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The Muppets (2011)

The Muppets review

The Muppets are a small part of my memories of when I was a lot younger. Their Muppet Show ran from 1976 till 1981 and it was broadcast on Dutch TV by the KRO starting in 1977. Now I doubt I saw it that early, but I do remember watching it weekly somewhere in the eighties. I always enjoyed the show and couldn’t wait to find out what would happen when Gonzo was supposed to blow his trumpet. I also watched the Muppet Babies cartoons which had a lot of imagination in their stories (and some crossovers with movies as there was an Indiana Jones related one).
I didn’t see much of the Muppet movies back then (really only the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppets From Space which I both like), so have been catching up with all of them. I have to say I’m not a fan of the newer ones (Treasure Island/Wizard of Oz and the other Christmas one), but the first three were quite enjoyable (which I only saw a couple of weeks ago). Now the Muppets are back and the question is whether this movie manages to bring back that feeling I had during the eighties?

The Muppets review

The movie introduces us to Walter and his brother Gary (Jason Segel). The strange thing is that Walter is a muppet and once he sees the Muppet Show on TV he becomes one of their biggest fans. When Gary wants to take his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to LA to celebrate their anniversary he asks Walter along who sees it as a chance to go to the Muppet Theater. It turns out that all the Muppet magic is no longer present and it’s up to these three to get the Muppets back together and put on a show to make enough money, which will prevent the theater getting demolished by an oil magnate.

It takes a while before the Muppets appear and by the time they show up you’ve already seen a couple of song and dance numbers performed and I really didn’t like them. Somehow they felt clinical and were lacking any heart. Now I don’t mind musicals, but here it really didn’t work for me.
The next issue I had with this movie was that it turns out the Muppets had grown apart. To me this really goes against the nature of these characters who always are together and there for each other. It felt wrong that Kermit would be living alone in a big mansion and that he refuses to speak with Miss Piggy. So for the first half of the movie, when the Muppets are brought back together, I really couldn’t enjoy it. Sure there were a couple of funny situations, but it left me feeling cold. Only when the actual Muppet Show started it seemed some of that old magic seemed to return, but a big part for me was nostalgic sentiment.

The Muppets review

The Muppets felt only partly like a Muppet movie, they were not the focus for a big part of the movie and I think that was a shame. Especially since the relationship between Gary and Mary wasn’t really that interesting. This movie does offer some Muppet magic, but not enough for me to feel the need to revisit it. I wanted to love this movie, but unfortunately wasn’t able to.

Score: 6

Category: Comedy, Movies
  • themovieuniverse says:

    I disagree slightly. It seems as though you thought the Muppets took a backseat to Gary and Mary’s relationship? (sorry if I have misunderstood) But I think that the human relationship actually took a backseat. I thought the whole film was more about Walter looking for where he belongs, which is with The Muppets, and I thought their story came first.

    February 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm
    • Nostra says:

      I was already expecting some disagreement about my review, but I did think that the relationship had too much focus. Once the crew is together it became less, but the thing is that the start never pulled me into the movie.

      February 28, 2012 at 11:37 pm
  • Castor says:

    I did feel the human characters were a bit extraneous but I didn’t think it took away from the film at all. You make some valid points but I guess you were looking for something quite different from the movie ;)

    February 28, 2012 at 12:56 am
    • Nostra says:

      Hahaha, no I really wanted to love the movie after all the glowing reviews and saw the early ones to add to the mood, but it just didn’t manage to convince me….

      February 28, 2012 at 11:38 pm
  • Jaina says:

    Think am going to have to disagree with you too. I thought that the humans were there merely to backup the Muppets. It was all about the Muppets and getting the band back together, so to speak. And the Muppets getting themselves back to who they all were back when.

    I loved the film. It pulled at every ounce of nostalgia I feel for them.

    February 28, 2012 at 10:50 am
    • Nostra says:

      Yeah, I was already preparing for that Jaina. I know this movie worked for a lot of people and I wanted it to do so for me as well, but was disappointed it didn’t as much as I hoped it would.

      February 28, 2012 at 11:39 pm
  • Scott Lawlor says:

    WOW sometimes Nostra you surprise me. The Muppets is an easy 5/5 for me… ah well we cannot agree all the time!

    February 28, 2012 at 11:40 am
    • Nostra says:

      No we can’t Scott. I know how much you enjoyed it and really hoped I could join with that feeling. The crowd I saw this with didn’t seem much into it either, so maybe that might have also done something with my enjoyment too.

      February 28, 2012 at 11:41 pm
  • Nic says:

    I didn’t mind Jason Segel and Amy Adams, but I felt Walter seemed more out of place. I understand the point of his character as a plot device to get the Muppets together and all that jazz, but I felt like the “actual” Muppets took a back seat to him, even once they showed up.

    That and I thought some of the celebrity cameos were disappointing, but maybe I just had high expectations from the show and original film.

    February 29, 2012 at 5:41 am
    • Nostra says:

      Well, Walter pretty much was Jason Segel to me, but I understand what you mean. There weren’t that many amazing cameo’s, but there were some nice surprises…

      March 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm
  • Amy says:

    It’s a shame you didn’t like this very much, Nostra. I understand what you mean about Amy Adams and Jason Segel though. I loved them both so much though that I didn’t really mind if the Muppets were secondary to their relationship. It’s such a happy film, I’ve had the soundtrack circling my head for the past few weeks!

    March 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    • Nostra says:

      I actually rewatched it again last night, just to see if I didn’t have a bad night when watching this, but it hasn’t changed my opinion about it. The kids loved it though. The soundtrack did stick in my mind more than last time…some good music…

      March 5, 2012 at 9:44 pm

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