Monday, November 28, 2011

Do you like felt and opinions? Lucky you!

Okay, guys. It's time to address the Sweetums in the room. Yes, I saw it. I saw The Muppets. I've put off posting my feelings on it for a few days, but I think if I talk any more about it with Tom, he's going to divorce me. Homeboy is patient, but love has its limits.

Here are the pros:
1) I'm really glad it got made. I say the more Muppets the merrier. I hope more movies get made.

2) I liked the premise of Walter and Gary as brothers and their motivation for going with Mary to Hollywood.

3) I liked some of the songs. They were very clearly Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords) songs, which was cool.

4) I liked the "lives" they gave some of them. Sam the Eagle essentially working for FOX News? Miss Piggy working as the plus-size editor at Vogue? Brilliant.

5) The marketing was amazing for the movie.

6) I love that they did Rainbow Connection and Mahna Mahna and had some shout-outs to former movies and the show.

7) Walter is very lovable. He's basically a reincarnation of Robin the Frog, Kermit's nephew.

Here are the cons: Okay. Here was my big issue that made me unable to enjoy the movie as much as maybe other people did...

1) For decades, the Muppets have been telling their audience to pursue their dreams and stick with their friends through thick and thin. Therefore, it was very disheartening and disorienting to me to finally see what they've been up to for all these years and find that they are estranged and largely unfulfilled in their lives. Kermit was a sad sack in this movie. He was passive, mopey, dismissive and occasionally kind of rude to his friends. Until the final speech, I didn't feel he acted like himself at all. When he finally did get motivated (by Walter) to go gather up the gang for the telethon, they all seemed a little underwhelmed to be together again. Fozzie, Gonzo, and Piggy all resisted. Basically, the movie had a lot of cute gimmicks that I was too distracted to be enchanted by because my brain was just thinking it was kind of sad that they were all acting like that. I thought the movie needed this undercurrent: they had all wanted to keep working, but they thought the world had passed them by and nobody was interested in The Muppets anymore. But now that there was promise of an audience, they all jumped at the chance of being together again. Instead, I felt like there was resistance when they were re-forming and all sorts of hurt feelings and drama. I don't want to see sad, unfulfilled, lonely lives that turn into inter-personal Muppet drama once they're reunited. Talk about a downer. There was enough external conflict (broken-down theater, raising money, not having a host, no closing number, no audience, cut electricity, The Moopets, Tex Richman, etc.) that I didn't need so much drama and infighting (between Kermit and Piggy, Piggy and all the others, Mary and Gary, Walter and Gary, etc.). It bogged down the movie and kind of bummed me out.

2) I thought there were really not a lot of jokes or real opportunities to laugh. Walter screaming at the beginning was really funny, but after that I don't really remember laughing that much. We were in a theater with maybe 20 kids in it, and I don't remember hearing them laugh at all. That's a shame, but I can't say I blame them. Sometimes, even I was bored and you can't imagine how much I wanted to be there.

3) Why was the audience in the telethon all adults? That makes no sense to me. Muppets are inherently "for" kids, but have crossover appeal to adults. Why weren't children represented in the movie or in the telethon audience or crowd outside the theater? Wouldn't you assume that some of the adults in the audience would have jumped at a chance to introduce their children to The Muppets by bringing them to a telethon?

4) The cameos throughout the movie were bizarre. Let's just pretend I'm a 10 year old kid. I don't know who Mickey Rooney, Feist, Jim Parsons, Jon Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifinakis, Dave Grohl, Judd Hirsch, Neil Patrick Harris, James Carville, etc. are. James Carville?! Aren't there any cross-over people that kids and adults would all know? For example, Steve Martin and Julie Andrews. They were mentioned in the movie, have a history with the Muppets, and they've done kids movies and adult movies. Where were they or people like them? Basically, the kids got Jack Black, Manny from Modern Family (if they happen to watch that show) and Selena Gomez. It felt like maybe Jason Segel just gathered his friends and acquaintances without thinking of who would have widespread appeal.

5) I thought their voices were not very reminiscent of their original puppeteers (especially Fozzie).

6) Pepe the King Prawn (okay) was barely in the movie at all.

That's it! I'm sorry for being such a Statler/Waldorf. What did you think of it? And most importantly, are you a Muppet or a man?

Wocka Wocka,

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