Saturday, December 03, 2011

Movie Review: "the Muppets"

When I was in grade two my teacher, Mrs. Hallman, taught us all of the lyrics to "The Rainbow Connection." We sang a lot in that class.   I remember arriving early at the school one morning and singing it to myself as I swung high, high on a swing that was located just parallel this amazing old, sprawling tree.  It seemed fitting to be singing about something that reaches for the sky, while just seeing the toe of your pink keds magically (optical-illusion here )brush the tips of the tree...
Now, it's my karaoke song. On the rare occasion I am caught at karaoke, I always sing the song: usually half-joshing, often having had a few beers--- but everybody loves it.... it emblemizes the world of MUPPETS!

As a kid I loved all of the Muppet movies, the Muppet Family Christmas ( which we near wore out on taped vhs before it was finally released on dvd) and the Muppet Babies television show.
It was the 1980s and there were happy meal toys and stuffed Christmas-themed muppets everywhere. We had Muppet puppets, too!, in our toy chest, Animal, Kermit and Miss Piggy.

I always sort of loved Rolf and was fascinated (in my childhood oversight) when I first noted that the Swedish Chef had human hands as he meandered about the kitchen speaking in the worst Swedish ever.

Then, there's The Muppet Christmas Carol: which this Dickensian cites as her all-time favourite version of the popular story and which I watch EVERY SINGLE CHRISTMAS EVER.

So, I was delighted when I learned that a new Muppet movie was being made. More delighted still upon learning that Jason Segel was making and writing it because he shared a similar passion and wanted to introduce this ingenious, pure and marvellous world to a new generation of children.  Citing in interviews (read here, for example) that part of the Muppet charm is that not only do they suspend belief with real-live actors; but they also never use humour at the expense of others in their harmless, un-cynical jokes, I related to his zesty passion for their warm-hearted world.

You don't think of Kermit as a puppet once he has been on screen for a few moments: he's a frog.  It's not unusual that he and Miss Piggy have one of the most complicated sub-species romances to ever hit the screen. It's just epic and it's natural and when they have kids (in the Christmas Carol ) and half are frogs and half are pigs; well, that's just the way it goes.

The movie I saw today re-visits this wonder and EVERYONE in the theatre alongside my friend Stephan and I was laughing and grinning and giggling NON-STOP. Most delightedly, there was the chimed laughter of children who were being introduced to this wonderful, magical, humorous world for the very first time.

There are wonderful song and dance numbers, fabulous cameos (my favourites included Ken Jeong and Jim Parsons) and Muppets. Lots and lots of Muppets. All of your favourite Muppets....with special celebrity host, Jack Black.

Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Jack Black, along with a devious Chris Cooper and several other human actors in the show seem to be as genuinely elated with the experience as the audience is.

Segel has this broad, goofy grin stretched on his elastic face throughout the whole of the movie: bespeaking his childhood passion.

What he has written and has helped create is 2 hours of wonderment: never mean, always musical and sweet.

There are singing chickens, there's a Telethon, there are moments where you will be so delighted you won't be sure whether you should laugh or cry or do both at the same time. Your cheeks will hurt afterward from incessant grinning.  When Kermit sits on stage and sings " The Rainbow Connection", later joined by his entire Muppet family, you will taste a bit of your childhood again.

This is the second FANTASTIC film I have seen this week... and I thought good movies were few and far between this year. I guess they're all just coming out at Christmas.


Melwyk said...

Love it! And I love the Muppets -- are we dating ourselves by that confession? Anyhow, can't wait to see this one :)

Kailana said...

I love the Muppets, too! I was so happy that I got the chance to see this movie on the big screen and revisit something that was always so special to me. :) It made me in a Muppets mood and I actually spent some time tonight watching 'Muppet Family Christmas', their 30th anniversary special, and the tribute they did for Jim Henson when he died on YouTube... It was a fun evening!

Unknown said...

Yay, so glad you loved it! The Muppets are such fun!