I had been waiting quite impatiently for “The Muppets” to make it’s way to theaters since I saw the first trailer for it. The original 1978 “Muppet Movie” was the first movie I remember going to a theater to see, and as a kid I remember watching The Muppet Show on TV. The new “Muppets” was very obviously targeted towards my demographic (and that’s actually pretty rare, to find something targeted towards my forgotten 30/40-something GenX group.. we’re very often cast aside in marketing which seems to favor either the aging Boomers or the young GenYs/Millenials.) Yes, my age group was exactly who this movie is reaching out towards: People who remember the originals as kids, and have kids of their own to take to a theater. Yes, it worked!
The entire Muppet cast was reunited for this movie, and when I say “entire” I mean ENTIRE. If you watch closely, you will see every Muppet character is present. Some of the Muppet puppets are the original puppet, and some that had been lost or destroyed had to be remade, but they were all there. Sam the Eagle, Statler & Waldorf (my personal favorite Muppets, as they remind me of my Grandpa R), Beaker & Bunsen.. they’re all back and voiced perfectly. Watching this was like being wrapped in a pre-warmed down blanket and time-warped back to the 70’s. (In a good way, not in a foil wallpaper, avocado green bathroom fixture kind of way.) Sure, it’s gooey-feel-good and more than a bit cheesy but it’s a GOOD cheese. Like a bag of cheese curds bought still warm from the cheese factory and they still squeak when you chew them.
The movie starts out with a 70’s flashback and the “brothers” growing up together, and we go with them on their journey to LA to see the Muppet Theater. The fixing-up of the theater and travels to reunite the Muppet gang are predictable but still fun to see. The villains are villainous, the good guys are good and while we all have a a pretty good inkling of how the movie is going to end, it’s not quite what we think it’s going to be! Plenty of song & dance numbers and, just like the original Muppet Movie, lots of celebrity cameos throughout. The actors & Muppeteers are absolutely seamless in their interactions together, and I think they prove beyond doubt that yes, Muppets most certainly DO have a place in the modern world! Welcome back, Muppets.