The Muppets Disappoints

The Muppets, the seventh film bringing Jim Henson’s The Muppets to the silver screen, is receiving tremendous critical and popular acclaim. It currently holds a 97% rating, “Certified Fresh,” on Rotten Tomatoes, gets 4.5 stars out of 5 from the viewing public, and even claimed a very glowing review here on this very blog.

I’m afraid it falls to me to be a dissenting voice. *Warning Spoilers*

We’ve seen this movie before. It’s essentially The Muppet Movie all over again. Another film it shares tremendous similarity with is The Country Bears. Any commonality with Bears is not a good thing as far as the box office goes. Someone pick up the phone and let Disney Studios know that ‘We’re getting the band back together’ has been done… a lot. I’m tired of this silly old plot and it would have been nice to see something else instead.

The songs just did not have that old Muppets magic. That’s not to say they weren’t good songs. “Life’s a Happy Song” and “Man or Muppet” were great songs. But they weren’t about “The Muppets.” They were part of the human love interest ‘B’ story, which drove too much of the movie, a movie about muppets, not humans.

The only song that really captured the old Muppets magic was “The Rainbow Connection”, itself a classic song and the emotional high point of the movie. It was like seeing an old friend again, which is what the rest of the movie should have felt like, but didn’t.

Part of the reason it wasn’t a family reunion was because most of the family wasn’t invited. There just were not enough Muppets in the film. During the credits, the list of Muppets and puppeteers scrolled by the screen so quickly that you’d miss it if you took a sip of soda. That was sad. This is a movie about Muppets it should have been filled to the brim with Muppets. It is as if the producers thought “Hey let’s throw a few nostalgic winks in there and it will make them happy.” But to me it was the sound of those holding the purse strings saying we can’t afford to pay those puppeteers. The budget for the film is said to be around $40 million. They must have put that into the sets and the big production numbers, because they didn’t put it into actual Muppets.

I watched the first half of the film waiting for the funny light-hearted moments that make me love the Muppets. Instead, almost every scene fell flat. The road montage was good because I didn’t have to sit through more tepid humor. The script was too adult, often depressing in tone, and never really picked up momentum. The pace increased a bit when they finally reached Muppet Theater (great synergy having the El Capitan sit in for the Muppet Theater) and they began to capture some of that old glory.

I never really felt the any tension in the film. Kermit and Miss Piggy ( and Gonzo!) were successful, they didn’t need to get back together. The rest of the plot was so flimsy that a bump on the villains head eliminated it. Yes, they did wink knowingly at the audience a few times indicating that even they knew the plot was weak. But a few moments of humor, does not make a good movie. They really needed to develop some better conflict. The only thing going for this movie was the fact that I wanted to see the Muppets succeed and even that fell flat in terms of conflict, there never really was a chance of the Muppets succeeding with a telethon.

For me, The Muppets, never really left. They’ve been around in the theme parks, on YouTube, on DVDs and VHS tapes, in guest appearances on the Disney Channel. They tried a quick revival with some Disney Channel mini-shows, but that was more about the Disney Channel star than the Muppets. I think they would have been better just bringing back the old Muppet Show variety style. Audiences would have been just as excited at that as a new movie.

As the credits rolled, the question formed in my mind, is this enough to revive The Muppets as a franchise? As we established above, this was a financially affordable film. Unless word of mouth does it in, The Muppets will likely make everything back over the 1st week of its run. So that’s a good sign. I think this film could be enough, but I remain cautious.

Things I would have liked to have seen:

  • The rest of the Muppet Studio. Surely there were some funny bits they could have filmed with the Muppets returning to their old haunts. Dr. Benson Honeydew and Beaker in the lab, Gonzo’s bag of tricks, etc.
  • The moment when Walter realizes he’s a Muppet, adopted, etc… Where it all falls into place.
  • Mary and Gary actually sharing a romantic moment that wasn’t couched in their isolated world.
  • Much better and many more celebrity cameos. The telethon could have been filled with great moments of celebrities coming out of the woodwork of Hollywood to support the Muppets. Instead we got a few fleeting seconds with a real motley crew. Whoopi and Neal Patrick Harris were great, but where were the rest? And come on, James Carville? Not a celebrity.

