Hey there. So, I saw THE MUPPETS. A week ago know. I was terribly sick when i saw it, 2nd day into a 6 day COLD that just sucked the will to live nearly completely out of me. I put together an amazing screening. No, we didn't have any of the Muppeteers there in person. No stars or directors - but on this night... we really did have a magical audience. These were hardcore Muppet fans. All of us. We brought our puppets, toys & merch... We had people working their puppets and talking with other members of the line, their children - all staying in character. I brought my Muppet, which I made at FAO SCHWARTZ with the Muppets' WHAT-NOT program. Handed him off to a friend with an urge to play. I didn't want to play because I was sick. But just watching the line, the beaming faces, the folks just... really, kids in the candy store, but this was a movie theater and the candy was MUPPETS.
For the duration of the movie - I laughed, smiled and was generally delighted throughout the viewing experience. After the film, everyone told me how much they loved the film - and it was literally written on all of their faces. The love was palpable. That's what is key. People that love the felt, felt the love this night.
Then I started thinking about the review over the last week. Having a week of lethargy, mucus and benzocaine-infused cough drops... well, it isn't conducive to writing, but that didn't mean I wasn't thinking about it. You see - I was amused by the film. I like it, but in no uncertain terms... I didn't love it. In fact, I've got some rather large problems with it all.
1st - There's something wrong with Kermit. I know what is wrong, I know there really is nothing that can be done, but there just is. Frank Oz made some comments about how Kermit would never live in a mansion, never leave his friends behind. And well... That didn't bother me. You see, I totally believe Kermit could. Because for some insane reason he loves Miss Piggy. Kermit could do better, she couldn't. That's what is great about their relationship, but she makes Kermit feel small. She pushes him around, makes him get her things... like the mansion... and when she left - Kermit could never leave, believing that she would come back. Kermit is a hopeless romantic and the plot that is written would work for me... if something just wasn't wrong with Kermit's performance... the way his face moves... his voice... it just bugs me. I try to let go of it, just go along with everyone, but it does bug me when I think about it. And I have.
2nd - I hated nearly every revival song in the film. All they served was to remind me of the far better films in which they were first featured. Of course, that the MUPPETS have lost their magic is the very subject of the film - and doing this sort of sad recall is actually the plot of the film... but it just felt off for me. I wanted to see The Muppets truly dazzle me. Had the film done everything before the Marathon in the first 10 minutes via a heavily edited PRE-CREDIT scene... Then had the film just be a feature length MUPPET Marathon Special - with tons of great material - actually get great guests to take part - and just have it be the most awesome feel good movie ever, I'd been happier.
3rd - Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Walter. I love them. The notion of a man and his puppet that grew up watching THE MUPPET SHOW and always dreamt of being a Muppet - along with the story of that kind of man falling in love and the kinda girl that would love a Muppety man. Again. I love this stuff. The problem is - had the WHOLE story been about them... with the MUPPETS essentially guest starring - It would work better for me, because all the screen time taken to give each of the major Muppet characters an actual STARRING sequence of the film, just put Jason, Amy and Walter's story on the back burner. I mean, there's a point where Walter needs Jason to help him with coming up with his ACT - the idea of a Muppet being nothing without their Person is a genius one and one that could've been explored in an incredibly touching way. Oh yeah, Mel Gibson did that with THE BEAVER. My problem is - they just didn't have the screen time to really be allowed to be the more fully realized characters that I was hoping to see and enjoy.
Basically - the film felt unbalanced to me. Wanting to be two different things - a nostaligic reintroduction to THE MUPPETS and a Really bold metaphorical tale about the dreams and lives that the MUPPETS and the people behind them have given us. Each of these things are outstanding, but neither is fully realized.
Also - and I can not state the importance of this enough... Having seen Martin Scorsese's HUGO earlier in the day - the smallness of THE MUPPETS, the lack of scope or experimentation with the Muppets in the greater world - being one with nature and the magic that gives us. That wasn't there for me. Scorsese captures pure magic in that film - and THE MUPPETS were not as dazzling as I had hoped.
Now, I'm probably one of the very few people that will have this opinion or experience with THE MUPPETS. It just wasn't magic for me this time. I mean, the best thing I can say is it may be the 4th or 5th best Muppet movie. It's fun, I enjoyed it - but it had problems that kept me from just giving myself completely over to it.
All involved could do better work I feel. I just I hope some day I'll see Kermit and not think something is wrong, without watching something old. Not there's a damn thing wrong with that. I do own ALL OF IT! The last thought that I have on THE MUPPETS is this. I get why this film wasn't called THE GREATEST MUPPET MOVIE EVER MADE.