I’m not quite sure what age I was when I was first introduced to The Muppets. I’m going to assume that the very first time I ever saw a Muppet, I was watching Kermit the Frog doing “Sesame Street News”. That was probably around age 3. The Muppet Show had seen it’s last season 5 years before I was born, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every single episode. I am from the generation of Fraggle Rock, Muppet Babies, The Story Teller, The Jim Henson Hour, Jim Henson’s Mother Goose Stories, Dinosaurs, and Muppets Tonight. I have VHS tapes recorded from the TV of A Muppet Family Christmas and The Muppets at Walt Disney World that I’m surprised still even play, I’ve watched them so many times. The 80s and 90s were such a fabulous time to be a child. The Muppets were a great group of friends to grow up with, and I could go on and on about all of the television series and specials, and movies staring the Muppets that I hold near and dear to my heart.
To my delight, in 2004 The Walt Disney Company officially bought all rights to The Muppets, so now my two favorite things were one in the same. My first son was born two years later in 2006, and right away I knew that one of my missions was going to be to teach him all I could about The Muppets! I purchased all seasons of The Muppet Show on DVD, and we would watch them on our special movie nights. I brought out my old VHS tapes and showed him all of the Muppety goodness from my own childhood. Soon enough, he was hooked. In 2008 Santa even left a bright blue Muppet What Not under the tree. Jake named him well…Muppet. Fast forward three years and Jake still carries Muppet around everywhere. We even have to put Muppet in pajamas every night and get him dressed every morning. You can imagine Jake’s excitement when I told him that he, myself, and of course Muppet were going to go see the new Muppet movie before it came out in theatres. Jake and Muppet zipped themselves up in there favorite hoodies and we were off to “meet the Muppets”.
The Muppets starts out with Walter, who is trying to find his place in the world while residing in Small Town. His best friend is his brother Gary (played by Jason Segal). You will find that Walter strongly resembles something that is not quite of the human variety while Gary is your every day man. At a young age Walter develops a fascination with The Muppets, and despite facing ridicule by his peers because of it, his fascination grows with him into adulthood, and he truly becomes their biggest fan.
Gary and his girlfriend Mary (played by Amy Adams) are headed out to Los Angeles for their 10 year anniversary, and they invite Walter to come along. Walter is particularly excited about this, because LA is home to The Muppet Studios which has been abandoned for quite a while. Non the less, the threesome signs up for a tour of the Studios which is disappointing to say the least. Walter strays from the group and sneaks into Kermit’s old office only to find an evil man and his two henchman, who are conversing about tearing down The Muppet Studios, and subsequently the old Muppet Theatre, to get to the oil that lies underneath.
Walter makes it his mission to find Kermit, who has been off the grid for some time. Kermit is found, and in true Muppet fashion, hilarity ensues while the gang travels around gathering all of The Muppets. Once they are all “together again”, they put in their best efforts to fix up the theatre and put on a show to raise the funds that are needed to save the theatre.
This film will not disappoint neither the die hard Muppet fan, nor anyone who is just meeting The Muppets for the first time. There are many musical numbers, as well as the old slap stick Muppet humor. Gary and Walter will ask you the question “Are you a Muppet of a man or a very manly Muppet? as they realize that growing up is becoming who you want to be. While the movie focuses on Walter and Gary finding their way, it leaves room for plenty of screen time by all of your favorite Muppets, and the plot is just as centered around Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the rest of the gang’s dilemmas as it is our new friend’s.
It is no secret that The Muppets have been on hiatus for quite some time, and the film even pokes fun at this fact when Kermit is asked if he is one of the Ninja Turtles by a child. As for me, I am over the moon about the Muppets having made their triumphant return, for all of us who grew up with them, and now our own children. I came into the movie not really knowing what to expect, and I cried, laughed, and sang my way through it. This film gives you the ability to get teary eyed at a frog and a pig’s reconciliation after many years. Who else can pull that off but The Muppets? I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear with tears rolling down my face as I watched one of the last scenes where the Muppets are bombarded with fans holding signs that said “We’re glad you’re back!”. I felt like I should have been holding up one of those signs myself.
The Muppets truly have the “whole wide world in the palm of their hand”, and I hope you will join “the lovers, the dreamers and me”, in making this your favorite movie of 2011, and quite possibly, in the history of the Muppets!