Monday, November 28, 2011

Movie Night: The Muppets

There's something amusingly circuitous about this film. It's a tribute to The Muppet Show, which was itself a tribute to the variety show, which was in turn a tribute to/reinvention of vaudeville. So The Muppets is an act of nostalgia for a time when we were nostalgic for nostalgia. It shows, too, in the outlandishly 50's intro and the old-school show-stopping musical numbers. All carried off in a very tongue-in-cheek manner. For example, after the first song and dance routine -- involving an entire sitcom small-town -- the main characters head off-screen on their adventure and the rest of the populace collapses in exhaustion.

I was going to complain that the human characters were irrelevant to the plot, but then I realized: DUH! This is old-school muppetry. The plot itself is irrelevant. The point is simply to string together as many gags, song and dance numbers, and celebrity cameos as they can. And in this respect, Jason Segal and Amy Adams are exemplary, as is Chris Cooper. His character is probably the most disposable of all, but he hams it up just enough and has the funniest song in the movie to boot.

This could have gone wrong in a lot of ways: too "edgier", too much focus on the plot, too self-indulgent. But they dodged all the bullets and hit most of their marks with expertise. Top-notch work. I hear it's been a huge success critically, and done rather well financially too. Sequel coming, methinks...

Fringe benefit: an awesome batch of trailers, especially for animation fans. Brave looks interesting, if cliche, The Lorax is surprisingly appealing, and Mirror, Mirror looks like it could be a good time. But the one that really got me amped was Tintin:


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