Joy and Rediscovering the Muppets

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Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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24 Responses

  1. Avatar Jonathan
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    says:

    I’m glad to read this. We’re thinking of taking our daughter (though we’ve heard that it’s quite loud, and she doesn’t like watching loud things), so it’s good to know that they did this movie right.

    Upon hearing that Segal wrote it, I had a feeling it would probably be done well. I imagine him to be a true fan, and would hope that a true fan wouldn’t screw things up too much (though you never know).Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jonathan
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      says:

      I didn’t notice that the movie itself was particularly loud, though it was apparent during the previews that the theater had the sound level up at an absurdly high level.  I was worried that would be a problem, but by the time the movie itself started, either we had adjusted to the volume or the sound had been turned down to a more appropriate level.Report

  2. Avatar Russell Saunders
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    says:

    I think my son is a teensy bit too young to appreciate this, which is kind of a shame.  (Would a two-and-not-quite-half year-old enjoy it?)  Upon reading this, the Better Half and I will have to make plans to see it, regardless.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Russell Saunders
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      says:

      My daughter is a little over 3 and a half.  I think a year ago she would have still enjoyed it since she had already been well-weaned on Elmo’s Adventures in Grouchland, but getting her to sit through an entire movie (plus previews!) in a theater would have been a very tall order.  It would have probably been something better left to DVD as far as she was concerned.Report

  3. Avatar Plinko
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    says:

    The Mrs. and I are in the same boat as the good doctor; baby girl is just barely two and we’re pretty sure any movie would be too much.

    We’re going to see it ourselves at some point, though.

    Have you seen this little tidbit on the origin of ‘Mahna Mahna’?

     Report

  4. Avatar Patrick Cahalan
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    says:

    Does Kermit sound like Kermit?

    I haven’t been able to watch any Looney Tunes anything since Mel died.  It freaks me out.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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      says:

      Alas, Jim Henson’s voice is just not possible to perfectly duplicate.  It’s as close as could be realistically hoped-for, though, I think.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mark Thompson
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        says:

        It would probably bother me less than Bugs not sounding like Bugs.  Most of the Muppet voices aren’t as part-and-parcel an integral part of their character the way that Looney Tunes voices are.

        Kermit is more like Kermit because he acts and talks like Kermit talks.

        Bugs is more like Bugs because he sounds like Bugs.Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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          says:

          You know, if you watch Kermit, you realize that he’s basically a sock puppet and that the puppetry involved is pretty amazing. I can’t figure out how to convey those emotions with my hand and a sock. So, I still find the character really impressive, even though the voice is not quite right.Report

      • Avatar 62across in reply to Mark Thompson
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        says:

        I’ve gotten used to the new Kermit, but I really missed Frank Oz’s voice in this film. Sadly, he passed on bringing life to Miss Piggy, Fozzie and Animal this time around.

        If you haven’t seen it, seek out the Muppets with Segal for the opening number of his otherwise dreadful SNL appearance. Quite funny.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to 62across
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          says:

          I do too but I came to a point where it became a conscious decision: you either accept that the past is gone and try and embrace what they have made of them in the now ad enjoy the new stuff or you refuse to accept the changes and lose every aspect of the muppets and must console yourself exclusively with the old material.Report

  5. Avatar North
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    says:

    Oh muppets.. I remember my parents tuning in to the show on the old B&W TV religiously. I’d look on and found it greatly enjoyable but didn’t understand why the ‘Rents were so worked up over all the boring humans doing things in between the cool muppets.

    Then I watched it again on DVD around 2007… mind blowing. Mind blowing, like entertainment archeology.Report

  6. Avatar Tod Kelly
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    says:

    My teenage boys would rather die than go see it, which means I have to find another excuse.

    Mark, would you recommend it for adults going without kids?Report

  7. Avatar E. D. Kain
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    says:

    This movie was wonderful. I agree completely with this post. Pure, childlike joy.Report

  8. Avatar Mike
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    says:

    I can only add total agreement.Report

  9. Avatar Ryan Bonneville
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    says:

    I’m going to be the rare dissenter. While I didn’t think the movie was bad by any means, it wasn’t particularly great either. It was just a fine, reasonably-well-made kids movie with a couple jokes for adults. Segel and Adams were teeth-grindingly twee throughout the whole thing, and Chris Cooper’s character was annoying (especially his song, which would have been fine in a 90s movie but was woefully out-of-date by 2011). I’m also not entirely sure where Walter’s final scene came from, either, but I’m willing to let fairly inconsequential plot holes go.

    Actually, if you simply subtracted the new characters entirely, it would have been a stellar film. This, of course, is in keeping with my general policy of opposition to human characters in movies where they don’t belong (cf. Alien vs. Predator or Transformers).Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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      says:

      Sorry, one exception. Jim Parsons was amazing.Report

    • Avatar Mike in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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      says:

      I’m going to disagree vehemently.

      Gary’s (and to some extent Mary’s) role is to be the avatar of the fans inside the movie. To see things as they really are, just as Walter sees them as they could be. Gary and Walter aren’t really two separate characters, but one half each of the same character – the kid who has to grow up, but doesn’t want to lose that part of them that can really let go, toss disbelief out the window, and simply enjoy the pleasures of watching a set of felt puppets prance around next to people, doing their own musical thing and handing the “third greatest gift” to the world in a timeless manner.

      Without a Gary in it, The Muppets doesn’t work. Without a Walter in it, it doesn’t work.

      As for Chris Cooper – the Muppets have always had tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top villains. Cooper is not that far removed from Doc Hopper, and he works incredibly well in that sense.

       Report

      • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Mike
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        says:

        I don’t think it worked with Gary in it, so I guess that’s just in the eye of the beholder. That said, as indicated above, simply making Gary (and Mary) less annoying would have gone a long way toward helping. Basically every scene they were in made me cringe in horror at what annoying hipster thing they were going to do next.Report

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