OK, so this is a bit of a tangent for this blog, though I’ve done lots of reviewing of various movies and things over the years so thought why not? Going to the cinema was something I did with my toddler, in London, so that’s all the excuse I need. Ritzy in Brixton, if you’re interested. It’s a Picturehouse and I would recommend both their cake and their baby screenings. Enough info, I think.
So, the film itself. I love the Muppets. Miss Piggy was always one of my icons growing up (kick-ass, glamourous, bilingual – what else do you need??) and when Julie Andrews guest starred, it was like two of my heroines coming together in a beautiful meld. I’ve been a little hurt over the years by the bits of crap that the Muppets have lent their name to. I mean – what is going on with “Muppet Babies”?! That’s not canonical. Or even funny. Grrrrr.
You can see why I was a little nervous going to see the latest offering. But good reviews and my brother convinced me that this was worth going for. And we weren’t disappointed! It was ace! You should go see it now.
“Why?” I hear you asking me (although that may be the voices in my head again). I’ll tell you. First, there’s the songs. It’s rare that I watch the opening credits of a film and feel reassured by the “music by” credit. It happened during Juno – I’d been taken to see it by a friend and wasn’t entirely convinced (pregnant teenager? Really?) but the “music by Kimya Dawson” line perked me up. For those not in the know, Kimya is half of the Moldy Peaches, and someone Nathan bumped into dressed as a gorilla at the Reading Festival (Kimya was in the gorilla suit, not Nathan). At the time, we had a game going where “meeting a pop star” won you 50 points, so that won the game for him. Anyway, I love her music and the fact that she had liked Juno enough to write some songs for it made me feel better about spending the £3.50 to be there (Peckhamplex). Turns out Juno was great anyway. Still love that film.
Sorry, ma-hoo-sive digression there. Point was going to be that the music for this film was written by Bret Mackenzie, of Flight of the Conchords fame. If you don’t know who they are, then….oh, just google it. Needless to say, I was expecting great things and they were delivered. From the anthemic “Life’s a happy song” to the gangsta rap of “Let’s talk about me”, every song was funny without being ridiculous and infectious without being annoying. Can you tell I got the soundtrack today? And listened to it three times?
Classic Muppets songs weren’t missed off either – there were two versions of the Muppet theme and two of “The Rainbow Connection”, one of which was so beautiful it had me in tears. But I was in the front row, and Nathan and Roo had gone to the back so no-one saw. That means it doesn’t count. If a tree falls down and there’s no-one to hear it etc etc…. In true Muppet style, there were also a few covers, including a fine Ce Lo Green number, performed by chickens. That really is the beauty of this film – it’s very much rooted in this century, from the song choices to the celebrity cameos, yet it has the feel of a classic 70s Muppets movie. While we’re on the celebrity cameos, I won’t say too much that might spoil the surprises, but there are a LOT of them. Some fairly gratuitous, some absolutely genius, lots that I didn’t twig first time round (thank you internet for enlightening me!).
And what about the plot? The actual film bit? Well, it’s predictable and feel-good but hey, it’s a kids film. The script is witty and not too clever-clever. I’m never sure about human leads in Muppet films but Jason Segal is excellent casting (mainly because he looks a bit like a muppet) and Amy Adams does a good job too. Chris Cooper is excellent at being ever so evil – he’s not really someone you’d call in for a romcom, is he?! There are shades of the first Muppet movie in there (quite delibrately, I think) but it doesn’t feel like treading on old ground. I loved Gonzo’s first scene.
Anyhoo, I’m going to stop there for fear of spoilering but go and see it. Your toddler will love it (Roo spent the afternoon bobbing his head to the soundtrack and asked to “watch Kermit frog” on youtube) – at least for the first hour and a half. Admittedly, he was verrrry restless by the end and scooting all over the place but I figured that no-one in an 11am Saturday show could be terribly precious about that kind of thing. I also figured that giving him free and easy access to a bucket of sweet popcorn could be directly related to the restlessness. But overall, he enjoyed it. Did I mention they screen a new Toy Story short at the beginning? Added bonus for Roo! And for us!
Enjoy. You don’t need to thank me.