Did I mention there's a new Muppet movie?
Here's my my-version-of-a-review review of the new film, The Muppets.
It's good. Really, really good.
I really, really liked it. I liked it a lot!
Not loved. Almost loved. Just short. Like a few inches from love.
Why? Well...Hi-Ho and Welcome to the SPOILER ALERT!
I will try very hard not to put actual SPOILERS in my review but I may mess up. You've been warned.
There is a good deal to like in this movie. The original songs are pretty much awesome, the dialog is great, the humor is quick and smart in its silliness and the characterizations are fantastic.
Kermit is an actor in this movie. He is as warm and charming as ever but there is a sadness, and pain that I wouldn't have thought Disney would let the writers and producers of this film get away with. It was moving.
A number of characters who has gone underused or into complete disuse due to the deaths of their original performers (most notably Jim Henson's Rowlf and Richard Hunt's Scooter) are back and performed beautifully.
Obscure side characters take the limelight! Uncle Deadly!!! Woohoo! We see the massive, blue creature, Thog and the dancing Mutations. Wayne and Wanda! The frickin' Newsman has lines! Too cool!
Walter. I love this guy! The newest addition to the Muppet family is sweet, dopey, charming, adorable, funny and just perfect for the film and the group. Welcome to the team little fella.
OK, the 'Bad; isn't really bad per se, it is more...I'm not sure how to put it into words. Less than perfect is probably the best way to say it.
Some of Muppets look strange. Deadly's head and body are completely different shades of blue. In fact, his head isn't really blue at all but a pale grey. Fozzie's fur color and style seemed off at points. There were a few others. It wasn't a huge deal but it did look weird to me.
It was the same with voices. While hearing any Rowlf was like a little present just for me, Fozzie's voice was somewhat inconsistent. Sometimes Eric Jacobson had it, sometimes he just didn't. There were a few others with minor off moments but honestly everyone did an amazing job.
The movie could've used more Gonzo. What couldn't? But seriously, I thought his sequences were rushed and opportunities for humor missed. It would've been great to see an expanded conversation between Gonzo and Camilla the Chicken (are they married now? Are they still just boyfriend and girlfriend? I find that hard to believe given the nature of their moment in the film).
This leads me to one of my two true complaints about the film. Much like Gonzo's scenes, many of the other characters intro scenes and much of the humor seemed rushed. Not rushed in a 'done sloppy' way but in a way that didn't allow for the amount of time necessary for them to carry impact. Timing is the key to comedy. The original Muppet Movie had it perfect. This film...sometimes the punchlines come too fast, or too late, or just seemed disjointed from other things happening in the scene. The biggest and worst example of this is...
The Ugly - The Ending
The ending of the film was not quite satisfying to me. It seemed like an afterthought or more precisely, like two or three thoughts that the filmmakers couldn't quit decide how to execute.
It's a happy ending but only if you are paying really close attention. Otherwise, it seems like the good guys lose, like their comeback isn't one. I left the movie liking it so much but feeling sad, or at the very least, like the ending was bittersweet. That's not exactly how I want to think about the comeback of my favorite thing in the world.
Overall, it does seem appropriate. I guess I'm thinking, it didn't have to be that way.
In conclusion, I will likely see it again. Once it hits DVD, I will see it again and again and again. I love 'Life's A Happy Song' and 'Pictures in My Head'. I loved Rowlf's dialog. There wasn't a lot of it but it was great. I loved the Humans in it, though more active/inactive parts for the cameo stars would've been cooler.
Four out of Five from this Muppet Fan.
More Muppety stuff to come...