Well, this movie pretty much played out like I exected...and that's maybe the best possible thing I could ask for. Both the film itself, and it's plot are all about how the Muppets WERE great, and how it's a shame no one really remembers or seems to care about them much anymore. Like the other Muppet films, there's plenty of meta and self referential humor, a lot of it based on the above mentioned statement about their decline in prominence and popularity.
The plot follows a guy named Gary and his muppet brother Walter (who doesn't really seem to get that he is indeed a muppet), who are big fans of Jim Henson's creations. Gary has a lovely lady named Mary, who really questions if Gary really cares about her more than he lets on, as he seems to prefer sppending time with Walter to taking their relationship to the next step.
On a vacation to Hollywood (one that's supposed to celebrate Gary and Mary's 10 year anniversary), Gary and Walter find out that an evil oil tycoon named Tex Richman wants ot buy the old dilapidated Muppet studios so he can demolish it and drill for oil that's supposed to be buried underneath. What follows then is baically a "getting the band back together" quest where they try to reunite the Muppets to put on a telethon to raise the money to keep the studio.
All in all, I did really like this nostalgic romp. In a few ways, it reminded me of Toy Story 3, except this one wasn't so heavy on the theme of mortality, had a more lighter tone overall, and didn't make me bawl my eyes out, though I did of course tear up a few times. I mean, who can make it through "The Rainbow Connection" and not be moved?
It's very clear that Jason Segel truly does love The Muppets, and the film is full of all sosrts of references, in jokes, and his deep appreciation, which is why it sucks that his vision ultimately prevented Frank Oz from being involved in any way, mostly do to disagreements about the script and direction of the story. Even without Frank, this is still a nice piece of work, even if it does have some issues, at least for me.
I know the film is supposed to be fun and campy, but awkward villain songs, especially rap ones, are just really embarassing, painful, and something I'd prefer not to watch. Sorry Chris Cooper. I love you, but never rap again. At least it's a short song, but still. Also, I really loved the direction this film started to take in the last oh, 10 minutes or so, especially when it really started to get mature, bittersweet, and be somewhat of a downer. That was brilliant, and it sucks becuase they didn't go all the way through with it, instead copping out during the END CREDITS! Come on! I hate bringing this up again, but Toy Story 3 had more guts than this, even if I knew that in that film they probably wouldn't totally go through with it either, they at least didn't do a complete 180 degree turnaroiund with the tone. Although, to be fair, the slap in the face that this film does to the audience is kind of funny in retrospect, even if it is a bit disappointing.
The performance are fine, and I loved seeing the old gang back together. As good as the human character are though, I couldn't help but notice that the humans seemed more artificial and wooden in their performances than the Muppets. I can understand being in on the joke, and acting like it, but this is a bit much. However, I didn't hate their work, cuz it's Amy Adams and Jason Segel- two of the msot likeable people ever. Plus, there's some obviously great cameos too, as per tradition.
Yeah, I've been a bit hard on this film, but it's hard not to be. That's just how much of an impact and legacy the Muppets have, I don't know what the future holds for the gang, but if nothing happens after this, I can be satisfied with this little return, as it is better than nothing. Plus, my gripes are really just a ton of nitpicking anyway.