So how does this movie rank in terms of the other Muppet movies? Here’s my list:

1. The Muppet Movie (1979)
2. The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
3. The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
4. Muppet Treasure Island (1996)
5. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
6. Muppets from Space (1999)
7. The Muppets (2011)

I could go on, but I’m going to stop. I don’t want to shovel dirt on The Muppets franchise. I really want it to succeed and for the Muppets to return to their position of pop-icons. I will say that my 8 year old son squirmed a lot through the first half of the film, but claims he really enjoyed it. Others watching the film in our theater actually applauded at the end. So it might be that I’m in the minority.

If you loved The Muppets or feel it fell short, please tell us why in the comments.

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63 Responses to The Muppets Disappoints

  1. Ali says:

    I really enjoyed the movie. Granted I never saw the original show but I’ve seen the old Muppet movies and I’ve seen the show at MGM (i refuse to cal it Hollywood studios) and I think this was a smart move for Disney to try and bring the franchise back. The muppets definitely died out and needed this facelift for old and new audiences alike.

    I thought the humor was hilarious and it was a great feel good movie. I went to see it at 10 pm and the audience was practically all Adults and everyone kept laughing throughout the film. I personally left the theatre singing the “Man or Muppet ” song.

  2. john says:

    I’m a die hard Muppet fan and I think it’s freakin’ amazing. BTW, die hard Muppet fan means, like, Walter-level fandom. So imma pretty durn hippy wit’ dis one. (Those misspellings were intentional–read it phonetically and it’s kind of funny.)

  3. Kristi says:

    There was a lot of laughter and ending applause at our theater as well. I truly enjoyed it and my daughter was completely emmersed and on the edge of her seat pulling for the muppets. I love the new character Walter. I thought it was just fine to put a portion of the show on developing this new character/muppet. It was a feel good, nostalgic couple of hours and it felt like the Muppets were joining popular culture where they belong.

  4. Tim says:

    I agree that The Muppets was disappointing. It feels like the ingredients were there for something truly special and the finished product was just…okay. I appreciate the affection the makers clearly have for the Muppets and their legacy but the movie they made feels more like a tribute than a true Muppet movie. Walter’s story could have had a lot more punch than the movie achieves but it is handled somewhat halfheartedly. Like John said in his post, if this movie helps to revive the franchise I can accept it’s place in the Muppet canon. I just wish it could have been better.

    • Amanda Correia says:

      I completely agree. While I enjoyed the movie on the surface, I thought it tried to be too many things at once without actually following through fully on any one particular idea. I would have enjoyed to see what the movie would have been without the human characters. Though I love both Jason Segal and Amy Adams, neither of them really provided any real contribution to the movie. I thought that overall, there was way too much time spent on the “human’s” story and adventure, and not nearly enough about the actual Muppets themselves. I wish there had been more of a focus on the characters other than Kermit, Miss Piggy and Animal.

      I found the film fun and uplifting, and I think it does accomplish what Disney was trying to do, which was rejuvenating the Muppets franchise. However, from a critical standpoint, it was structured too much like a fairytale, and unfortunately, fell flat. I don’t know how much that is going to matter for the little ones who now have their own Muppet movie, but for those of us who were expecting greatness from this film, it just didn’t deliver. Additionally, I would like to point out that there were definitely some obvious mistakes, which is just frustrating. For example, every time Fozzie spoke (all three times, which was hardly enough), I couldn’t help focus on how wrong his voice was, which completely brought me out of the movie. Those are things that should not have happened.

      In all, I agree with John — it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. The Muppets weren’t dead in my mind, so it was hard to fall in love with a movie which focuses entirely on how nobody cares about them anymore. Working at the Jim Henson Company, I KNOW that is not true, taking into account how relatively frequently they still appear in the media. As a very loyal Disney and Muppet fan, I unfortunately don’t know if they fully understood what they were trying to accomplish before they embarked on this project.

      • Kaz says:

        I will agree – Fozzie’s voice not being quite right did distract me a bit…

      • Nate says:

        “The Muppets weren’t dead in my mind, so it was hard to fall in love with a movie which focuses entirely on how nobody cares about them anymore.”

        Amen. Amen x 1000.

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  6. TCA says:

    Agree completely with John – I wanted so badly to love this movie. And I suppose I found it a little charming. But it missed the mark for me. It’s not that the plot was hackneyed — it was, but that wasn’t a problem for me. Really, I think they had some fun with that — the fact that the antagonist was such a stock-character villain should speak to the fact that the creative team knew the main story arc has been done numerous times over.

