Recently, I asked YOU, the readers of this website, for your thoughts on our favorite movie of 2011, The Muppets, in the concise format of Two Things: Give me one thing you liked about the movie and one thing you didn’t. Unsurprisingly, I got a ton of responses. So many, in fact, that it’s enough for two articles! Fans are really passionate about this movie, and hey, that’s One Thing I Like.
And now, without further ado, your Two Things About The Muppets!
I’ll start with one thing I didn’t like – Chris Cooper was entertaining (loved the song) but wasn’t a totally fulfilling villain. I know there was a lot of his story cut, but I think we needed that information in order to understand why exactly he does what he does. For that matter, the Moopets were also built up to us and turned out to exist only to… cut electrical wires. And be f’n creepy.
And now, for one thing I did like – it’s rather small, but I don’t know how many people will have noticed it, and it hasn’t left me. When the Muppets are in hammocks, and Fozzie says he’s scared of rain coming through the hole in the ceiling… I can’t but help we’ve seen that hole before, at the end of The Muppet Movie. And seeing it again brought a tear to my eye.
One thing I liked: Kermit’s Rolodex full of 70s & 80s celebrities. That was a cute but subtle joke about the Muppets being past their heyday.
One thing I disliked: The lack of screentime for the Moopets. They could have been a serious threat but were relegated to a simple joke.
One good thing: The Tarantino-esque scene where they kidnapped Jack Black. From the throwaway gag that Black was putting on a motion-capture suit, to the inclusion of Lew Zealand (complete with his own title card!) that 60 or so seconds was probably my favorite scene in the movie. Too bad they couldn’t have worked a fish throw or two into the act.
One bad thing: Fozzie’s voice! Eric Jacobson has Piggy nailed, but for some reason his Fozzie was way off here, especially at the beginning of sentences for some reason. Odd, since I’ve heard Jacobson do a fine Fozzie voice in other things.
One Thing I didn’t like: This is nitpicky, but I would have liked to know what happened to Robin. He is Kermit’s nephew, so it’s a little odd we didn’t hear where he currently was. Did he go back to live with his parents? Did he go to college? Did he decide to go be the ambassador to the Fraggles? Just like to know where the little guy went.
One Thing I Did Like: It’s hard to narrow down, but if I have to pick just one, I greatly enjoyed the callbacks to the earlier movies. The hole in the roof, Gonzo going back to plumbing, singing Together Again, etc. They all made the Muppet fan in me very gleeful.
One thing I liked: Everybody acts like they should. I mean, sure, Kermit was a little overly sad, but Miss Piggy is done PERFECTLY. I’m saying this mostly because of the way she’s been portrayed in some of those Disney Channel promos (i.e., So Random, Take Two). She’s too hip-hop, and not enough drama/romance. But I’m willing to let bygones be bygones — she wasn’t perfect, but she was pretty darn close. Her awesome/gorgeous/spectacular/all of the above outfits didn’t hurt, either.
One thing I didn’t like: Oh, this is a tough one. I guess the only real complaint I have is how much screen time Gary and Mary get. I mean, sure, humans have always been a part of Muppet movies, but the biggest B plot we got involving this interaction was the whole Jenny-Kermit thing from The Muppets Take Manhattan. However, Gary and Mary’s relationship still makes for the awesome “Man or Muppet” musical number. So I guess this is just a lukewarm thing.
My Like: It seems like a small thing, but when Fozzie kept bothering Kermit in the middle of his 30-second speech with Gonzo (“Remember – Evil Oil Baron!”) it just reminded me of original Muppet writing – they got it just right!
My Dislike: Tex Richman’s inability to laugh went completely unexplained in the movie, but appears on the soundtrack. An important plot point that was swept under the rug and into the credits.
The thing I liked: It’s hard to choose just one thing! There was so much I liked! “Rainbow Connection” at the end gave me chills, though.
The thing I didn’t like: While it was great to see so many of the obscurer Muppets, I was kind of disappointed not to see some more familar ones, like Robin and Rizzo most notably, even if they were just in the background and didn’t get any lines. Also, more Swedish Chef, please!
Brian J. Heck:
One thing I liked: The inexplicably hilarious way that Foozie said, “Wocka wocka”
One thing I didn’t like: There wasn’t a single line of dialogue for Rizzo.
Liked: I liked that they acknowledged the dark times of the Muppets. My sister and I grew up watching The Muppet Show and loving them, and that was at their high point. But unless you’re a die-hard fan, there’s been a long time without the Muppets the way we remembered them, popular and mainstream. This movie has ignited some of that popularity and love again.
Didn’t Like: How they wrapped up the bad guy’s story was weak. The Muppets didn’t win, he just changed his mind.
What I liked: Walter. Making a core part of the story about a Muppet fan who has held on to his love of the Muppets for so long was a great way to identify with the audience. Especially those of us who are old enough to remember the last time the Muppets were really popular.
