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Movie Review

The Muppets

MPAA Rating: PG for some mild rude humor.

Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family
Genre:
Musical Kids Family Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 38 min.
Year of Release:
2011
USA Release:
November 23, 2011 (wide—3,300+ theaters)
DVD: March 20, 2012
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

music in the Bible

Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Jason SegelGary
Amy AdamsMary
Chris CooperTex Richman
Alan ArkinTour Guide
Zach GalifianakisHobo Joe
Emily BluntMiss Piggy’s Receptionist
Neil Patrick Harris
John Krasinski
Rashida Jones … CDE Executive
Steve Whitmire … Kermit/Beaker/Statler/Rizzo (voice)
Eric Jacobson … Miss Piggy/Fozzie Bear/Animal/Sam Eagle/Marvin Suggs (voice)
Dave Goelz … Gonzo/Dr. Bunsen Honeydew/Zoot/Beauregard/Waldorf/Kermit Moopet (voice)
Ken Jeong’Punch Teacher’ Host
more »
Director: James Bobin
Producer: Mandeville Films
Muppets Studio
Walt Disney Pictures
more »
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“They’re closer than you think.”

While I’m not quite old enough to remember much about the original “Muppet Show”, the muppets were still a tradition in my house as a kid. One of my fondest childhood memories is when my mom, dad, brother, and I would gather around our small television and brand new (hand-me-down) VCR to watch a recorded version of “The Muppets Take Manhattan”. We must have watched that film dozens of times, along with other muppet classics like “The Great Muppet Caper” and “The Muppet Movie”. With Fozzie’s bad jokes, Animal’s drum playing, and Kermit’s “never fail” attitude, there was a muppet, and a joke, for every kid (and adult). It is a shame that the last two decades of children have not had the pleasure of seeing the muppets in all their low-tech, quirky glory. Never fear muppet fans, because the muppets are back and better than ever.

In the new film, simply titled “The Muppets”, Gary (Jason Segel) and his brother Walter (who, coincidentally, happens to look just like a muppet) grew up like many children from the 70s and 80s: adoring the muppets. Gary decides to take Walter and his long term girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to Los Angeles to see the old Muppet studio and take a tour of the place. They arrive to find that, just like almost all of America, no one in Los Angeles seems to care about the Muppets anymore. The place is barren and is about to be destroyed by the menacing Tex Richman (Chris Cooper). The only way to save the studio is for Walter, Gary, and Mary to find Kermit and the rest of the gang, and have them put on a show to save the studio. This sets the plot in motion that will hopefully lead to a saved studio, a return of popularity for the muppets, and lots of zany fun and musical numbers along the way.

When word got out that Disney was planning to return Jim Henson’s Muppets to the big screen, no one could have expected Jason Segel, the star of such R rated films as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, to helm the project. It turns out that Segel is a long time Muppets fan, and his reverence for the franchise shows in the film. The only disappointing thing to report is that the voice of Frank Oz is not on display in the movie.

Everything about “The Muppets” is spot on, and it will make many adults feel like they are eight years old all over again. From the ironic, quirky musical numbers to the melodramatic love of Kermit and Miss Piggy, this film was made for every fan of the original muppets, as well as children of all ages. The actors ham it up appropriately. Amy Adams (“Enchanted”) is no stranger to musicals, and her great singing voice is utilized here. Chris Cooper is hilariously over the top as the villain, Tex Richman. Cameos by Jack Black, Alan Arkin, Zach Galifianakis, and many more are a welcome addition to the already excellent cast of humans and puppets.

One of the best things about the Muppets, that is still true in this new film, is their values. While most modern children’s movies are high tech and heavy on comedy and slapstick humor, “The Muppets” has heart at its center. The message of the muppets has always been sincere, not cynical: be yourself, respect others, and it’s okay if you’re different. This message is such a great one that still rings true, even from the mouths of fuzzy puppets.

There are a few minor content issues, like some mild bathroom humor and one use of “butt” and “heck”, but, overall, “The Muppets” is good clean fun for the whole family.

At the screening I attended, it was clear that adults in the audience enjoyed “The Muppets” even more than their children did. That’s not to say that the children were not enjoying themselves. It’s hard to compare, though, to the many adults who were transported back to their childhood living room floors, watching a grainy television set come alive with muppets of all shapes and sizes. As I left the theater, I selfishly hoped that children would grasp on to these characters, just as I did as a child, so that I could have a reason to go back to the theater for more adventures with my old friends, “The Muppets.”

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Simply stated… good family film for all ages and exactly what you would expect from a Muppet’s movie. There is no objectionable content, and I mean zero. The movie was light-hearted, funny, and will bring back good memories to anyone who as a child watched and enjoyed the Muppets. My wife, 11 year old daughter, and 8 year old son went to see it with me. My son and wife loved it. My daughter thought it was OK.

The 1st hour was funny, but it did slow down a little after that. I think it could have been easily rated G, so you should feel comfortable taking any age.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Brad, age 40 (USA)
Positive—I remember growing up to the Muppets and couldn’t wait to see this movie they were making. I was impressed for the most part. Yeah, the music was a little cheesy, but that was intentional and seemed to fit the film appropriately. The acting was good, by both the Muppet voices, Jason Segal, Amy Adams, and even Chris Cooper. I was also impressed by all the cameo appearances, as well. Overall I can recommend this film to families. Good job Disney! Keep up the good work!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Alexander Malsan, age 21 (USA)
Positive—This was a great movie! My family, with 17 people ranging from 4 year old to my mother in her 70’s went on Thanksgiving. All of us enjoyed this film very much. The audience was about 70% adults and they were enjoying the humor as much or more than the kids. Some older ladies behind us laughed through the movie. There were no objectionable words or concepts. The actors really did a great job of getting into the scenes. The humor and songs were good.

