Friday, November 18, 2011

Second Age Reviews: The Muppet Movie

One of the things I have insisted my entire life is that nostalgia will not save a product. If something I loved as a kid no longer holds up to scrutiny as an adult, then the fact that I loved it as a kid will not keep me from ignoring it. What this doesn't mean is that I hate everything from my childhood, just that it must stand up to scrutiny as an adult. And one thing that consistently stands up to adult scrutiny is The Muppet Movie.

Sing along if you know the words. A frog named Kermit, living in the swamps of who-knows-where meets an agent who tells him he has talent and suggests he go to Hollywood to seek his fortune. Along the way he meets a bear named Fozzy, a whatsit named Gonzo, a pig named...well Miss Piggy and begins a journey to Hollywood, chased by a slightly psychotic frog leg salesman (no, really).

One of the things I still love about the Muppets is their humor can appeal to multiple age groups, and not in a stupid pop-culture references way like Shrek. For example as a kid I enjoyed the often intentionally lame puns (which, as my viewing companion pointed out, were very similar in style and presentation to Looney Toons) and the fourth wall breaking that defined the Muppets style. As an adult, I still appreciate those things, but I also enjoy many of the jokes that would go right over a lot of kids heads. To wit, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem remain a very broad hippy joke (come on, their bassist is named Sgt. Floyd Pepper, the references couldn't be any louder if you screamed them). As a kid, I never would have gotten that but as an adult (and a Beatles and Pink Floyd fan) the gag really does appeal to me.

Of course, what Muppet movie would be complete without numerous guest stars and The Muppet Movie does not disappoint. Madeline Kahn, Steve Martin Richard Pryor, Bob motherfucking Hope, GOD HIMSELF (That's Orson Welles, for those of you who don't speak fluent film student). Hell, the guest stars manage to include other Muppets (Big Bird shows up 'on his way to NYC to break into public television' HA) and behind the scenes (John Landis and Tim Burton!, 6 years before Pee Wee's Big Day, were called in to help control the hundreds of Muppets for the finale).

Honestly, I don't know what to say about this that hasn't been said already. It's probably the best movie the Muppets ever made, it's funny, engaging and ever so slightly sweet at times. If you haven't seen it, you definitely should, especially if you have kids. So you do that and I'll see you later.

Elessar is a 21 year old cinephile and he still gets Rainbow Connection confused with Imagine.

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