For some reason, I don't have fanatical attachments to shows/movies I loved whilst growing up. I wasn't scathingly disappointed with Transformers or G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, or The A-Team, solely because they didn't live up to my childhood adoration of the original shows. I was disappointed with them for other reasons, sure, but not because they "took" something from me and/or my childhood. I do recall fond memories of watching The Muppet Show as a youngster, and, unlike my indifference towards those aforementioned movies, The Muppets movie was a joyous reminder of why I loved the show to begin with.
The Muppets is not a reboot by any means, but more of a many-years-later sequel/reminder of these classic characters, with a fresh, modern-day spin. It's basically set in our world, where the Muppets haven't actually performed in several years, and a greedy oil man (Chris Cooper) is this close to buying the Muppets Studios in Hollywood because there's oil under the studio. However, "this" world is also one where Muppets coexist with humans in real life. When Gary (Jason Segel), his belle (Amy Adams), and his puppet brother Walter visit Hollywood, they come across the oil man's nefarious plot, and set off on a journey to reunite The Muppets to save their studio. The only problem is, they need to raise $10 million in a matter of days, and the Muppets are scattered all over the country. However, using such innovative techniques as "travel by map" and montage pick-ups, the whole crew comes back for one hell of an entertaining show.
This is really Muppets by way of Monty Python, with a self-aware style that not only pokes fun at filmmaking techniques, but also the musical genre itself. While I wasn't a fan of every song here, some because they just seemed to be there to be there, and others because it shifted the mood when I didn't feel it needed to be shifted, there are some delightful little ditty's here. The opening and ending numbers in particular and simply wonderful, and, while The Muppets isn't completely dependent on the songs, which I loved, I just didn't see the need for a few of the songs here. However, when they play the original theme song from The Muppet Show for this new performance, I became 4 years old again, and just that brief song brought back all of that adoration I had for these characters when I was just a kid. For anyone my age-ish, who watched the show as a child, don't be surprised if a sudden and uncontrollable wave of nostalgia rushes over you like a tidal wive when this song is played. We also get classics like "The Rainbow Connection," and another classic, which I'm sure you're aware of by now, during the end credits, so don't rush out of the theater right away.
Jason Segel does an admirable job playing Gary, a lifelong Muppets fan who is psyched to visit the Muppet Studios with his brother Walter (voiced by Peter Linz), and Amy Adams is as adorable as always as Gary's girl, Mary. We also get delightful turns from Rashida Jones as the network exec who rolls the dice on the Muppets' comeback special, Chris Cooper as the oil man, and a plethora of cameos too numerable to list... which I won't reveal because it's more fun if you don't know they're there beforehand, anyway. I think Segel shines even more as a co-writer though (along with his Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller), with an imaginative trip down memory lane for all Muppets fans, that also gives newcomers a delightful introduction to these characters. However, the self-aware aspect of the story seems to break the plane here, with a story about a big rally to save the Muppets... which feels like an elaborate effort to actually save The Muppets from obscurity. Don't get me wrong, after this wonderfully-entertaining movie, I'd love to see more... but it seemed like Segel, Stoller, and director James Bobin were showing their hand a bit too much here.
The Muppets is a truly entertaining trip down memory lane, bringing these characters into the 21st Century in ways that poke fun at both the characters and the 21st Century. I can't imagine any fan of the original series not loving this movie, and I think the younger generation will get just as much of a kick out of The Muppets as we did many years ago. The Muppets is the cinematic equivalent of riding a bike. Despite the years it has been since we last saw them, your love for the characters comes back instantaneously.