The Muppets: A New Movie and a great deal of excitement.
The weekend starting on the 10th of February 2012 will remain one of the greatest in cinematic history for me. A big statement indeed, but there aren’t many occasions that a new Muppet film and a Star Wars (Phantom Menace in 3D, bring the hate!) film get released on the same weekend!
After a near 3 month wait, US release of The Muppets was at Thanksgiving and for some crazy reason us Brits had to wait until February, spent avoiding spoilers, plot, reviews, songs, albums…you name it. I finally got to see the new(!) Muppets film in all its cinematic glory.
Let me start by saying, I’m not going to blow the story for anyone. It was suitably “Muppety” (word made up for practical use), and everything you would want from a Muppet movie. Now for the odd thoughts…
I’m a long standing Muppet fan, I’ve rolled through the Muppet Show and movies as a child, I watched The Muppets Tonight, I kept up to date with all the movies and TV specials. I know this is a bit of a rarity, when you tell people about The Muppets “Wizard of Oz”, they tend to look at you a bit blankly. This leads to my first problem with new Muppet offering…
The cast of characters. There was a cast of characters for the Muppet Show era, mostly centred around Jim Henson (obviously), after Jim’s passing, the cast of characters had to move on, many of the Henson voiced characters faded into the background in non-speaking roles, other characters had to move forward to fill the gaps. Rowlf The Dog, the Swedish Chef, Doctor Teeth…to name a few went into semi retirement. Gonzo, Rizo the Rat, Pepe la Prawn, Cliford…took on more prominent roles.
As a long standing (almost die hard) fan, I become used to the move from The Muppet Show era cast to the Muppets Tonight era cast. Oddly, this is one of my major complaints about the new movie, they make the switch back to the original cast of characters. A few characters who had become central were pushed back into the background, whilst other characters were re-cast. It just didn’t sit right with me.
The other thing, which I have just touched on, the voice re-casting…Jim’s characters, well, covered that…Frank Oz has gone into retirement from ‘Muppeteering’…this means 2 of the main voice actors are no longer involved, whilst Eric Jacobson’s Fozzie is incredible, I don’t think he really nails Miss Piggy. I have accepted Steve Whitmire voicing Kermit…but there are moments when the Family Guy parody (click here) is starting to feel like reality!
BUT(!) and the is a very big but…
Despite all of this complaining…I absolutely loved it! Every last second of it.
When I got home, I posted a tweet which clearly read,
“I’d like to thank Jason Segal for bringing The Muppets back to my life. I haven’t felt like that since I was a child.”
It is a truly wondrous film that can inspire such complaint, yet leave me with a warm feeling inside my heart that I haven’t felt in nearly 25 years. I went into the cinema hoping for a magical Muppet adventure and that was exactly what I got.
I hope “The Muppets” is a sign of things to come.