The Muppets is One of Year’s Best

At one point in the writing process, I considered putting this review to song—that’s how much I enjoyed The Muppets, opening in theatres Wednesday. It’s the best comedy of the year.

Jason Segal and co. have done for the Muppets what J.J. Abrams did for Star Trek: revitalize a massively popular franchise that had lost its way. James Bobin brings a thoroughly hip directorial style to the film.

But the film isn’t a conventional reboot either; the story draws much from the Muppets’ past stardom. And past it is at the start: Fozzie Bear is quasi-homeless in Reno.

Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, and the rest of the gang are soon extracted from their decades-long funk through the dedication of their number one fan, Walter. A new Muppet himself, Walter is the most lovable on screen character since WALL-E (or maybe Dug).

Supporting roles Gary (played by co-writer Segal), Mary (Amy Adams), Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) and TV exec Veronica (Rashida Jones) bring an endearing sitcom-like quality to the film but never overshadow our felt friends.

Are you getting it? Everything about this movie works! Characters, story, script, visuals and… the music!

“Life’s a Happy Song” is a lock for the Best Original Song Oscar, though it might get some competition from Kermit’s sentimental “Pictures in My Head”. If at least two of the film’s songs aren’t performed in their entirety at the Oscars, the Academy needs to be shut down.

The Muppets should be an Oscar and Golden Globe contender in several other categories as well, including Best Picture. If I were running Disney’s awards campaigns, there would be a massive effort to get it nominated for the top awards.

Disney would be crazy not to greenlight a sequel, if they haven’t already. At a reported $40 million, The Muppets’ budget was a fraction of that of a Pixar feature. The box office potential is just as big.

Once all but forgotten, Jim Henson’s Muppets are poised to become a new star franchise for Disney with myriad opportunities in film, TV, merchandising, and parks. Let’s hope that happens.

Note: Pixar’s latest Toy Story Toon, Small Fry, is attached to The Muppets. For me it was a very rare disappointment from the studio. (I liked Cars 2.) You can read my review here.

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About Mike Bastoli

Mike Bastoli has been blogging at The Disney Blog since 2009. Until 2011, he covered Pixar Animation Studios on his own website, The Pixar Blog, which became one of the most popular on the Web dedicated to Pixar news, the New York Times calling it the “definitive unofficial chronicler of the animation powerhouse". In 2011, Mike expanded his coverage to the entire world of feature animation, renaming his site Big Screen Animation. He retired Big Screen Animation in 2014 and is considering future writing opportunities. Besides Disney, Mike is an avid fan of Apple and The Beatles. He resides near Toronto.
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13 Responses to The Muppets is One of Year’s Best

  1. Todd says:

    This comes off as very bias. Weird review…Best Picture, really?! You know for a fact that it isn’t possible for them to get nominated for the soul fact that they are Muppets. Seems too kid centric for Oscars. Very odd review…since everything is THE BEST EVER! I don’t know…just my opinion.

    • sputnik says:

      Clearly he means it’s one of the most enjoyable films of the year. Albeit, this could very well turn out as strong as say Toy Story 3 or UP. But to read so far into this review that you think he was stating The Muppets will in fact be nominated for Best Picture come awards season is just going a tad far in your interpretation. He was merely stating his opinion within a review that this is one of the years best (most enjoyable) films to see. Nothing to get your panties in bunch over.

      • Jay Rambo says:

        No…this isn’t something just read into the review…

        “The Muppets should be an Oscar and Golden Globe contender in several other categories as well, including Best Picture.”

        I hope it’s that great. I wasn’t thrilled with the Star Trek reboot, just from a concept level. Hopefully this is just a refresh, not a reboot (with different origins, etc.)

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  7. Steve Marine says:

    I too loved the movie. (Saw a sneak preview last Thursday.) I’m a long-time Muppet fan and this is the first Muppet film since “Muppets Take Manhattan” that is of the superior quality of those first three Muppet films. (And it almost plays like a sequel to “MTM”) HIGHLY recommended.

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