare for a muppet movie; the muppets are in danger of losing their theatre unless they raise an exorbitant sum of money. The only option is to reunite the cast and put on one last muppet show. Hijinks ensue. Yadayadayada.
The difference between this muppet movie and its predecessors is how well it is executed. As Ella Fitzgerald once sang "T'aint what you do, it's the way that you do it". The movie never takes itself too seriously, and never tries to be anything but the best, most authentic, muppet experience possible.
In a movie full of A-list cameos Jason Segel shines. Puppeteering is a passion of his and his love for the craft comes through every scene. According to Jason1
It's impossible to be in a bad mood. Even when we shoot a 14- or 16-hour day no one in the crew gets angry. Kermit's there. You're not gonna be a jerk in front of Kermit. It's like being a jerk in front of your mom. You know that they won't approve. So, yeah, we've all been having a great time and now seeing the dailies there was a real sense that we were doing something special.
This is a great family movie. Leaving the theatre you will be filled with joy, happiness, and those irritatingly catchy lyrics from Manaman.
Verdict: Watch it. Multiple times if possible.
- From the November 2011 edition of the Cineplex Magazine, page 28. This is the magazine they hand out in the movie theatre to read before the film starts. I skipped the article on Twilight New Movie! and went straight to the Muppet movie article. ↩