    Where I’m 100% on board with John:

    – the songs range from mediocre to good, but never great
    – the focus on the non-Muppet love story was tedious and not what I wanted out of a Muppet movie
    – there were not nearly enough Muppets in the film. So much of the frenetic energy and humor that the Muppets brand was built on just wasn’t in the film; I think the variable most at fault for this is the fact that we really don’t get all the Muppets together until they get to Muppet theater; it took a *long* time (halfway through the film?) before we get significant screen time for any of the Muppets save Walter and Kermit.

    I’m happy I saw it. I don’t want my money back. It was a nice nostalgia trip — and I really hope Disney can build from here. But I doubt I’ll ever hunger for a repeat viewing, and when I want my Muppets fix, I’ll go back to the DVD sets of the show or The Muppet Movie. I just couldn’t make myself love this, and I really wanted to.

  7. Tron says:

    This movie was a good movie I went in knowing that the movie was going to be a lets get the gang back together and I didn’t expect any more. Everything from the OG opening number with Gonzo blowing his horn was meet. What I would like to see is Disney take this ball and run with it. Bring back the Muppet Show to TV. If I was a movie star and this I am not I would work with the Muppets for free. The chance to entertain kids and have fun on a variety show would be pay enough. Come on Disney don’t fail us know like you did with The LIGHT MAGIC Parade.

  8. Carrie says:

    Take my advice: See it twice. The second time you’ll stop comparing it to all the other movies and counting Muppets and worrying about how it affects the franchise and just enjoy it. It happened to me!

  9. Victor says:

    I like the movie for what it is, a retooled version of Jim Henson’s characters for the current generation, with all the pop culture and self-referential humor.

    That being said, the movie falls flat in its sincerity. There’s no endearing quality to the characters, their motivations, or the plot. Jim Henson did a fantastic job in keeping his Muppet movies down-to-earth while retaining the zany humor you saw in the television show. This movie seems to be a 21st century single-camera, devoid of laugh track sitcom that incidentally stars the Muppet gang and just so happens to have a vague connection to its past.

    Even though that’s how I feel, I would think that for many not-so-hardcore Muppet fans and just new audiences that’ve never seen the Muppets before, it’s very satisfying and refreshing to watch a good ol fashion comedy filled with explosions, fourth wall breaking, and slapstick humor.

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  11. Kaz says:

    I saw the movie a while ago, but it also struck me that the songs were not quite as memorable, and that it did take a while to hit its stride (as John said, once they go to the show itself).

    Turns out, there were a lot more cameos than I caught when discussing it with friends… I don’t know if that’s just me not knowing them, or speaks to the strength (or lack thereof) of the cameos.

    On the other hand, I still enjoyed the movie, and was happy to see the Muppets back on the big screen. I certainly would not have placed it 7th overall…

  12. Caitie F says:

    Yeah, you are just wrong on every level. THe movie was perfect. The songs were perfect (the opening number was spot on. And there weren’t music for the Muppets? How about Kermit’s first song? That was incredibly Muppet-y.

    The cameos were perfect. James Carville is a HUGE person in this country. To say he is not a celebrity makes me think you think celebrities are only in movies…he was one of the funniest cameos.

    It was perfect. People who don’t think so are just suffering from “Jim Henson can do no worng and no one else can do right” syndrome.

    • Greg says:

      Agreed, I’ve never read a more unrelatable review. What movie were you watching, Frost?? The Muppets could not have been executed more perfectly. The magic was there like never before, and the Muppets were FINALLY done justice after decades of mishandling. If you felt like the Muppets “never left” than your opinion has absolutely no credibility, and 97% of critics and audiences appear to agree.

  13. Angela Sledz says:

    Really, not enough cameos? Our whole theatre was in tears with laughter when Jim Parsons showed up… perfect! and there was fiest, mickey rooney, selena gomez, the kid from modern family, neil patrick harris, whoopi, zack galefinakis, Dave Grohl (as the moopets animal drummer…. perfect!), john krasinski, jack black, sarah silverman… those are just who I noticed without looking it up. There are some pretty big stars in there… but Im 25, so maybe older people dont know which celebrities are relevant right now?

    I loved the movie and our whole theater applauded at the end as well, definitely enjoyed by everyone :)

    • Amanda Correia says:

      I think the point is that a lot of the cameos were ones that WOULD only be appreciated by 20-something-year-olds. Zack Galefinakis…John Krasinski…Sarah Silverman…there really weren’t a lot of BIG names in the movie that everyone would be able to appreciate. Plus, did they really have to use Jack Black twice? Couldn’t they have found one other celebrity to be the host? To me, it did seem a bit lacking on this front.

