Review by Vives Anunciacion
Published March 23, 2012
Directed by James Bobin
This is my Toy Story 3. You know, that part where a movie reduces a full-grown man to tears over a very touchy scene. And did I tear up a lot.
Generally I got teary-eyed laughing so much at the relentless punchlines, it was totally unexpected from a movie starring puppets. More than half of the time it’s just pure unadulterated silliness.
But I also teared up at seeing The Muppets back together again, doing the same silly yet insightful things they’ve been known for since legendary puppeteer Jim Henson introduced the felt-lined characters in the mid-1950s.
In the movie, big Muppets fan Walter, his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) travel to Los Angeles where they uncover a plot by bad businessman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to tear down Muppet Studios and drill for oil underneath it.
Kermit needs to raise $10 million to keep the studio, and the only way to raise it fast is through a telethon. Walter, Gary and Mary help Kermit reunite the gang, who haven’t seen each other in years. They only have a few days to reunite, repair the theater and rehearse for what could be the very last Muppet Show.
By all means this is an entertaining show full of funny lines and memorable songs that an entire family can enjoy seeing, regardless whether there’s a Muppet fan in the family or not. The opening song, “Life’s A Happy Song” and “Pictures In My Head” are as Oscar-worthy as this year’s Oscar-winning original “Man or Muppet.” The constant punchlines thrown across the fourth wall (straight at the audience) is vintage Muppets.
As a film, The Muppets is a disjointed narrative, with caricatures for characters both human and puppet. The fan in me was bummed a little at how Kermit, ever the optimist, has lost a bit of his green and become a tad realist.
But there’s no denying The Muppets is a love letter to all Muppet Show fans – like me, those who grew up with Sesame Street and not Batibot. It’s a heart-tugging ode to a time when a gang of felt toys spoke to the imagination of a generation using songs and silliness. So yes, I got teary-eyed again as the drums rolled when the telethon show began and it was the familiar Muppet Show theme. They got it down pat to the same positions the muppets had years ago, except some of them now had grey hair (or felt fur). Then I yelped a slight, “oh, God” as soon as Kermit strummed the first banjo strings of Rainbow Connection. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing.
You see, this is my Toy Story 3. That part when Andy gives away his toys and lets another kid play with them. But here, there’s no one to leave them with.
How sad that The Muppets is playing to near-empty cinemas last Wednesday night. How sad that everyone is in a hurry to grow up.