DVD Review - The Muppets (2011)

Who remembers The Muppets? 

Who has memories attached to the remembrance of that gang of crazy creatures?

And yet who had forgotten them for 2, 10 (or maybe even more) years?

I answer yes to all 3 of the questions above and yet the second this DVD hit the player everything came flooding back and a huge smile was slapped on my face that stayed there for the 109 minute duration. It's that simple really and I dare to question any cynic who thinks they could sit through this without even a flutter of happiness overcoming them.

So what was it I hear you ask. What made this seemingly nostalgic throwback so wonderful? Well, I'll tell you..

Firstly, there's a new character. He's called Walter and from the offset there is no doubt that this is his story. He lives in Small Town with his brother Gary, played by Jason Segal (Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and he is The Muppets number one fan. Despite his cheeky grin and podgy appearance Segal's character is all human so it's mildly curious then that Walter is wonderfully muppety.
Walter is a sweetheart. He's naive and childlike. Gary adores him and the two have grown up not just as brothers but as best friends too. Well I say grown up, Walter hasn't really. While his brother has changed in height and appearance over the years, he stays small and exactly the same. 

Gary and his girlfriend of 10 years Mary, Amy Adams (Enchanted), decide to visit Los Angeles for their Anniversary.Being the home of the famous Muppets studio it's only natural that they invite a very excited Walter along for the ride. When at the studio Walter overhears tycoon Tex Richman's, Chris Cooper (The Kingdom, The Patriot) evil plan to demolish it and drill for oil. Of course, Walter (and Gary) are horrified and realise there is only one thing for it - find Kermit and the rest of the Muppet Gang, put on a giant telethon and raise the money to save the day!

Okay, so the plot line is thin and very similar to A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie but that just adds to the purity of it. It dares to ask the question, were The Muppets ever fashionable and Segal, who co wrote the film with Nicholas Stoller brings them up to date without losing that yesterday feel. James Bobin, of Flight Of The Conchords fame directs creating whimsical shots of candy coloured loveliness and sickly sweet song and dance numbers that are guaranteed to have you swaying along. 

On the subject of songs, Bobin's friend Bret Mckenzie (one of the other co-creators and member of Flight Of The Conchords), wrote the Academy award winning song 'Man or Muppet' which both funny and heart warming. Another highlight comes with the early show stopper 'Life's a Happy Song' which is so cheesy it fits the Muppets vibe perfectly. There's some of the original songs in there too because it wouldn't be a Muppet movie without them as well as some rather bizarre (but equally charming) pop song covers.

By bringing in more rounded human characters and not just relying on cameos gives the film mainstream flare.  Segal plays his character with cheeky charm. Caught between his living in his brother's childish wonder and his adult life, Gary is satirical and smaltzy. Adams brings sweet and typically girly (with just a hint of punch) to Mary while Cooper plays his Villain with pantomime perfection. Don't be disheartened though, they are lots of cameos too ( I won't say who so not to spoil) and all the Muppets make an appearance with some pretty cool back stories explaining where they've been.

With cliches round every corner The Muppets is sure to make you smile. It clever without being over the top. Segal and Stoller aren't pretending to make any different, they (just like the Muppets themselves) want to put on a show and put on a show they do! Each creature hasn't changed and like I did when I was just a little gig I wanted to reach into the film and ruffle Kermit's head. It's a story of wonderment and one of belonging, not just Walter and his new found friends but for the audience too (it really does have something for everyone). It's a war on the cynic and proves that these loveable creatures can find a place in anybody's heart - watch it, I dare you not to fall in love.

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