Go See The Muppets (2011)! (UPDATED!)
December 4, 2011
Filed under 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, childhood, children, classics, comedy, Entertainment, Muppets, Puppets, Richard Hunt, Scooter, Television, Uncategorized
Tags: 2011, bullies, bullying, Fozzie, Gonzo, hi yah, Jim Henson, Kermit, movie, new, Piggy, Richard Hunt, Scooter, The Muppets, Walter
OK, I finally did it. I went to see the new Muppet movie, aka The Muppets (2011). This is a movie that I’ve both looked forward to and dreaded. Looked forward to because as a life long Muppet fan, I’ve yearned for the day when they finally returned to the big screen in triumph. Dreaded because well, let’s face it, the Muppets haven’t quite been the same since Jim Henson’s passing. Many of their projects in the ’90s were plagued by weak plots, awkward attempts at being “hip and modern” and oddly mean-spirited humor. Don’t get me wrong, these films do have their share of fans and I’m not putting them down. But many Muppet fans also felt something was missing from these projects. Could the Muppets ever recapture their former glory?
Well The Muppets (2011) is a very good step in the right direction. Is it as good as the original Muppet Movie from 1979? No (though to be fair, nothing ever will be ). The Muppets (2011) is more like a very ambitious and high budgeted fan fiction put to screen. The effort and love put into this project is evident throughout. There are many moments where Kermit & Company are their old selves again, achieving a unique combination of laughter and poignancy as they struggle to save their long neglected theater.
For anyone who’s already seen it (SPOILERS)….
……..I think my favorite part was Gonzo’s first scene, where it seems he’s become a cold suit-wearing businessman with no interest in getting the Muppets back together. But eventually, after a little prompting from Camilla, he’s convinced to show his true colors….or in this case one of his classic tacky stunt outfits. “I’ve been wearing this under my suit for years!” Lol, Now THIS is the Gonzo I remember from my childhood. It almost felt like a reassurance that the Muppets still have it, despite the set backs over the years.
And best of all, this film pays excellent tribute to the fans who have stayed loyal (many for as long as they can remember!). This is accomplished through a new addition to the Muppet family, Walter. Like many of us, Walter was enamored with The Muppets from the first time he saw them on the small screen. Gonzo’s weirdo stunts, Fozzie’s unbearable jokes, Piggy’s “Hi-yahh!’s”, Scooter’s youthful exuberance, and of course, Kermit’s ability to hold it all together. Walter’s a fan, like we all are. But like many of us, Walter paid the price for his good taste, often subjected to teasing and humiliation from his peers for daring to like something so seemingly childish. Or worse, ::gulp:: old. Sadly, we’ve all been there. The school yard isn’t exactly a haven for individuality.
But Walter doesn’t let the teasing get him down. He stays loyal to the Muppets and is even instrumental in arranging their comeback. I believe this serves as an inspiration to kids everywhere who don’t follow the crowd. Too often today we send the message that a child needs to change his/herself in order to avoid the wrath of the bullies. That may seem to work in the short-term, but in the long-term, what message are we sending? Let the bullies win? Keep your individuality a secret? That’s not a lesson I’d want my kids to learn. And ultimately it doesn’t even work. Bullies know when they’ve gotten to you and that’s how they continue to thrive.
In my experience, if you stay faithful to what’s important to you, many bullies will respect you more. No not all of them, but life will never be without conflict. The Muppets faced their share of bullies too. But they taught us how to deal with them….by having a giant Animal crash through the roof, making your enemies scatter!
Or in other words, by embracing your individuality, rather than hiding it. For a lesson we’re all badly in need of, I recommend giving The Muppets (2011) its chance to inspire new generations who aren’t afraid to be themselves.
P.S. And even if this movie isn’t perfect. If it manages to encourage parents to introduce their kids to the Muppets, then it’s done its job.
Here’s a previous entry, my tribute to Muppet performer, Richard Hunt: http://herald7.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/richard-hunt-1951-1992/
And a review of a long lost Muppet treasure: http://herald7.wordpress.com/2007/06/11/5/