There is no question that the role the Muppets have played in pop culture and entertainment for the last ten years has been almost nonexistent. With little presence outside of some more recent youtube videos, the studio has been quiet. Many fans over the years have wondered where they have gone and to what strange and mysterious shenanigans have been in the works. Only recently was the world gifted with their presence in their first feature film in twelve years, The Muppets.
The film is written by both Nicholas Stoller, best known for his work on Forgetting Sarah Marshal and Get Him to the Greek and Jason Segel well known for his role as Marshall in How I Met Your Mother (which stars the great Neil Patrick Harris) and Peter in Forgetting Sarah Marshal, who also stars in the film as Gary, older brother and best friend to the main protagonist, Walter. The plot of the film revolves around Walter, an adopted child who is in fact, a Muppet himself. With dreams of joining the cast of his favorite TV show, Walter is invited to travel with his older brother to Los Angeles to visit the Muppet Theater and Studio as part of an anniversary vacation for Gary and his girlfriend, Mary, played by Amy Adams (her most notable role is Giselle in Enchanted).
On this vacation, Walter uncovers a plot by an evil oil baron, Tex Richman, played by Chris Cooper to take over the Muppet Studio and tear it down to drill for oil. In order to save the studio, the long disbanded Muppets, must get back together and raise $10,000,000 in a telethon at the theater.
The plot is seemingly straightforward, but, as the story unfolds, you start to see a strange side unknown to the audience ever in the history of the Muppets. You see the struggling, emotional side of a hermit Kermit, destined to wallow in loneliness. You see Miss Piggy, a successful independent woman who still dwells in the past and what could have been. It is so strange to see these elements in a Muppet film, but, mixing them with the familiar comedic performances seemed like a match made in heaven.
Do not think that the jokes are missing, however. The film does an amazing job of weaving song and dance numbers, montages and homages to the history of the Muppets. It is hard to describe what makes the Muppets charming to the audience. It is not the nostalgia of them, but the reimagining. A combination of the pure magic of the original TV show and films, stirred with the abstract and random comedy that is popular today, as well as the serious and more heartfelt themes make up the elation elicited in the film.
You must see it, not only for a nostalgic shot, but for a glimpse at the future, to see what the Muppets were and how they are and to laugh, cry and be moved in the magical journey called, The Muppets.