The Muppets have been missing on the big screen since 1999’s disappointing Muppets From Space, and their small screen movies (Muppets Wizard of Oz, for example) have left something to be desired. It’s only fitting then that the new Muppet movie start exactly where the Muppets would be now in real life: separated and moved on.
Gary (Jason Segel) and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) are going to take a trip to Los Angeles for their tenth anniversary, and Gary is bringing his brother Walter along. Walter has always dreamed of seeing the Muppet Studios, and Gary couldn’t even think of not taking the Muppets biggest fan with him on this once in a lifetime trip. When they arrive at the studio, it’s falling apart and forgotten; Gary, Mary, and Walter are the only people on the studio tour who actually want to be there.
As he wanders off from the group, Walter overhears an oil baron named Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) talking to his evil henchmen about his plans to buy the Muppet Studios and tear it down to drill for oil. The only way to save the Muppet Studios is to gather the Muppets together and put on a show. Gary, Mary, and Walter find Kermit at his empty mansion and convince him to rally the gang, so they set off in a small car to find everyone.
The old gang takes very little convincing to get back together – even though Gonzo is a successful toilet salesman, and Fozzie is part of lounge act at a Reno hotel performing with a Muppets tribute band called The Moopets – except for Miss Piggy. In order to get her on board, the gang has to travel to Paris where Piggy is the plus-size fashion editor at Vogue. Piggy and Kermit have a heart to heart conversation where Piggy admits she just wants his dedication to her; and sadly, Kermit cannot give it.
The gang returns to the Muppet Theater to prepare for their show, and it takes awhile for them to get in the swing of things again. But, Piggy shows up, Walter saves the day, and Gary and Mary get their tenth anniversary dinner together. But the question remains if they can save the Muppet Theater? For that answer, you’ll have to watch and find out.
After his vampire puppet musical in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jason Segel has made no secret of his undying love for the Muppets. He and Nicholas Stoller (writer of Get Him To The Greek) pitched their idea to Disney, and the idea was finally accepted. Segel felt, like many of us, that it was time for the younger generation to experience the Muppets for the greatness that we did, and not for Muppets From Space.
The Muppets is a story about a new Muppet (Walter) who feels like he doesn’t belong in the real world. He goes after his dreams, regardless of how silly or far-fetched, and ends up accomplishing everything he set out to do. He is insecure about himself and doesn’t feel like he has any talents of his own; especially when compared to the Muppets. But he ends up being the star of their show. The Muppets have always spread the message of acceptance, and the addition of Walter only emphasizes that message to a new, younger audience.
True to the classic Muppet movies, there are plenty of cameos including Sarah Silverman, Rashida Jones, Emily Blunt, Dave Grohl, Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, Selena Gomez, Rico Rodriguez, and a few other surprises that won’t be mentioned. The songs are also amazing. My personal favorite “Life’s a Happy Song” has been stuck in my head since I saw the movie in theaters last November, and “Man Or Muppet” recently took home the Oscar for Best Original Song.
The humor in the film is also true to classic Muppets, there are many jokes that only adults will get. The Muppets perfected the art of family entertainment, enjoyable just as much by adults as kids, and this new film is a celebration of that. The Muppets have certainly been missed from mainstream entertainment; this is such a welcome, joyous return to the spotlight.
The Blu-ray quality is movie-theater clear, with bright, poppy colors and very satisfying sound. The Wocka Wocka Edition comes with a Blu-ray copy of the movie, a DVD copy, a digital copy, and a downloadable copy of the movie soundtrack. There is only one extra on the DVD copy, The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History) and at 8 and a half minutes long, it tests the patience of children. My nine-year old’s comment was that it seemed forced. It’s definitely cute though. Extras on the blu-ray include: Scratching the Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of The Muppets, a cute, animated, School House Rock looking making of featurette; A Little Screen Test on the Way To the Read Through, which is a really funny camera test of different lighting with the Muppets and Jason Segel; Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman song, which they should have kept in the film because it makes his character make SO much more sense; Eight Deleted Scenes which left out a bunch more cameos including Ricky Gervais, Wanda Sykes, Kathy Griffin, Billy Crystal, and Danny Trejo; all of the clever Theatrical Spoof Trailers, which if you missed them, you should definitely check out their spoofs of Green Lantern, Planet of the Apes, Fast Five, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and more; and a commentary track with Jason Segel, director James Bobin, and Nicholas Stoller.
If you haven’t checked out The Muppets yet, I highly recommend that you do. Whether you have kids or not. Everyone has some kind of connection to the Muppets, whether you realize it or not. They’re timeless, classic, hilarious, and inspirational. It says on the Blu-ray cover “The Muppets is not only the best family movie of last year, it’s one of the best movies of last year”, and I completely agree. Why, I even it included it in both my lists for best family films and best films of the year for 2011.
Walt Disney Pictures presents The Muppets. Directed by: James Bobin. Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo. Written by: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller. Running time: 103 minutes. Rating: PG. Released on DVD: March 20, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.