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New Release Review - The Muppets


Directed by: James Bobin
Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones, The Muppets

I think it was David Lynch who once said that as long as Jimmy Stewart is still around, the world can't be a bad place. Sadly Stewart is no longer with us but I think you could substitute his name with the Muppets and the quote would work just as well.
As an eighties kid, The Muppets were as much a part of my childhood as the creations of Lucas and Spielberg. Following 1992's "Muppet Christmas Carol" they disappeared into the background, producing two very average movies in the meantime. Thirteen years after "Muppets In Space" they're back, and judging by the reaction of the young audience at my screening, they're here to stay.
Sometimes a franchise needs a fresh take and wisely the Henson family have stepped back for this reboot. Taking over are Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, and it's clear they have a love for the material, this is a movie made by fans for the fans.
Where the likes of "Treasure Island" and "Christmas Carol" were constrained by the source material, this has an anarchic feel much more in keeping with the original TV series. If you've seen "The Blues Brothers" you'll recognise the plot, and the movie shares the same comic spirit as those early eighties comedies. The gag per minute ratio is one of the highest since the "Airplane" movies.
Like 1995's "The Brady Bunch Movie", this plays on the conflict between it's protagonists and the cynical modern world. Unlike that movie, which made most of it's jokes at the expense of the Brady family, here the joke is on contemporary culture, it's the Muppets who have the last laugh. They get the chance to get the show back on TV because a reality show has been taken off the air.
Surprisingly this is a really good-looking movie, the use of colour is fantastically vibrant in a way you rarely see in these filtered, desaturated times. The song and dance numbers will have you tapping your feet and grinning like a donkey on coke. If you were alive in the eighties this might mean more to you than younger audiences but I can't imagine anyone not thoroughly enjoying this joyous and yes I'll say it, life-affirming movie. Take your kids, take your parents, take anyone, everyone should see this sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational movie.
8/10
The Muppets (2011) on IMDb 7.3/10

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