All in all one of the most enjoyable movies I have seen in some time. I recommend this movie to all ages.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Luke, age 50 (USA)
Positive—I have a soft spot for corny, happy musicals… so although the humor and song choices of this film weren’t quite up to the same level of genius as the original Muppet show and movies, I still enjoyed it very much. Though I wish that some of my favorite characters had more screen time (particularly Gonzo, Dr. Teeth and the other band members), I thought that the voice casting was spot on with sounding like the originals. It was fun to spot all the celebrity cameos. For me, one of the high points was watching Chris Cooper act so goofy as the arch-villain!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
Positive—ARE YOU A MAN OR A MUPPET? a MUPPET OF A MAN OR A MANLY MUPPET? I dare you to see this wonderful movie. It brings the old gang back together and your memories will flow if you are older than… miss piggy. Laughing you will do if you don’t croak from laughing. Get it croak RIBBIT RIBBIT… this movie has singing and dancing and more singing and dancing. And oh yeah look for the stars. AND I’m not talking about miss piggy. I will say occasionally you will think the movie is for younger watchers. But remember IT IS a good movie for the whole family so let it hold your kids attention and let them taste what we loved years ago.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Kermit (aka RockinRon) (USA)
Positive—I grew up on The Muppets. It’s everything I expected. Overall, a pretty good movie. Just wish they used the old guys more .
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tony Andrews, age 48 (Canada)
Positive—I just took my three kids (ages 9, 7, 3) to see “The Muppets.” There were several “kids” movies available, so I read the reviews on this Web site before choosing one. I have to say, I whole heartedly agree with the positive reviews. This movie was enjoyable for my all three of my kids, as well as for my husband and myself.

There are some 80’s references that will go over the kids” heads, but they are not inappropriate… more nostalgic for the adults.

…One thing to note, the main human characters were boyfriend and girlfriend (not married), and they were taking a trip together to LA to celebrate their anniversary. In the few scenes that took place in the hotel room, there were two separate beds. However, there was NO sexual innuendo or suggestive language at all. There was a scene where a celebrity host was kidnapped and tied up, but it was done with a lot of humor, not violence. The same for the few “fight” scenes. I think we all know that Ms. Piggie goes—-Hi-YAH! and karate chops things, and in this movie she also jumped on a character and wrapped her legs around his neck/face as she “Hi-Yah’ed” him.

I admit, I tend to be pretty conservative with what movies I allow my children to watch, but I had NO CONCERNS with this movie. (I actually have no idea why it wasn’t rated G). It was a great family film that we all enjoyed. The message was very positive—working together, believing in yourself, and having self-confidence. I would highly recommend it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Michelle K., age 35 (USA)
Negative

none

Comments from young people
Positive—The new Muppet movie is a film, I believe, Christians everywhere should support. The reason being is that, in a world where cynical, flashy programs like “Jersey Shore” and “Family Guy” rule the airwaves, and films like “Transformers” or “Twilight” are considered good entertainment, “The Muppets” are different. They’re almost not of this century. Their wholesome brand of humor, meta-references, and heart doesn’t fit in with modern pop culture. They’ve fallen apart, and through the encouragement of a young Muppet named Walter, Kermit and the gang get back together for one last show. There’s laughs, and even sadness along the way. Kermit and Piggy learn that love must come both ways.

But by the end of the movie, you will be crying tears of joy for a group of friends that happen to be bears, and pigs, and frogs, and rock-n-roll bands, and dogs, and whatevers. I believe that it has a good, yet secular worldview, as shown by “Life’s a Happy Song” (the big musical number of the film). Although it does have some comic violence and rude humor (“fart shoes” on Fozzie Bear), it’s really a great Thanksgiving treat for the whole family.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ben, age 15 (USA)
Positive—This movie was excellent!!! I went with my brother In-Law, sisters, brother, niece and nephew. We all enjoyed it very much!

I grew up with the Muppet movies and TV show, and I knew the movie would be GREAT, and it was. My favorite part about the movie was that it was meant for the whole family. I didn’t notice one bad comment. It was clean the whole way through. Disney did a great job, and I recommend it for ever age. It will make you laugh and smile.

Don’t miss the last outstanding family movie of the year. I hope you enjoy THE MUPPETS!! God bless.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jonathan P., age 17 (USA)
Negative—…It was THE worst movie I have ever seen in my life. …The reason I did not give it a zero is because I loved the ending, because the movie was finally over. Do not waste your money on this creepy junk of a movie. Go see something that is clean and good, such as “Hugo.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Ryguy, age 14 (USA)
Positive—A super clean, wholesome, funny, family movie! Take everybody with you!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Emily, age 13 (USA)
Positive—The Muppets are back! This was an excellent family film! There was no objectionable content, but there were a few liberal undertones, and a lot of the cameo actors… very inappropriate to have in a kids movie. All in all, The Muppet’s is one I will be enjoying for a very, very, long time!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Koji Moto, age 17 (USA)