Critics Consensus: The Muppets is Certified Fresh

Plus, Arthur Christmas, Hugo, and three others also Certified Fresh -- a new record!

This week at the movies, we've got a record six Certified Fresh movies, including a Muppet caper (The Muppets, starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams), a special delivery (Arthur Christmas, with voice work from James McAvoy and Hugh Laurie), and a cinematic fantasia (Hugo, starring Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz). What do the critics have to say?

The Muppets

96%

It's been more than a decade since the Muppets were in multiplexes, but critics say it was worth the wait: they find The Muppets to be a joyous musical comedy that preserves the sunny spirit of Jim Henson's creations while managing to bring the gang into the 21st Century. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and the rest of the Muppets are coaxed out of retirement by Walter (as well as non-Muppets Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams), a huge fan who's afraid their old theater is about to be destroyed by shady developers. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Muppets was clearly a labor of love for writer and star Segel, and his respect for the Muppets combined with smartly self-reflexive storytelling results in a movie that should please old fans and young viewers alike. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we run down all of Jim Henson's movies, and find out Kermit and Miss Piggy's Five Favorite Films.)

Arthur Christmas

91%

The good folks at Aardman have made plenty of delightfully offbeat animated films, and critics say the trend continues with Arthur Christmas, a sweet and eccentric dose of yuletide cheer. It's the story of Santa Claus' son Arthur (James McAvoy), who must deliver a present to a sad little girl after Papa Noel neglects to visit her house. Along the way, we learn about Santa's state-of-the-art headquarters up at the North Pole. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Arthur Christmas is endlessly inventive, filled with witty sight gags, wonderful vocal performances, and an unconventional but undeniable sense of holiday cheer.

Hugo

94%

Martin Scorsese made a family movie? In 3D? He sure did, and critics say Hugo is a dazzling affair, visually rich and emotionally heartfelt in equal measure. Hugo (Asa Butterfield), and orphan living in a Paris train station, teams up with some new friends on a quest to find a secret left to him by his father. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Hugo is an extravagant, elegant fantasy with an innocence lacking in many modern kids' movies, but it's also an intensely personal film for Scorsese, one that emanates an unabashed love for the magic of cinema.

Also opening this week in limited release:

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