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  15. Tuckenie says:

    Yeah I call shenanagans on your review. We knew it was going to be a “we’re getting the gang back together!” movie for close to two years now. That causes fatigue with the very concept. It’s not really fair to blame the filmmakers for that. I mean the whole plot is in the first non-parody trailer. Sure it’s thin. So are all of the other muppet movies. (It’s also the plot of Muppets Take Manhatten.) You’ve been pumping the marketing for six months and that causes hype to build up beyond reality, now you’re turning around and complaining because it is exactly the same thing you’ve been hyping. Were you not paying attention to what was on your site?

    I think you’ll like it better with some distance and perspective. It helps if you don’t look at it as some attempt to resurrect Jim Henson from the dead and instead a growing into you purpose story with some old friends. I mean think about what you’re saying, do you really believe this movie is worse than Muppets From Space? Really?!

    This review makes me sad. I respect your site a lot so I feel bad that you didn’t experience the sheer joy I felt while watching this film. I hope you come back to it at some point and can enjoy it more because I loved it and think it was terrific.

    • Kaz says:

      I think I agree with you. I was a bit disappointed when I first saw it, but then I realized perhaps I was expecting too much and not enjoying it enough. Over a week or two, discussing it with others, I realized that perhaps it was a better movie than I first thought…

      With any luck, John’ll apologize and tell us he really kind of liked it :)

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  17. InfaMOUSEproject says:

    I do not agree with this review. Sure getting the band back together is a cliche, and sure the plot was already done in one of the Xmas specials, and ok, pepe was barely in there. But the movie made huge retro cameos of muppets from years past. That huge blue thing served no purpose except to being in the opening sequence, and standing in that office was hilarious! Wayne and Wanda? Brilliant! The songs were very nice, and I loved Walter finding his voice. Best line was the moopet fozzie saying “wacka wacka” but traveling by map was also brilliant. There were so many cute parts like sweetums still working at that used car lot, and Rolf wondering why he wasn’t in the montage. The el capitan was great but the cars 2 ads were overkill. I think leaving some characters’ segments out like “pigs in space” or dr honeydoo or the Swedish chef, leaves room for a sequel. This generation doesn’t know the muppets (just ask Selena Gomez) so overloading them with vintage muppets and gags would be too much IMHO. Introducing this generation to our gang was this movies job and I gave it 5 stars. It’s still over 90% on flikster and rotten tomatoes. I think you’re in the minority.

  18. Middlebrow says:

    I look forward to seeing it. This though is now a review of the film – its sort of a review of the Muppets career. Kind of typical of these Disney fan pages – most lack discipline and credibility.

    • Aaron says:

      Thank you so much. While i visit this site because i enjoy the constant and fairly timely news updates about the disney company, this lack of being impressed by something has been more and more prevelant with the larger projects disney has done on recently here.
      And lets be honest, you can’t call yourself a Muppets fan and then misspell character names (Benson Honeydew?)
      Besides who are you to judge who is and isnt a big celebrity? All are much more well known than you are and if you watch most of the early muppet show tv series every week wasn’t some huge blockbuster person.
      It’s a fantastic movie as decided by most critics and the fans alike.
      Can’t say i’m surprised you were unimpressed. you haven’t been impressed by much recently have you

      • Amanda Correia says:

        I think your criticism is harsh. You may notice that the first thing he did before starting his review was link to another Disney Blog author’s post simply raving about the movie. He also noted from the beginning that it has been getting great reviews. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, particularly someone who is an expert on the topic at hand.

  19. Kaz says:

    yeah, true – cliche doesn’t mean it is a bad film. I mean, at least that didn’t go with the cliched plot of a big city/cocky kid on his way to a big paying job out west who gets stuck in a small town and learns to love the simple, small-town lifestyle and the people there, eventually returning.

    Like THAT cliched plot would ever be successful….

    ;)

  20. mzemmaful says:

    I don’t get how this movie has done anything positive for the muppets. Do we see a return of the franchise in the future? To me, this movie did the exact opposite of what in intended to do, namely kill the muppet name forever. It was a sad, slick postcard to what was and what will never be again. Its as if someone at a funeral had finally mentioned the finality of the person’s death. I think that is why Frank Oz and Brian Henson refused to be involved. Would you want something you worked for your whole life to end that way? I will be shocked if anything comes out of this movie.

  21. Tyler says:

    You need to understand great movies, because you sir, do not know what a great movie is. Stop watching those princess movies and start to understand what The Muppets are. You most certainly do not.

