My “Disney’s The Muppets" Review (Rant)

I am relieved to have finally seen Disney’s The Muppets.  I am a huge Muppet fan, and the wait for this has been excruciating.  In the new movie, the new character, Walter, was created to personify (or Muppify) me as a fan.  The parts of the film that center around Walter are fairly endearing, but overall this movie has to be my least favorite Muppet film.  I went with many other Muppet fans for support, and they all absolutely loved it.  They all think I am crazy, but I cannot change who I am.  I was asked if it is worse than what was deemed “the worst Muppet movie of all time:  Muppets from Space.”  To that I say full heartedly, YES!  I remember getting teased going to the theatre to see Muppet Treasure Island with my mom when I was young, and I had actually written that one off as the worst Muppet movie I had ever scene, and still yes, Muppet Treasure Island is by far a better Muppet mo
vie than Disney's The Muppets.

As I experienced, I can clearly see that a lot of people will enjoy this movie very much, and that makes me happy and does not make me angry at all.  I am not going around trying to divert people from watching it.  I idolize the Henson family and consider them American royalty.  I read that they
 want everyone to support this film, so I don’t have any animosity towards it.  I am writing this to say, as a monster Muppet fan myself, I just don’t consider this a quality Muppet film.  I can however respect the film for what it is:  Jason Segel’s fan tribute to one of his childhood heroes. 

All that being said, the film does have a few charming and funny moments, but as a feature, it was not enjoyable enough for me to ever really want to watch it again.  The plot was extremely unoriginal, and the spoofs and winks they made at the audience concerning it were not that out-of-the-box or hilarious enough to make up for it.  Outside of some scenes with Walter, a random sheep eating some clothes was probably my most favorite moment.  As for the cameos, how can we go from Richard Pryor and Orson Welles in The Muppet Movie to Jack Black and Selena Gomez?  The human actors, the stars of the film, were all pretty bland and uninspired as well.  Chris Cooper’s Tex Richman was not only boring, but also just a mix of Charles Durning’s Doc Hopper from The Muppet Movie and  Jeffrey Tambor’s K. Edgar Singer from Muppets from Space.  Then there's Jason Segel and Amy Adams who take up a lot of screen time, but add nothing special to the mix.  I think the opening number was suppose to be a tongue-in-cheek homage to Raposo's "Hey a Movie!," but it really seemed more like it was poking fun at musicals.

Essentially, the entire movie is a bunch of scenes and elements of older Muppet movies and The Muppet Show all wrapped into a Segel/Stoller film.  Following other Muppet fans on Tumblr, I have seen all of Jason Segel’s circuit interviews, and just like a robot he says pretty much the same thing every single time he is in a chair, and quite frankly, I would have preferred "Muppets Underwater." He repeats that the Muppets “were a controlled chaos that could bubble over at any moment.”  I definitely see how this shaped his overall impression of The Muppet Show, but it is much more than that to me, and personally (obviously this is personal), I never really felt like his film was going to boil over at any time.  The story was neither insane or heartfelt enough, and as for the Muppets, the felt felt a little too stiff.  Jason Segel also stated that he felt it was unjust that kids today don’t have new Muppet movies.  To that I agree.  But with all the remakes of today, and all the carbon copies, when I really think about it, I just do not see why on Earth the Muppets should have to be reintroduced (commercially) in this way.  I think the beauty of film is that it lasts forever.  The Muppets are timeless!  I almost feel like this film does not understand or respect that.  The same conventions that the Muppets fought against in the past with creative surprise, puns, singing, dancing and moppet hope, are still part of the problems we face today in society, but magnified.  I find the old material much more relevant to today than this supposed resurrection.  Theatres should be re-airing old films more often, not pumping out more and more expensive, unoriginal, and uninspired films.  We still have not learned from the past, so let's slow down.  Also, why would they redo The Rainbow Connection?   And if you are going to redo it, why copy Jim’s ingenious vision with boring computer effects?  And why on Earth would you cut out of it?  Did we learn nothing from Muppets Tonight!?  The song is too beautiful and serious a masterpiece to not even finish it from beginning to end in one shot.
I have had one Muppet fan say to me that I need to accept change of the times and adapt.  I am sorry, but if Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson do not want to do their characters anymore, doesn’t that say something about the script?  They created these characters.  Yes, Nelson makes a cameo, and sure, both Frank Oz and Richard Hunt performed Miss Piggy at different times, but that was in developing her.  To have someone else do her now just feels extremely false and wrong, and I do not like what she has become.   They are reducing these beautiful characters to franchised stereotypes.  In a sense, I feel that a puppet is so real, that if the puppeteer passes on or retires, the character dies for me in a way also.  I think it is other people that need to adapt and accept time's home.  I do want the Muppets back in people’s lives, but I think the spirit of the Muppets can live on with new characters, such as Dr. Phil Van Neuter and Pepe the Prawn.  To me it is still way too soon for someone else do Scooter or Rowlf!  Yes, I want the magic of the Muppets to be current in today's world, but not when the Disney company calls the shots.

Again, I know from reading that the Henson family wants us to support the Muppets “teaming” with Disney as Jim’s wish, but that is something I just will never, as a fan, get over.  Disney should not own the Muppets.  My brother joked with me that Disney probably threatened the Henson family to sell.  Haha, I would not be surprised.  I know that Jim was considering Disney towards the end of his life, wanting the characters to live on through them, but to me I think he just really wanted his characters to be a part of a legacy that included Fantasia, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, etc.  I don’t think he knew what Disney as a powerful corporate company would become.  I couldn’t help but laugh sardonically at the end of Disney’s The Muppets when they advertised Pixar’s Cars 2.  At the beginning of the film, the audience gets a too-cute Toy Story short film.  But why when there are so many other performers and puppeteers out there with creative ideas?  How long before Disney turns the Muppets into Pixar digital computer creations?