IT’S TIME TO LIGHT THE LIGHTS
Now 35 years later The Muppets are returning to the big screen and couldn’t be happier. Originally titled ‘The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time’ this new film, now simply known as ‘The Muppets’, stars all of the regular Muppets alongside Jason Segel, Amy Adams and a host of cameos including Dave Grohl and Ben Stiller. The plot of the film involves oil being found beneath the Muppet Theater and oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) plans to raze the Muppet Theater to the ground in order to drill. Walter (a new muppet character), and his friends Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) must try to stop Tex by staging The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever, raising the $10 million needed to save the theater. In order to stage The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever however, Walter, Mary, and Gary must help Kermit the Frog reunite the disbanded Muppets.
The first trailers for the film were clever parodies of romantic comedies and recent films like The Hangover Part II and Green Lantern.
Alongside these trailers Disney/The Muppets Studio have been releasing some great posters including Sam The Eagle as Captain America.
The film is scheduled for release in the US in November but for some strange reason it’s not getting to the UK until February 2012. Not sure I can wait that long for a long overdue fix of Muppet mayhem.
The Muppets (2011)
I first fell in love with The Muppets one Sunday afternoon in 1976 when ATV screened the first episode of The Muppet Show. Since then I have followed the exploits of Kermit and Co and have waited 12 long years to see them return to our cinema screens. Originally starting life as ‘The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time!!!’ this film, co-written by star of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Jason Segel, is a tribute to the old school Muppets movies, where the Muppets have to come together to put on a show to save the day.
Directed by British co-creator of Flight of The Conchords James Bobin, with songs by Conchord Bret McKenzie, the film is filled with the spirit of Muppet creator Jim Henson, who’s image can be seen throughout the film. The film itself begins with Walter (Peter Linz), the world’s biggest Muppet fan, travelling to see the Muppet Studios, which are now run down and near derelict, the Muppets themselves disbanded. From this sad opening the Muppets sense of joy and optimism builds as the gang gets back together to combat tycoon Tex Richman, played by Chris Cooper, who plans to bulldoze the Muppets from existence if they can’t raise ten million dollars by the end of their telethon show to save the studio and their very name. Chris Cooper is fantastic as Tex, a man who initially can’t laugh but eventually does thanks to one of Gonzo’s failed stage tricks. Jason Segel and Amy Adams as Gary and Mary, Walter’s brother and his girlfriend, as well as a bunch of cameos, ably support the Muppet cast.
Even though Jim Henson is no longer with us, his big-hearted voice shines through this film. From a wonderfully recreated Muppet Show opening sequence to the way Kermit addresses the assembled Muppets when they think they have failed to save the studio, this is a testament to the characters Jim created. Their joy and friendship is something that we as the audience feel as well – we are part of this fuzz and felt family, and it’s great to have them back. These characters have been a part of my life for over 35 years and I am pleased to see my own children fall for their terrible jokes, magical musical numbers and emotional truth. I hope that future generations will continue to embrace these puppets who can make us laugh and cry and bring us such unadulterated joy.
Tex Richman at one point tells us that now is a hard and cynical time and the Muppets are no longer relevant. But in such a hard and cynical time The Muppets are exactly what we need.
Directed by: James Bobbin
Written by: Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller
The Muppets created by: Jim Henson
Gary – Jason Segel
Mary – Amy Adams
Tex Richman – Chris Cooper
Kermit/Beaker/Statler – Steve Whitmire
Miss Piggy/Fozzie Bear/Animal – Eric Jacobson
Gonzo/Dr. Bunsen Honeydew/Zoot – Dave Goelz
Peter Linz – Walter
Songs – Bret McKenzie
Music – Christophe Beckfozzie, gonzo, jim henson, kermit, miss piggy, muppets, puppet