Yesterday Melanie, Wendell and I road our bikes to the Phillips Place Theater down the street from us. We had been discussing doing that for a while and we finally hit the road with our bikes to see a movie. The theater even has a bike rack. We had to search for it but we found it. It's nice they have a bike rack because the Morrocroft Harris Teeter doesn't have one and I have written them twice about that. The first time they said they would look into it and the second time they ignored me. I just wrote them another email requesting a bike rack. We'll see how it goes this time.
This movie feels really familiar. It could have been called The Muppet Movie 2 because the 1979 Muppet Movie is this movie's direct inspiration. There were a lot of kids in line before the employees opened up the room to us and as the movie went on I didn't hear a lot of reaction from the children in attendance. I did hear a lot of laughter from their parents. This isn't a children's movie, though I am sure it was enjoyed by the kids there, it's more of a trip down memory lane for those of us that grew up watching the Muppet show on television. It's pretty obvious since two the main characters grow up watching the show together. First on video tape and then each successive format thereafter.
Like the original Muppet movie it's self referential, self aware and full of great cameos. There are nods to the audience and an acknowledgement that the plot is almost unnecessary. It's full of the kind of nonsense and fun that made the Naked Gun movies and everything the Marx Brothers did so successful. What do you do with an act that doesn't transfer to a traditional movie? Don't make a traditional movie, just link a bunch of fun gags together with a thin story about trying to save the Muppet Studios from a silly bad guy. The emotional depth of the movie was created over 30 years ago by Jim Henson so it must almost write itself. The hard part has been done already, these guys just got to have fun with it.
They did have fun with the characters and, for the most part, it works. There is a little too much plucking of our heart strings at times but when they do it right the the emotional scenes come off beautifully and it is consistently funny and a few times it is downright hilarious. Some of the biggest laughs come from Jack Black who, unsurprisingly, fits perfectly into the Muppet universe. It's a movie that hits all its proper Muppet marks and was similar to the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie in that it was made by people that know and love their subject. As a Muppet movie it's satisfying.