Guest Review: 'The Muppets'
Guest Blogger Calls Muppets Happiest Film of the Year
Guest blogger Jeff Murray gives his review of "The Muppets" (opened November 23 throughout San Diego).
My favorite moment happened about halfway through the new "The Muppets" movie. But it wasn’t during one of Fozzie Bear’s jokes about salmonella (Waka, waka, waka). Or during Kermit the Frog’s heartfelt speech. Or during Kermit's duet with Miss Piggy. And it wasn’t amid one of the brilliant sing-alongs written by Bret McKenzie (famous for “Flight of the Concords”) and sung by Amy Adams and Jason Segel. No, my favorite moment happened when “The Muppet” crew was traveling by musical montage across the United States, gathering all of it’s members together for a “Muppet Show” reunion to raise $10 million to save their old studio from the greedy clenches of Tex Richman, played by Chris Cooper
My favorite shot was something that struck a personal chord for me and it was when the Muppets were driving over Donner-Summit Bridge, just outside of Truckee California, a mountain haven where close friends and I annually gather to sled, hike, play cards and carpe diem for a week in the winter. But this year there was some doubt whether we could schedule the reunion into everyone’s new life. It’s a lesson Kermit was in the process of learning with his old Muppet pals in the film. He finds Fozzie Bear living and performing out of a dive bar in Reno; Gonzo the Great a successful toilet seat distributer; and Miss Piggy now christened as a top "pig" at Vogue magazine in Paris. So when the panorama shot popped up for the split second on screen, it all happened in a moment of friends trying to come together again and this made me happy -- that even Muppets could miss their mates.
The extent of my Muppet knowledge as a kid was “Muppet Treasure Island” and “The Muppet Christmas Carol." Yet I found this film to do an amazing job of both appealing to longtime fans and saying, “Remember how much fun we used to have!” while welcoming newcomers like the newest Muppet, Walter, and saying, “Come join the show!”
In the tradition of old “Muppet Shows” with celebrity hosts, the new film chooses to present its celebrity cameos by hiding Hollywood relics and modern pop icons under blonde wigs and milkman hats. And just when you think it can’t get any funnier or touching or nostalgic, the film erupts into a “Muppet Show” finale that leaves you wanting the whole experience to start all over again.
“The Muppets” (rated PG for some mild rude humor) may very well be the happiest film of the year and the best part is, it knows it. The movie is packed to the brim with humor, both quick and subtle, for kids and adults. James Bobin, the movie’s director, has no hesitation at strumming each viewer’s heartstrings. So for those days of cynicism and recessions, “’Black Friday Blues," and missing friends, “The Muppets” is the cure this holiday season.
Companion Viewing: “Muppets Treasure Island” (1996); “The Muppets Christmas Carol” (1992); “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008)
Jeffrey Murray is a recent graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University where he studied business and world literature, while working as the features editor for the school's newspaper, The Point Weekly.