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Muppets, The (2011)
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Some mild rude humor.
Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones
Muppets, The (2011)
Walter, the world's biggest Muppet fan, is on vacation in Los Angeles with his friends Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) . They discover that greedy Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) plans to raze Muppet Theater and drill for oil on the spot.
Muppets, The (2011) | Review
"It's Time To Start The Music..."
For all those kids out there who wondered what "MuppetVision 3D" at Disneyland was all about, or asked their parents who the orange bear that sounded a little like Yoda was, actor Jason Segel set out to cross the generational lines, bring back the glory days of the Muppets, and make a few new fans along the way. He succeeded in making a film that was both modern and retro at the same time, and proving the gang could stay true to their old roots, but also that they were still relevant.
Segel wrote, produced, and acted in the film as Gary, a man who grew up with a puppet named Walter for a brother. The two of them were inseparable, growing up in Smalltown, USA, and bonding over their love of The Muppet Showas kids. For Walter, it served as hope for something more out there, as he was a sort of ugly duckling that didn't fit in with the rest of the kids. When Gary and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) decide to take Walter to Hollywood to tour the old Muppet studios, the young puppet is beyond excited.
Getting to the studios is one of the more depressing scenes in Muppet history. The place is decrepit, falling apart, and serving as tour guide is a sad old Alan Arkin. When trying to find some remnant of his heroes' past in Kermit's office, Walter happens upon a secret deal going down, in which the wealthy oil tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) plans on tearing down the studio to drill for oil. Walter's only hope of saving the old Muppet Theater is tracking down Kermit, getting the old gang together, and raising ten million dollars through a telethon that will enable them to buy it back.
In the words of one of the old-geezers-in-the-balcony, "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were reciting some sort of important plot point." It's all as much self-deprecating humor as usual here, and there really isn't much of a plot beyond all that. Rounding up all the Muppets is the fun part. Animal is doing court-ordered anger management training with Jack Black, Gonzo runs a toilet factory, Fozzie is starring in a Muppet tribute band in Reno, and Miss Piggy is a plus-sized fashion designer in Paris. Gathering up the whole gang in a car driven by Kermit's butler, '80s Robot, they make it back to Hollywood to try to pull off the biggest show of their careers.
No Muppet movie is complete without guest cameos everywhere, and this one is no exception. With Jack Black, Mickey Rooney, Dave Grohl, Rashida Jones, Zach Galifiankis, and many more, the Muppets have all kinds of fun interacting with a new generation of stars. We also get a great bunch of songs on the soundtrack (the Blu-ray "Value Pack" comes with a free copy too!) that were mostly written by Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame and even earned them their first Oscar for best song "Man or Muppet."
The whole thing is so much fun, and a throwback to much more innocent years. The movie gets its laughs by not taking itself too seriously, and building on the tradition of silly humor and memorable characters. Walter is the heart of the movie as a kid who has never belonged, meant for so much more, and spurred on to look for his God-given talents inside himself to help his new-found friends. Segel and Adams' love relationship also factors in a bit, but the Muppets are the true stars.
The "Wocka Wocka Value Pack" comes with Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy, and soundtrack, along with plenty of fun bonus features. For starters, every time you pause the movie, something different happens: a dance will begin, Fozzie will tell jokes, or some behind the scenes intermission features will start. A clever documentary called "Scratching the Surface" shows some of the making of the film, with interviews with the Muppet stars, deleted scenes are everywhere, and you even get the "Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History**) **We Think." If you want the back story and the full Tex Richman song (Chris Cooper rapping?!?) or all the spoof trailers that played before its release, you are in luck. The Green Lantern, Fast and Furious, and Girl With a Dragon Tattoo parodies are all on there, as well as commentary, and a Muppet "Screen Test Read Through."
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