Nick takes a second away from viewing TV to share his thoughts on the new 2011 film The Muppets, which features characters that were a staple of television viewers back in the 1970’s.
I remember in 2002 or so, when Spider-man came out. I remember that this beloved character that was passed from my father on to me, was something that was exciting. It was palpable. We went to the midnight screening and there was a general feeling of not only nostalgia, but just love of the experience that would unfold. And I believe the film did not disappoint. And it was good. BUT… when I saw Spider-man 2, I left that film feeling like I just watched a comic book come to life. Not just as a movie, but like, the whole train sequence was and still is, a pinnacle of filmmaking simply put; hate or love the film, if you ever read a spider-man comic book even for 2 minutes, it felt like it’s own thing BUT with being a comic book brought to life from the page. And while I geek out over certain films here and there, rarely do I leave a film just jazzed, or full of wonderment. And if there was ever a film that had me excited for the first time in a long while, and I mean really really excited since, say, the first Spider-man film and then left the film with the feeling I had when I saw Spider-man 2, it had to be, and most definitely is the 2011 renaissance of an amazing franchise simply called The Muppets.
Now I know Spider-man has nothing to do with Jim Henson’s classic vaudeville-like characters full of wit and sophistication, but how often do you get excited for a film? For some people it was Harry Potter. For me, it was Spider-man. But one thing is for sure, The Muppets is a reminder of being a kid again, but also in a way, a film that just doesn’t play off nostalgia, but goes as far as trying to attempt at doing it’s own thing.
When I was growing up, we had Disney Channel, and even before the conglomerate that was Walt Disney Studios would buy out the franchise before letting it linger in obscurity, the films The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan were replayed quite reverently, same goes with The Great Muppet Caper on HBO. Rarely would The Muppet Movie itself be shown, I remember it would usually air on TBS or TNT, but rarely uncut for time, and on a premium channel like Disney Channel or HBO. So my memories of The Muppet Movie are not as grand as everyone else’s; it’s a film that I grew to appreciate and have a deeper love for as an adult. I guess the same thing applies for Raiders of the Lost Ark, HBO would constantly show Temple of Doom, hence why my undying love and respect for that film, as for me, without Temple of Doom there would be no Last Crusade nor a film I now love just as much, Raiders of the Lost Ark. So while some people might not care for The Great Muppet Caper as much as The Muppet Movie and The Muppets Take Manhattan it is definitely a film that is my gateway into the Muppets themselves.
And then, there were the shows. I remember right before the Muppets were faded off of syndication in the evening around 7:30 or so back when I was three, ABC, or CBS or NBC would air The Muppet Show and when I was at my grandmother’s I watch it with grandma and grandpa, and we’d talk how funny it was, and how they would do something like that. I really liked how, even when you knew it was a puppet, they treated the characters and treated me like I was in on the ground floor of what was going on, no matter how silly and (now, as an adult,) grown-up the humor was.
I wanted to write this review much sooner, but frankly put, I had to let it set for a few days. I was so happy from watching the film, I had to make sure it wasn’t just some ‘oh, hey, Nick’s review is nostalgia.’. And at first, the jokes felt forgetful, but now after a few days have set in, with The Muppets soundtrack on seemingly infinite loop I now realize that it isn’t the case. I remember some of the best gags, just like I remember them in The Great Muppet Caper or The Muppets Take Manhattan. And then there is, yes, nostalgia, but the film is more than that. As an adult, it makes you remember WHY those characters are great.
I heard rumblings of how the film was too different in some cases, but after viewing the movie, the Muppets are true to themselves. And the film itself brings up a valid point. For a film that is so self-congratulatory on the characters, to be fair, it is earned, but further more, it’s a valid point.
To continue reading Nick’s mega long and lengthy in-depth thoughts on the new MUPPETS film, such as what valid point the film brings up, then click here!