Wednesday, December 28, 2011

25 Dec 11 - The Muppets

****may conatain a tiny spoiler****

Believe it or not, SouthSide's a Muppet and Muppet show fan. She vividly remembers sitting in front to the television to watch the weekly CBS primetime program with her family. Her favorite Muppet Show moments would be when Vincent Price, Alice Cooper and The Star Wars cast (Mark Hamill, C3PO, R2D2 and Chewbaca) were special guest stars. And of course, who cannot forget the infamous Mah Na Mah Na song. Sing with SouthSide now "...mah na mah na..." However, she's not a HUGE fan of the Muppet characters like the two main characters of this new movie.

The Muppets take place sort of a direct sequel years later after The Muppets Take Manhattan movie in which the characters have moved on and drifted apart (Fozzie does a lounge act in Reno, NV and Animal is taking anger management classes, for example) ...going their own separate ways. The basic theme of this movie in the beginning - the world has moved on and have forgotten about them but they're not definitely forgotten especially not with their two BIGGEST fans - Walter (a muppet) and human brother Gary (Jason Segel of CBS' How I Met Your Mother, a television program that prides itself with nostalgia) of Smalltown, USA. Like SouthSide, they grew up watching the Muppets and Muppet Show and now as adults, they're taking a trip to Hollywood to tour the famous Muppet studio and theatre. Coming along with them is Gary's girlfriend of 10 years (now, you know there's a major snag in the relationiship if you still dating a guy for 10 years with no intention of marriage ...yet), Mary (Amy Adams) who's "excited" that brother Walter is tagging along on their anniversary trip. Yet like in any Muppet movie, there's a bad guy and/or a problem which involves the Muppet characters raising money to save their theatre from destruction. In this latest Disney-produced version movie, the baddie is a rich oil tycoon (a BP reference?) named Tex Richman (wonderfully played by Chris Cooper) who will own not only the studio but also the Muppet name if the loveable characters don't raise the necessary 10 million (yes, this time it's in the millions, folks) dollars by midnight (always by midnight with the Muppets) according to the ironclad contract Kermit signed long ago. So with the help of Walter and Gary, Kermit gets the old gang back together for one last show however not everyone (Miss Piggy) isn't on board at first. But, hey, this is the Muppet movie - everyone re-unites to help save their name and studio.

SouthSide liked the fact Disney cracked opened the vaults and re-united ALL of the muppets from The Muppet Show (including Beauregard the janitor, Sweetums - still working at the same used car dealership from the original Muppet Movie, Uncle Deadly - used when Vincent Price made his appearance on the show and more) for the making of this movie. Who knows when we'll ever see them on the big screen and on television agaion? Also like any Muppet-involved movie there's a long list of A-list celebrities with cameo or speaking appearances like Alan Arkin (the tour guide), Emily Blunt (as Miss Piggy's executive assistant), Mickey Rooney (as a Smalltown, USA resident) and some corny Muppet songs to fill the movie's run time such as Life Is Happy and Me Party of One songs. However also included within this soundtrack was few 80s hits like Jefferson Airplane's We Built This City and Gary Neuman's Car ...even AC/DC gets inside a muppet movie during a montage sequence. Yet, her favorite song from this movie would have to be Tex Richman's hilarious hiphop/rap ditty about himself ...she would like to dedicate it to her BP (executive) fiance. Plus there were other references from other Muppet movies of the past (i.e. Rainbow Connection and Together Again ...and other non-song references) intricately placed throughout the movie. And stick around during the credits for the Mah Na Mah Na song too.

What this reviewer liked about this new muppet movie was they aged the mupper characters a little (i.e. check out the graying on Fozzie's eyebrows) and it was nice to know that happy wedding endings don't last forever especially bewteen a frog and a pig. And this time, the Muppets don't technically win - they actually can lose graciously to the big evil oilman Richman even though the ending does suggest they've won. What she didn't likw about this movie - Disney re-manufactured the same muppet movie formula i.e. defeat the bad guy by putting on a show to raise the money necessary to save the theatre to play it safe with audiences. If the muppets can grow old, so can the tiresome formula. For the next movie - get more creative, writers, especially for this new millennial generation.

Overall, it's worth the price of the movie ticket to see all of the Muppets together again.

Until next time, support your local scene,

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