I liked the new Muppet movie THE MUPPETS. I enjoyed myself. I was glad to see the Muppets back on the big screen. I’m a child of the 70s, so Muppets are go-to nostalgia, an easy target. However, a few things bothered me about this latest entry:
- This new Muppets movie is strangely segregated. There are large portions of the movie that have either humans or Muppets, but not both. Previous Muppet movies always depicted a world where Muppets were a part of the general population, always mixed in with human characters. This made me feel strange, mostly because I don’t know what the word is for being prejudiced against Muppets (Muppcist?).
- The tone early on is aggressively sad. There’s so much weepy nostalgia slathered on the front-end of this picture (the Muppets used to be great, now we’re not even friends anymore) that it might bum you out.
- The script spent way too much time on the relationship between humans Jason Segel and Amy Adams. This is a Muppet movie. I do not care about Jason Segel or Amy Adams. I care about Muppets.
- Musical numbers felt oddly paced and generally went on too long. Especially the excruciating Amy-Adams-Singing-Alone-In-A-Diner-With-No-Muppets number (which later became an awkward sort-of duet with Miss Piggy). The exception is the Chris Cooper rapping number (mercifully short). I felt the movie could have used more original songs, in shorter numbers spaced throughout the running time.
- Strange choices for popular song covers. Although not outside the realm of the original Muppet Show, Nirvana and Cee Lo Green were odd selections. And “We Built This City” during the theater cleaning montage was just a bad idea (an original song was needed here).
- Frank Oz is a cranky old man. He’s quoted as saying “I don’t think they respected the characters.” (Wired) which is total bullshit. Despite my complaints, I think it’s clear in the movie that there’s a lot of love for the Muppets from the filmmakers. Some questionable choices, sure, but it was hardly disrespectful.