Staff Reviews: The Muppets by Andy Leeke, Front of House Assistant

It’s been a long time. Far too long. And I’m not just talking about the Muppets. I’m talking about good films that really do appeal to everyone.

Going in, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I loved The Muppet Show as a kid, and the movies are largely successful (especially The Muppets Christmas Carol, possibly the best filmed version of the classic story in recent years.) The Muppets never really go wrong; even when they’re average, they will be the highlight of your day. And it’s for that reason, that I can’t really write a real review, because you just owe it to yourself to see this. Go on, you deserve it.

You want more? Fine, but it’s going to be nothing but praise from start to finish.

This iteration of the Muppets is a “getting the band back together” story. Much as in real life, the world has largely forgotten just how entertaining the Muppets are. But they still have fans, and by far their biggest is a kid named Walter. He shares many of the qualities of the Muppets themselves, and not just the felt based complexion. He understands the joy of this form of entertainment, and by the end of this story, you’ll remember it too. Just like any Muppet story, there are humans in it too, but even Jason Segal (who played a key role in bringing Henson’s creations back to the big screen) knows that this isn’t his movie. His film belongs to Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker and of course Dr Teeth and The Electric Mayhem (not forgetting Animal, their drummer.) Yes, there are human cameos but they never take centre stage.

One real standout element is the music. If you’ve ever watched Flight of the Conchords, then the name Bret McKenzie should be all I need to say. And if you haven’t heard the name, you’re in for a real musical treat, whose composer is now in possession of a little golden Oscar, for his work on this very film.

Honestly, it’s just a joy from start to finish. While you may not laugh out loud for the whole film, your face will ache from all the smiling you’ll be doing. And it stays with you. This is just pure happiness captured on film. And remember, the art form of the muppeteer often goes unnoticed – and that’s exactly what they want. They want to make you smile more than you ever thought possible, with just some felt and imagination.

One negative point? I really hate that it ended, and I had to go back to reality.

Andrew Leeke works Front of House at Phoenix Square, where he is also a Production Assistant and provides animation workshops for kids. He is also a freelance animator and visual effects artist. Despite being 27, he still spends all of his pocket money on toys.

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