In 1979, no one knew that our world would turn into one big depressing news ticker, full of war, brainless celebrity worship, chemical-laced food, materialism, and a friend count, all in 140 characters or less. Yet Paul Williams and Kenneth Asher's song "The Rainbow Connection" hinted at us being "half asleep," which is exactly where we ended up. Perhaps this is the reason we sit through such an endless stream of superhero movies--we're begging to be saved. Sadly, no man in tights has been able to stir our spirit. It turns out, our true saviors are our old friends in felt, The Muppets. If you find yourself needing to believe in magic again, get out your wallet, and get ready to be energized with euphoria.
I loved this movie so much, it's next to impossible for me to "review" it, because all I want to do is continuously heap praise onto it until the battery in my laptop dies. I cannot remember another time in my adult life that I felt such pure, unadulterated joy during a film. As a tiny Grae, I liked the Muppets, but not an unusual amount. When I grew up and the little Animal in me faded into the background, I carried with me the lessons the Muppets taught me (like to never give up and to trust in each other) but only saw their recent films as an afterthought. I thought I had grown out of loving these wise puppets. Boy, was I wrong. I didn't realize how much their reappearance in my life, back to their original form, would delight me.
This movie is so chock full of happiness it's nearly bursting at the seams. Walking their usual tightrope between post-modern and innocent proved harder in recent years, but the best thing about this film is that it feels like it could have come right after The Muppet Movie from 1979. Once again, against a world that's forgotten you can wish on stars and make your dreams come true, the Muppets overcome humongous odds and everyone ends up smiling (even the mean network executive surgically attached to her Blackberry played by Rashida Jones). This time, the new friends that they welcome into their charmingly insane crew are Gary (Jason Segel), Mary (Amy Adams), and Gary's younger, Muppety-looking brother Walter (Peter Linz).
Although it's full of the usual fun cameos, the music is where it's really at. Can you imagine anything better than a Flight of the Conchords song sung by the Muppets? Brit McKenzie from the HBO show has saved our eardrums from the usual ho-hum soundtrack and practically assured himself a Best Original Song Academy Award. Whether it's Amy Adams and Miss Piggy having a "Me Party," Jason Segel singing into the rain asking himself if he's a "Man or Muppet," or the entire population of Smalltown, USA dancing down the street talking about how "Life's a Happy Song," the original songs actually left an impression on me when it was over. And for the sake of toning it down a bit, I didn't even list them all. Yeah, there are more great songs. Get ready.
Since the tendency to take personal inventory increases as the year comes to a close, the Thanksgiving release date is the perfect time to open this film. The instant it began, I realized how badly I needed to be inspired again, like I was when I sat in front of the TV giggling at those weird puppets and their googly eyes so many years ago. Thanks Muppets, for reminding me what I am supposed to be, and how life's a happy song when there's someone by your side to sing along.