The Muppets are back
Jeffrey Tangney | Copy Editor
The Muppets are back and are just as good as I remember from my childhood. I feared that this movie would not live up to my expectations, that it would ruin a piece of my childhood, but it followed the Muppets style: cheesy one-liners, talking to the audience, catchy musical numbers, and a broad array of cameos.
The movie starts with an opening montage of two children as they grow up. Of course, children is a relative term as one of them is actually a Muppet named Walter (voiced by Peter Linz). When the montage is over, the actual story starts with Walter and his brother Gary (Jason Segel) discussing a trip to Los Angeles with Gary’s girlfriend of 10 years, Mary (Amy Adams). Together they set off for Los Angeles, though the beginning of the main subplot is quite evident and proved quite predictable. Their first stop is the Muppets Studio since Walter is the world’s biggest Muppets fan. In a Muppets-style plot turn, Kermit is selling the studio to Tex Richman (Chris Cooper,) a rich oil baron who has sinister, ulterior motives for the move. Walter discovers that the Muppets must raise $10 million in two weeks to keep their studios. The plot follows a somewhat predictable course from there as Walter, Gary and Mary seek to get the Muppets back together for one last show to raise the money.
The middle part of the movie centers on reuniting the Muppets, first Kermit since he knows how to find the others, then moving on to those who have spread out since disbanding. While this part was kind of slow, the interaction of the characters as they reconnect was extremely effective and did not seem forced in the least. There was one or two plotholes that were ignored in this section. These were ignored by the writers to make the movie last longer, but I feel that a little rework could have made the holes non-existent and still kept the story intact. The holes involve the success of some of the muppets in other industries, and it felt like some of them had made enough money to pay for the studios. However, it is really a trivial point since I enjoyed the movie despite these omissions.
The second half of the movie centers on organizing the telethon to raise the money needed, with a subplot centering on Gary and Mary’s relationship which is wrapped up nicely via song (easily my favorite song in the movie, it is a quartet featuring Segel, Segel as a Muppet, Walter, and Walter as a man played by Jim Parsons). The final 20 minutes or so of the movie were the one drawback I found. I expected an ending along traditional Muppet movies and pretty much any movie made in the ‘80s. It seemed like this would be a Muppet version of the Blues Brothers. However, I was disappointed by the ending, which I found to be both out of character for a Muppets movie and incredibly forced. I think if the writers had spent more time on the ending then the entire movie would be outstanding. Despite the ending, I still enjoyed the film and it used most of the traditional elements of Muppets movies like songs, cameos and one-liners quite effectively.
Overall, I enjoyed the Muppets as much as the original Muppets movies and I was relieved it left my childhood intact.