Ladies and Gentlemen, it's The Muppets review!
Ahh, The Muppets. While I cannot honestly say that I grew up watching the Muppet Show (it was, for the most part, before my time), I still managed to become a fairly major fan of the group thanks to my parents. When I was a wee lad, one of my favorite films to watch was the original Muppet Movie, and through that film I was introduced to old reruns of the original show. Even then, in the more cynical mid-90's, there was something special about this cast of characters that can only really be described as magical. The fandom was massive, so much that there was a time when you weren't a celebrity until you had guest-hosted the weekly Muppet Show. And they did. Elton John, John Cleese, Roger Moore, Vincent Price, Steve Martin, Johnny Cash, Ethel Merman and Carol Burnett were all guests on the Muppet Show, along with dozens of others. The Muppet Movie, released during the peak of the show's popularity, was only the first in a franchise of films and specials, every movie seeming to gather new celebrity guests to add their names to Muppet fame.
The Muppets are, in short, a nostalgia powerhouse. A dedicated cult fanbase - of which I am decidedly a member - has loyally followed the Muppets' films through good times and bad. Be it the Muppet's Christmas Carol, one of my favorite interpretations of the classic Dickensian tale, or the film that most Muppet fans pretend never happened, Muppets From Space.
However, in the past few years there has been little seen or heard from the now Disney-owned Jim Henson Studios. With the exception of the Muppet's Bohemian Rhapsody (Google it), we loyal fans had all but given up hope of any more Muppet films or specials, and had resigned ourselves to having naught but the old DVDs to maintain our Muppet Fix.
And then... this happened.
Insert angelic choir here.
Presented as a relaunch of the classic franchise, the new movie (simply titled "The Muppets") was marketed in a way that harkened back to the original Muppets Movie's ideas with a few new characters and a more more modern twist. To we fans, this was a sign of ultimate good in the world. Redemption to we few who had been loyal, true, and waiting for the day when the Muppets would come back and offer deliverence... okay, so that may be an exaggeration, but we were STOKED.
And I wish... I wish to all things green and felted... that I could just leave it there.
This film is an abomination.
What we fans had hoped was going to be a return to the old Muppets, something that would have something for all ages, something that would poke fun at popular culture, something that would take risks, but would also remain something that children would laugh at and enjoy. What did we get instead? Fart shoes, toilet jokes, and the most pathetic attempts at gags and humor that I have ever seen.
This is as close as they could safely get to my head after it exploded.
It's like the writers and director didn't actually give two cents about the Muppets. The movie is about an oil baron who wants to tear down the Muppet Theater to get to the oil well underneath, a plot that is almost copy-pasted from the Muppet's "It's a Wonderful Life" (at the end of which the theater was named a historic landmark ANYWAY, so there's the first major plot-hole... 5 minutes in, for those of you at home). There's also a subplot about a new character named Walter, a puppet guy who has always idolized the muppets and is their number one fan... it doesn't really matter. It doesn't have any real use to the main plot. Anyway, something about the muppets having had a major falling out, something about them needing to get back together to raise the money to buy the theater, having to put on a show like from back in the late 70's... the plot holds about as much water as a playing card. It's entirely irrelevant anyway. Nothing of import happens throughout the entire film. The writers were barely trying to make anything resembling a plot, nor were they doing anything to keep us interested. It's just a massive, groaning mess of stupid puns, awkward silences, and celebrity cameos that are gone so quickly that we barely even see most of them.
And don't even get me STARTED on the songs.
Take this in for a moment. Read all the words.
That right there? That's a poster for a Spider-Man Broadway musical. Now imagine how horrible the songs must be in such a thing. Don't actually look the music up, I did and... yeah, I wouldn't inflict that on you. Just imagine it. Keep that thought in your head a moment. Let it simmer. Okay, got it? Now make that music INFINITELY WORSE, and you have the music from The Muppets.
This movie is fried horribleness served with a plate of badness and a drink filled with liquid disappointment and frozen lack of effort. I'm not just saying that you should avoid this movie - I'm saying that you, all your friends, your family, and anyone you can grab off the street should actively BOYCOTT this movie. Hand out leaflets. Go door to door. Put on a fundraiser to pay movie theaters to take this film off of their list, and then buy every single copy of the DVD release so that you can legally eradicate all traces of this movie's existence from the face of reality itself. Then have a neurosurgeon remove the part of your brain that remembers The Muppets was once a real thing. Then set that part of your brain on fire, in case it's infectious.
The poster was okay, though.
Final Grade: F-