Over Thanksgiving, I went with the fam to see The Muppets. Going in to the movie, I was more than a little nervous. Why? Because so much depended on this film, or at least that’s what it felt like to me. Seriously. The movie had reached William Carlos Williams proportions in my mind. (And because an idea like that doesn’t come along just every day, here’s my version of the parody:)
so much depends
the new Muppet
On all social
Now that that’s out of my system, allow me to explain why this film was so important. It all boils down to Muppets from Space. That movie flat out stunk, for a Muppet movie. Some of the songs were okay, but the plot was wicked weak, and the jokes were only meh. After I’d seen that movie, I wondered if there would ever be another Muppet film. If this one was only so so, then it was a done deal–especially after how much this film had been promoted. (Seriously–I’m a huge Muppet fan, but by the end, I was about as tired of all the ceaseless bludgeon-you-over-the-head-with-promos-for-the-Muppets ad as I get with political ads. (Well, maybe not THAT tired of them. At least the Muppet promos were often clever and entertaining. On purpose.) I get that Disney felt it had to make huge inroads in a new audience, but they pushed it too hard.
In any case, if this movie stunk, then that could be the end of the Muppets as we know them, and that would be sad.
Did it stink?
Not at all. I thoroughly enjoyed the film.
Was it as good as the original Muppet Movie or the sequel, The Great Muppet Caper?
Why not? Because it didn’t have Jim Henson. Which is really sad, but Jim’s dead, and there’s no getting around that fact–much in the same way I imagine Apple products will be hurt on the whole in the future. Some people (including my friend Jared Whitley, who offers an excellent counterpoint to many gushing reviews) didn’t care for the film, but I feel like it all depends on what your measuring scale is. If you’re stacking it up against the originals, you’re bound for disappointment. In a conversation with my agent ahead of time, he’d prepared me for this–and I was happy to have the heads up. It tempered my expectations some.
Yes, the cameos could have been better. Yes, some of the original songs were relied on a tad too heavily, but in the end, this was a great Muppet movie. Not the best one. Not even the second best one. But a solid entry in the series. It wasn’t a Muppets from Space, and for that, I think we can all be grateful. The Muppet movies had abandoned the original content stories in favor of retellings of familiar tales (Treasure Island, Christmas Carol, Wizard of Oz)–with Space being the one (failed) exception.
This film corrects that trajectory. Better yet, it’s already made more money than Muppets from Space–even after adjusting for inflation. It doubled the opening of the next biggest Muppet opening (Treasure Island), and I’d say it’s on track to easily pass all other Muppet movies except the first, in terms of total earnings in the box office.
That’s great, if you’re a Muppet fan–even if you’re a Muppet fan who didn’t care for this movie. It means more Muppets are on the way. Heck, it beat the Smurfs, and that’s already been green lit for a sequel. Who knows–we might even get some new TV episodes out of this. Or at least more webisodes.
But I need to wrap this up. Should you see this movie? Yes you should. My kids loved it, I had a great time, and it’s just a big ol’ warm fuzzy. Three and a half stars for me.
What did you think?