  22. jeffrey says:

    I couldnt disagree with you more! I never found it slow. I LOVE the songs, they’ve been on my iPad on repeat for two days now, I can’t get them out of my head. The emotions that the movie evoked, seeing Kermit struggling with his emotions, Gary and Walter’s struggle with their identity, made for a rollercoaster ride from tears of sadness to tears of joy! I saw the movie at a 10pm showing of 90% adults and the entire theatre broke out into applause at the end of the movie! I can’t remember the last time that happened at a movie. As a lifelong Muppet fan I was skeptical going in, but came out super excited that the Muppet franchise has been re-invigorated, and looking forward to more!!

  23. Kim says:

    Really? Wow… this review seems, I dunno, harsh.

    I am a hardcore muppet fan. Hardcore. Like, I have collected every muppet thing I can in the last ten years. And even I will tell you Muppets From Space is pretty horrible. This movie was nowhere near – not even in the same solar system – as Muppets From Space. Thank Jesus.

    For one, I don’t think you can complain about “not enough Muppets” AND “not enough celebrities.” If there are more celebrities, there is even less time for Muppets. More Muppets… less time for celebrities. Which do you want?

    And there were a LOT of Muppets in this movie! A lot of them didn’t have speaking parts, but they’d either have to cut a lot of plot out or make the movie three hours long to give speaking parts to every muppet that every big muppet fan loves. I love Pepe, and I didn’t like that he only got one line, but it didn’t make it a bad movie for me. Heck, Uncle Deathly of all characters was a big character in this. That’s kind of awesome.

  24. Berkana Lynx says:

    I get that it seems cliche, but it made sense to me that they had to go and gather everyone together because for the audience, the Muppets have been gone for awhile. It makes sense that they’ve moved on and are scattered about the globe in their own lives. I thought it was exciting to see them reunite because to me it makes sense. The references throughout of them not being famous anymore and people not knowing who they are were real. I actually teared up a couple of times watching the film, thinking about how much I loved the Muppets growing up, and how they haven’t been around in a long time. I liked the songs and the movie was incredibly touching and funny. Our theater clapped at the end and there was laughter from the audience all through the film. The only issue I had was the focus on the storyline of the people. I agree with the author that there weren’t enough Muppets or Muppet-focused incidents. In the past, Muppet movies centered around Muppets, and the people were on the sidelines. However, I think that in this film, it worked since it was about Walter and Gary is such a big part of Walter’s story. My hope would be that this brings about more Muppet movies and shows – and I’ll settle for anything that brings the Muppets back. Perhaps it will do very well and the next Muppet film will be more focused on the Muppets themselves. Overall, I loved this movie. My son loved this movie. When we left the theater my son’s best friend said, “You know, we’ll get home faster if we travel by map.” and we had a good laugh. Of course, the Muppets aren’t anything new to them – my son was raised on the Muppets because his Mom is a life-long fan :)

  25. David Andora says:

    I went in with not so great expectations along with 8 others who were hoping for something, but not expecting much and we all left absolutely loving it. Smart, funny, modern and thoroughly entertaining. Plus me and one of my friends can’t get that happy song out of our heads…

    I hope this review is the minority.

  26. Lisa says:

    I agree with the original poster. I love the Muppets and went in with very high expectations, and quite frankly came out feeling depressed. I was saddened how the entire movie (up until the very end) was about the fact that the muppets are all has-beens. I think there was a lot of potential for it to be a great movie, but Jason Segel missed the mark completely. If he wanted to go with cheesy song and dance, he should have taken a lesson from the Brady Bunch movies and done an endearing muppet spoof. But if he wanted to do the movie straight, it needed to be kooky, quirky, funny and most importantly uplifting like the original muppet movie and the old shows. Instead he made some depressing movie with cheesy dance numbers with much too much focus on the humans instead of the muppets. Sure there were some funny and nostalgic moments, and I liked Walter, but overall I walked out of the theater saddened by what had become of the muppets. I just hope if there’s a sequel, it’ll be a more uplifting story now that the muppets have all of their fans back. I will say this, if Jason Segel has saved the muppet franchise and has brought them a new generation of fans, then kudos to him…and it’s all worth it.

  27. Mark says:

    I went to see this movie on Saturday with my daughter (2 1/2), 5 nieces ranging from 4-18, one nephew 12, my wife (can’t tell age in fear of life altering injuries), my sister, older than me, and my mom (in her later years).

