Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Muppets [2011]

Director: James Bobin
Cast: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Peter Linz, Steve Whitmire, Matt Vogel, Chris Cooper, Eric Jacobson
Genre: Comedy/Musical
Rating: General
Excerpt: "A movie you wouldn't see unless you're left with no choice, but you'd be surprised by how easily you'll warm up to it..."

Brothers Gary (Jason Segel) and Walter (Peter Linz) couldn't be any more different. But despite their differences, and excelling in almost everything that his younger brother couldn't, Gary remains close to his Muppet brother and never fails to look out for him. But it doesn't do much to make Walter feel like he belongs in the Smalltown community, and he looked to The Muppet Show for escapism. One day, as Gary is about to set out to Los Angeles with his girlfriend for their tenth year anniversary, he surprises Walter by bringing him along for the trip, planning on stopping at the Muppet Theater. However, once they arrive, not only the Theater is now a shell of its former self, but it is also in danger of being erased from history altogether.

What to Expect
1. Nostalgia
2. Plenty of musical numbers (duh!)
3. Self-deprecating humour
4. Lots of celebrity cameos
5. Inside jokes as well as allusions to real life events

What NOT to Expect
1. The human cast to hog the screen time
2. Anything out of the ordinary
A delight, but I dislike musicals, hence this rating
I didn't think I was going to take up on the offer to go see this movie until the very last minute because it's not the kind of a movie that I would drive 19km for. But then I decided to go on with it anyway primarily because just like every other kid out there who spent most of their childhood indoors, we have grown to love seeing these furry little creatures every now and then, creatures who look to be as warm as a blanket on a cold, rainy day.

Turned out that the movie was pretty warm too, mostly because they played to the nostalgia in the same spirit as Toy Story 3 [2010], not-so-subtly reminding us that even the most mature of adults need a playtime.

I used to think that Kermit the Frog is annoying, but truth is I miss the guy...
The thing is, I had forgotten about how a typical Muppet show would go on prior to seeing the movie, so it caught me by surprise the total of musical numbers they had. I know that it should have been obvious how the movie would have turned out, but it's easy to speak in retrospect. About fifteen minutes in I was already shifting uncomfortably in my seat, it was like nails on chalkboard.

I suppose it's a pet peeve of mine, I can't stand musicals even though in this case, it was a major component that had come to define what "Muppets" is all about. So if you're already a fan of High School Musical or Glee to begin with, I suppose the movie will appear to have been stringed together rather seamlessly.

Luckily I enjoyed the scenes in between the musical numbers and the overall story. It's nothing out of the ordinary, but it's not at all a problem because even the movie didn't take itself too seriously. In fact, it poked fun at itself a lot that I was reminded of the kind of mo lei tau humour found in the likes of Shaolin Soccer [2001]. What that basically means is that there was a lot of breaking the fourth wall, almost like addressing the audience directly.

An example of this is how there was two Muppet characters who blurted out "I'm pointing out the plot point right now", and how Amy Adams' character said something along the lines of "I can't believe we have the budget for that", referring to an explosion that happened a second earlier.

I don't know if that's the tradition of the Muppet movies as I am out of touch with it. But all the same I caught myself laughing out loud a number of times at the sheer absurdity of it all. I was even sure I spotted the former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl making a memorable cameo appearance, even though it wasn't a speaking role.

The incongruity of it all was its charm.


asrap virtuoso said...

Yup... I also at first thought I've outgrown The Muppets.... but then the good reviews came pouring in... plus there's something about Amy Adams that I find very alluring... planning to watch on Thursday back-to-back with New Year's Eve

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

Did you see her in The Fighter? Meow~

asrap virtuoso said...

The Fighter? Yup... found her attractive since Catch Me If You Can, despite being nerdy in that... then I realised she was in Cruel Intententions 2... now we're talking!!

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