Wednesday 15 February 2012

The Muppets (2012) - James Bobin

If you don't leave the cinema with your face hurting, you can't call yourself human.  Or muppet.

The phenomenon is back with this heartwarming love letter to their furry faces.  It's a sort of film within a film - after years out of the spotlight the muppets must stop an evil oil baron from taking over their studios by (what else?) putting on a show, just as in reality the muppets return to our big screens after a long hiatus.

Nostalgia is at the heart of the film.  The muppets rely on three old fans (Jason Segal, Amy Adams and newcomer to the gang Walter) to bring them all back together: the same muppets we all know and love.  The film's comedy style, from Segal's script, is simplistic and obvious, yet its predictability is half its charm.  It's a new story with familiar characters and catchphrases; innocent humour with a knowing wink.  The songs are hilariously performed and it's clear that Segal and the various cameo appearances have a great love and respect for their childhood furry heroes.  There's even a Pixar short (with an incredibly amusing DJing penguin) to get the action going.  Yes, The Muppets is jammed with morals and messages but this is a children's film after all.

Or is it?  Due to its reliance on nostalgia, it remains to be seen whether the muppets can regain their status at the height of entertainment.  It's out with the new and in with the old, which might not sit well with this generation of youngsters.  For big kids, though, The Muppets is a refreshing change of pace that encapsulates pure unadultered joy for muppets of men and very manly muppets.