    My daughter has watched the YouTube clips and always goes “Momma! when she sees Animal. She was enthralled from the moment they hit the screen. My nieces and my nephew all enjoyed it. They thought it was a really good movie.

    My sister, wife and I laughed throughout the movie. I mean when Sheldon became the man version of Walter, my sister lost it! My mom, fell asleep for the first 20 minutes, but then my daughter crawled on her lap and she watched the rest and enjoyed it. She was a Muppet Hater. She was never a fan, but the rest of us all were.

    When we came out, she had the highest praise. She admitted to coming in and saying it was not something she truly wanted to go see. However, she said that she will buy it once it comes out on DVD. She thought the Mary/Gary plotline was so overplayed it became funny. Like their fantasy world made the Muppets more believable.

    Overall, I was impressed and pleased to see them hit the big screen. And they did a good job, relating with the audience. “yes we are old and tired Muppets, yes, most people under the age of 25 have never seen the actual show on television unless on reruns. But we acknowledge that, and want to come back and be relevant.

  28. Derek says:

    I completely agree with the original review. When I told my kids ages 9,7,5,3 we were going they were all reluctant to go but I pushed it on them having been impressed by the great reviews and funny youtube clips. At the end of it all, the older 2 said it was “kind of ok” but the younger 2 were bored to tears (after about 20 minutes). There were a few funny parts, but ultimately it fell flat for me, not one that I would purchase or one that I would even watch again. Maybe I went in with expectations that were too high.

  29. I went in skeptical of the great reviews but left feeling like this was the best follow-up to the original “The Muppet Movie” that I could imagine. I never could connect to the other Muppet movies but this one captured the magic of the Muppets nicely and brought back the feelings I felt in the first one back when I was 11 (including “Rainbow Connection” seemed spot-on to me).

    I was impressed with the concept of relating the human situations to what the Muppets were experiencing. The duets by characters not in the same location (“Me Party” and “Muppet or a Man” or whatever the song is called) cleverly demonstrate that Muppets and humans can have similar dilemmas. I never felt like the humans get in the way, but, instead, they do a good job of mirroring the Muppet plot lines.

    Some folks on TV have referred to this movie as a “reboot” and I don’t think it is quite that, but it does get the characters back on track. I look forward to more fun movies like this.

  30. Bob says:

    I think that saying “Basic plot X” has been done before as a complaint is a bit silly. There are only 7 basic plotlines out there, they have ALL been done to death. That doesn’t mean that any particular version of those plots is disappointing for not being original. Nothing is original. Seriously…name a movie and I can name at least 10 movies that use the same basic plot. It is the creative elements that make the difference.

    • John Frost says:

      It’s not that it’s the same plot “oh no, we need money, let’s put on a show” variant of “getting the gang back together”… it’s that they’ve already used this plot twice (arguably three times) in other Muppets feature films.

      • Bob says:

        And has it worked each time? You bet. Does it work now? I think so. After all these years the Muppets are finally back. Why are they back? Disney successfully answers that question and, so long as we don’t get more crappy Muppet adaptations of classic stories instead of original movies, maybe they’ll stay for a while.

        Successful Muppet movies follow a formula, no more so than any successful Pixar film.

        Seriously, watch the last five Pixar films (save maybe for Cars 2) and tell me that they are not following the same formula, all the way to the timing of the emotional impacts.

        So again, for me, this criticism falls flat and rings false. Is it alright to dislike the movie? Certainly. But seriously, this reason to dislike the movie seems more contrived than anything I’ve read anywhere. The real irony is that it is coming on a blog which, in a later post, is proclaiming that this movie is worthy of the Academy Award for Best Picture.

      • leigh ann says:

        then john, you just clearly do not like the muppets. this is almost ALWAYS the plot in muppet films. getting the gang together/back together. you knew that going into it, so why complain about it? its the classic muppets plot.

  31. Nate says:

    Great gods of Olympus: an oasis of reason in a sea of insanity. I need to spend some time and read everyone’s comments, but it was a relief to read a review by someone who had a similar experience watching the movie. I was disappointed – bitterly so – by the flimsiness of the plot and the cynical winking to the audience as a way of getting out of the story’s self-admitted weaknesses.

    My favorite part of the review: “For me, The Muppets, never really left.”

