I’m am a bit of a weird age when it comes to my fandom of The Muppets. When I was born in 1982, The Muppet Show had already finished its run and two of the three original Muppet films were already released. However, the Muppets were still a big part of my childhood, with me watching everything from reruns of The Muppet Show to the Muppet Babies cartoon to Fraggle Rock.
That said, many of the Muppet movies I can remember the releases for came out after Jim Henson’s death in 1990. Some of these, like 1992’s Muppet Christmas Carol, are probably just as memorable as the original Muppet films, while others, like 1999’s Muppets from Space are not so much.
The Muppets can be seen as both a film that introduces the Muppets for a new audience, while also remembering the fans that have been with them for their entire existence. Some have been describing this film as a “reboot,” but I wouldn’t go as far to use that (now very overused) term. This film is not restarting the Muppets, it is more reintroducing them for a new audience.
The film plays out as sort of a direct sequel/homage to 1979’s original The Muppet Movie. There are many references to the original movie in this film (most notably being the song “Rainbow Connection”) and it shows that Jason Segel (who co-wrote and stars in the film) has true respect for the Muppets. In fact, while still quite comical, the film is actually dramatic at times, as the Muppets cope with no longer being that relevant.
Like many of the Muppet films, The Muppets is a musical, with all the characters (both Muppet and human) singing at one point (or in the case of Chris Cooper’s evil Tex Richman, rapping). I was pleased to find out that all the songs were written by Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie (not really a surprise, since the film was directed by James Bobin, who also did the Flight of the Conchords TV series). As such, many of the songs have a similar vibe to the work of the duo, which I quite enjoyed.
Overall, the film was an enjoyable, cameo filled (I won’t dare to spoil any of them), return for the Muppets. My inner child was definitely happy.
I will end with one word: Mahna Mahna