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article imageReview: ‘The Muppets’ sing and dance onto home video Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Mar 20, 2012 in Entertainment
The release of ‘The Muppets’ was accompanied by a fun social media campaign, building expectations that it knew it would live up to. Now you can bring home the fun on Mar. 20.
It’s probably safe to say everyone has a favourite Muppet. Whether it’s the lovable Kermit the Frog, the almost silent Beaker or the disparaging duo of Statler and Waldorf, the Muppets offer a personality that appeals to everybody. That’s one of its charms, as well as one of the reasons it still manages to capture audiences more than three decades after its debut in 1976. And unlike many other childhood favourites that resurfaced after long hiatuses, The Muppets is everything you hope it would be.
Gary (Jason Segel) and Walter are not just brothers, they’re best friends too. Though growing up, Walter wasn’t actually growing as much as Gary and he began to feel left out. That’s when he discovered The Muppets Show, quickly becoming their No. 1 fan. When Gary and his girlfriend (Amy Adams) offer to take Walter to L.A. to visit the Muppets’ studio, words cannot express his excitement. But while there, they uncover a plot by a rich oil tycoon (Chris Cooper) to tear down the studio and setup drills. The only way to save the property is to get the old gang back together, hold a telethon and raise the money to buy it all back – which is of course easier said than done since they haven’t seen each other in years.
Though it’s not entirely necessary, familiarity with the Muppets goes a long way in enjoying the movie. Understanding their relationships and quirks, such as the tumultuous relationship between Kermit and Miss Piggy or Gonzo’s adoration for Camilla, are key to appreciating some of the jokes – at least during the first half of the picture. Conversely, the humour in the second half, which revolves around producing The Muppets Show telethon, becomes independent from their history together and allows the film to really take off.
It’s easy to forget there was always a strong musical element to the Muppets’ movies. Characters randomly burst into song, work through their feelings lyrically and complete tasks to music. Though after the first number, you wouldn’t want them to do it any other way. In addition to some old favourites, such as “Rainbow Connection” and “Mah Na Mah Na,” they introduce some new material, such as the Oscar-winning duet “Man or Muppet,” and tackle classics such as Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Another element not lost in this recent incarnation is the witty self-referencing. Characters consistently point the audience is watching a movie, from stating they’ve just laid out an important plot point to suggesting a montage to save time. It’s always been part of the magic of the Muppets to pull you into their world by bringing you in on the joke, and much like they did for Walter, making you feel like you belong.
Of course a Muppets movie isn’t complete without a lot of cameos. Everyone who’s anyone makes an appearance, including Neil Patrick Harris, Jim Parsons, Alan Arkin, Emily Blunt, Sarah Silverman, Jack Black, Dave Grohl, John Krasinski, Rashida Jones, Mickey Rooney, Selena Gomez, Rico Rodriguez and many more. Though the appearances by the younger stars feel token and out of place.
Director: James Bobin
Starring: Amy Adams, Jason Segel and Chris Cooper
Special features include: eight deleted scenes; commentary by Jason Segel, James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller ; “The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think)”; “Disney Intermission” - pausing a movie will never be this much fun, as the Muppets take over the screen every time you stop the disc; “Scratching the Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney’s The Muppets”; “Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song”; “A Little Screen Test on the way to the Read Through”; theatrical spoof trailers; the complete soundtrack; and digital copy of the film. (Disney Home Entertainment)
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