    Exactly. I’ve spent the last twelve years (since Muppets From Space) watching Muppets Christmas Carol annually, rediscovering the Muppets Take Manhattan, and enjoying, for the first time, DVDs of the original Muppets Show. Everyone I know likes the Muppets, everyone I know still cares about the Muppets. Frankly, if the Muppets think they’re irrelevant, it sounds like a personal problem for Disney. It’s not the public’s fault for having grown cynical – a crime the movie constantly accuses us of – it’s just that Jim Henson Studios has had a problem figuring out how to make really appealing, successful films recently. I don’t blame them: making good AND popular art is hard. But just… keep working on that, don’t throw a massive pity party and try to manipulate your way back into popularity with a bunch of fishing for compliments. “But don’t you MISSSSS us???????”

    I love the Muppets. I don’t need another reason to love them. And, frankly, I only care about their ability to make money in so far as I’d appreciate some more great Muppet art. But if they’re going to start making money by producing cynical, exploitative films like this one, it’s going to damage their legacy with me, not enhance it.

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  33. Kitty says:

    Thank goodness for this site and e first review that discussed the movie rather than the nostalgic feeling we got from watching something familiar.

    The movie was good, but not great and not original. The human story seemed to try to upstage the reason we paid. We want to see the muppets. But instead of getting a muppet movie that focused more on nostalgia than new material.

    With this year being weak in comedy then I Don’t regret watching, but I would prefer a new Muppet Show rather than a sequel.

  34. Rich says:

    I have to agree with this review to a degree.

    This was a good movie. BUT–

    It wasn’t a Muppet movie. Jason Segel and Amy Adams had wayyy too much screen time, especially for a Muppet production, and it got to the point where I would have paid to not hear Amy Adams sing. “Me Party,” or whatever the song is called, was the worst part of the movie. Everyone in the theater was kind of like, “Why are we being subjected to this?”

    The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, and Muppets Take Manhattan will always be the best 3 Muppet films, because they feature the Muppets as the actors, and humans as talking set pieces. That was always the best part of the Muppet franchise. Even in Muppets Take Mahattan, Jenny was Kermit’s friend, and Pete the Diner owner was a help, but they didn’t have a subplot that dominated half the movie. I really could have given two rats’ bottoms about the Gary and Mary love story… It was a waste of musical numbers that could have been given to Electric Mayhem or some other characters. Speaking of which, WHY DID WE RESORT TO USING “WE BUILT THIS CITY” by Starship??? Couldn’t Bret McKensie have written a Clean-up Montage for the Muppets to sing???

    Also:

    Where was Robin, Kermit’s nephew?? He all of a sudden appears in a crowd of Muppets at the end of the movie, but wouldn’t he have a larger role?

    I loved Walter, but I feel that his extended family kind of got in the way of this one…

    There’s too much to write. This movie was a decent homage, but it was missing a lot. It needed “more chickens and bears and frogs and whatevers!!”

    • Lisa says:

      I didn’t see Robin at all, and I was very upset!! He was my favorite!

      • Rich says:

        He’s right by Sam the Eagle, while Kermit gives his final speech… AND, little known fact: Robin and Kermit are going to sing on Jimmy Fallon 12/23/11…

    • Whit says:

      Ah yes, I forgot the “Me Party” in my comment. That was my least favorite part of the film. Apparently I blocked it out.

  35. Kids n tow says:

    This review is spot on! I can’t fathom where all the raving reviews are coming from on other sights. There must be a massive marketing campaign to plant A+ reviews all over the web….Seriously, reviews should be honest like this one is. I saw the movie with my 16 year old niece and two 7 year old girls…My niece and I both agreed the first half was such a disjointed bore that we would have left if it were not for the two 7 year olds. Now, between the two 7 year olds, one is still immature enough and liked it but the other thought the plot was not great until the end….Not worth the price of admission. I have lost faith in reviewers in general, is most everyone now being bought off?

    • Sean says:

      Good point, I am also surprised at the positive reviews. I would have left the room as well if it wasn’t for my 9 year old daughter (but I haven’t asked here, I am almost sure she wouldn’t have bothered). Found myself looking at my watch throughout the entire “movie” and deeply regret the money spent.

  36. Herald7 says:

    I enjoyed the film a lot. It wasn’t perfect but it was definitely a good step in the right direction.

