Let’s face it – we feared the worst. The Muppets were steering their ship back toward the big screen, with Jason Segel at the helm. Their destiny was limp and humourless. So answer me this – what went so right?
They took to the seas with a simple but hardy plot, painstakingly choreographed humour and an indulgent Hollywood makeover. But Kermit and co. beat us to the punch by simply turning on themselves. They took their pride, and tossed it overboard. They took material we may have criticised and gave it a rough and ready frisking. They did the hard work, so we could just sit back and relax.
The little one-liners – the self-depreciative nods to a maturing audience – are what made the film tick. With everyone in on the joke, from the cat to the audience, it made the Muppets as welcoming and highly appreciated as they’ve ever been.
Segel’s sweet but wide-eyed Gary was a fine anchor for the film. While careful not to drive attention away from our fabric friends, he was in place to add the human touch to the film. Having seen him in a few of his other conquests, I’ll admit to being sceptical about his role in the film. Thankfully, I was won over by the quirky man-muppet characterisation of an otherwise generic male lead.
With a host of cameo roles and celebrity endorsements, the project had clearly been well-supported, and is a testament on the series’ ongoing legacy. I can’t think of many people who dislike the Muppets, so for the majority to be able to guide a new generation of fans through the film is a thoroughly heart-warming thing to behold.
I watch The Muppet Christmas Carol every December. I watch Muppet Treasure Island When it’s on. I watch Muppets From Space sporadically. And in The Muppets, I’ve got a new treasure to schedule in.