What I didn’t like: Tex Richman’s plot seemed very similar to Rachel Bitterman’s from A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie. I felt like The Muppets handled it MUCH better, but it is still a shame that they couldn’t have found a better plot device to bring the Muppets back together.
Thing I liked: Jim Parsons as the human version of Walter. I love him on Big Bang Theory and I think he was perfect for this.
Thing I didn’t like: I know it has been mentioned, but how depressed Kermit was throughout the movie. I really wanted him to be the happy, positive Kermit I remembered as a kid.
Thing I liked: I love that a week out of my first showing of the movie, I am still singing “Life’s a Happy Song” or “Man or a Muppet” incessantly, and crack myself up every time I remember Fozzie asking if “mildly inconveniencing Jack Black” wasn’t better than losing the Muppets forever.
Thing I didn’t like: I really didn’t like the choppy cuts they made in regards to the Tex Richman plot, and it was only once I bought the soundtrack (which I hadn’t until AFTER I saw the movie, so not to spoil anything) that I understood his whole inability to laugh thing.
Thing I liked: Seeing Rowlf, Scooter and Dr. Teeth in apologetically larger roles. That group isn’t the Muppets without them, and thanks to Barretta and Rudman, I can breathe easy knowing they’re in good hands (pun not intended).
Thing I didn’t like: The movie climaxed for me at “The Rainbow Connection,” and anything, even Walter’s contribution, was doomed to pale in comparison. I mean, who would even try to follow an act like that?
Miles (age 9):
Liked: Walter was funny.
Didn’t Like: The Moopets were weird, and too scary. I think Foozie Bear should have said, “Wocka-wocka WORD.”
One thing I disliked: Amy Adams’ “Me Party”. This one number seemed so forced to me. I love Adams, but this number was bad.
One thing I liked (loved): Dave Grohl’s Moopet Animal cameo… AWESOME.
The one thing I was not really a fan of was Tex Richman’s “maniacal laughter.”
The one thing that made me happiest was that the non-Muppet fan in the group I went to see the movie with was quoting the movie (including the maniacal laughter bit) on her way out of the theater, and spent the evening looking up Muppet clips on You Tube.
Your question as to what I liked and didn’t like have the same answer: The cameos.
The best Muppet movie cameos are those where the actor is playing a part (Steve Martin, Joan Rivers, Jim Parsons).
The worst Muppet movie cameos are those where the actor is playing themselves (Ed Koch, Kelly Ripa, everyone taking phone calls in The Muppets).
I disliked that they didn’t have a special castle at the front like Tron and Pirates get. At least cover the Disney logo in felt.
I liked, make that loved, the sense of community it evoked. I felt connected to the other people in the theater although they were total strangers. We laughed together (several times), gasped at the same time (Jim Parsons as Human Walter triggered the biggest gasp) and cried at the same time (at least all the adults did, during “Rainbow Connection” and when Kermit opens the doors theater doors to see all the fans in the street) and sang at the same time (“Rainbow Connection,” again. I am still feeling warm and fuzzy about the spontaneous sing along that erupted amongst the adults in the audience). The Muppets brought all of us close together. Happy Thanksgiving indeed.
I did not like the angsty, maudlin take on Kermit and Miss Piggy’s relationship. Kermit’s transformation from a reluctant recipient of her advances to a sad sack mourning the one that got away was a miss. Back in the day their banter was very entertaining when it was played mostly for laughs. The movie’s ultra dramatic and overly serious treatment of it fell flat. A pig in love with a frog is funny. A frog filled with regret for losing a pig is not.
One Thing I Liked: Seeing Wayne and Wanda making out when the lights came back on in the theater. (That sounded less dirty before I wrote it down.)
One Thing I Didn’t Like: The short shrift they gave to the actual storyline. No explanation why the gang broke up. No explanation of Tex’s hatred of the Muppets. No explanation of what split up Kermit and Piggy. No hints as to what Walter’s talent would be.
One thing I didn’t like was that out of all that was cut from the movie, Gonzo seemed to get hit the hardest. As seen in the trailers, the first time we see Gonzo’s head bowling is when he was practicing it on Gary (according to the book, we also lost a nice Bunsen and Beaker scene along with it). The book also had some great Gonzo lines that are gone from the film, such as when it’s revealed that not only has Gonzo blown up his business, but has also blown up enough money to save the theater. I understand why a lot of scenes got cut, but I feel bad that Gonzo’s part is so heavily reduced in the movie.
One thing I liked was “Man or Muppet.” What a great song! This scene had me laughing and crying. It was all at once heart-warming, heart-breaking, and hilarious. I don’t know how they did that, and I’m convinced that no one but the Muppets ever could. Jason Segel and Peter Linz provide some great vocals. “Man or Muppet” stands out as perhaps my favorite part of the whole movie… and I love this movie!
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by Ryan Roe – Ryan@ToughPigs.com