    And frankly, Muppets From Space was the true disappointment. ;)

    Anyway, here’s my shameless plug of my review for the new film, hehe: http://herald7.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/go-see-the-muppets-2011/

  37. amy says:

    I have to agree 100% with the original blogger. I wound up here after googling “muppet movie wasn’t all that great,” because I’m feeling a bit nuts for disliking the movie as much as I did. It seemed like a self-indulgent grab for Jason Segel and a big commercial for an upcoming Muppet Show, rather than a real Muppet movie. I came out of it bored and sad. The movie had a few good moments – like Beaker with a hatchet in the barbershop quartet number – but overall it fell flat. Way too much time devoted to the Gary/Mary relationship, and I thought the songs were barely passable. I would have loved to have seen more about what it actually meant to Walter to be a Muppet, and definitely wanted more true Muppet music. Thanks for taking a risk and posting your thoughts.

    • Rich says:

      I completely agree with you. I felt a little nuts for not LOVING this movie as well… It did feel like the longest commercial ever… But that’s the difference between DISNEY’S Muppets and Jim Henson’s Muppets… Heart. Disney has no heart left…

  38. Carol says:

    My (grown-up) children were brought up on the Muppets, so I looked forward to taking my grandchildren (aged 5 and 7) to see a revival of a well loved classic. How wrong I was. The children hadn’t seen the Muppets before, so the nostalgia angle didn’t work for them. The ‘love story’ also went over their heads, not interested. However, the worst aspect was that when asked later which part they remembered from the film, it was (disturbingly), the fight at the anger management group. My grandchildren are being raised to believe that fighting is wrong, and that violence involving women is a definite no-no; so to be presented with this scene in a film that supposedly is aimed at their age group was very disturbing. Equally, the kidnap of Jack Black was not appropriate. Maybe there is a place for ‘cartoon violence’, such as in Tom and Jerry; but in my opinion Disney have let the children down badly in this film.

  39. Sean says:

    Very disappointing. I was eager to share some of the old magic with my 9 year old daughter but left the theathre red-faced (although she was trying to be nice, saying she had really enjoyed it).

    They were (badly) using an old formula instead of going for something different, something that would please both old and younger audiences. The good old plot eh? not funny anymore.

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  41. Phil says:

    I personally thought that there was way too much human screen-time. Even still, this was by far the best Muppet movie made in my lifetime. The original Muppet Show stopped airing before I was born and the best 3 movies were also made before my time. That being said, I still remember watching taped episodes of the Muppet Show growing up and watching the best 3 movies on VHS and have been a fan ever since.
    One thing I’ve noticed on here is that multiple times people said that they would have left the theater if it weren’t for whatever children that went with them. Doesn’t that speak volumes about the movie? If the kids wanted to stay and watch the movie, who gives a flying bull-puck that you were disappointed? Maybe the problem wasn’t the movie, but your own expectations and ridiculous standards. They’re never going to outdo any of the classics, don’t expect them to. Let’s just take the movie for what it was, a reintroduction to the Muppet franchise to those that have never had the joy, mixed with bits of nostalgic references for those that grew up watching them. I personally hope that this movie will be the fuel to get the Muppet Show back on primetime network television. And when I say Muppet Show, I mean the original classic format with the original opening sequence only with new guests. Instead of expressing disappointment over the movie, why don’t we all push for Disney to start production on the Muppet Show!

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  43. Whit says:

    I thought it was amazing — the best movie of the year. The music was equally impressive. I actually cried during the “Pictures in My Mind” song. I’m okay with that. My kids loved it and have been huge Muppet fans ever since (they only had a passing interest prior to the film).

    The only part I didn’t care for was the forced celebrity stuff at the end and the corny song that followed. It didn’t feel like it fit.

    I do get what you’re saying about the film focusing more on the humans than the Muppets, and while I think it worked well I hope it isn’t something Disney falls in love with. I’m hoping the sequel is more Muppet-centric.

  44. Diane says:

    I thought everything was great EXCEPT: I agree that the plot needed a stronger tension point. I kept thinking of how I was absolutely on the edge of my seat as a kid when Kermit was going to have his brains fried by Hitler…but that kind of moment never came.

    Also – and this is my biggest complaint…I was so disappointed by Amy Adams! In her other movies she’s so vivacious and passionate and full of life…and here she seemed like she was taking tranquilizers to overcome depression. Obviously she needed to show some sadness in her role in the movie, but she just seemed lifeless…even her dancing felt awkward…It’s not as if she doesn’t have what it takes, you can see her passion and adorableness and coordination in other movies she’s in. I have to assume the directors wanted her to be like that…and for me, it felt like they had to grab some non-actor at the last minute who was too overwhelmed to show any emotion or something…for me, that overshadowed the whole feel of it.

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