Preview Review: The Muppets

Thanks to a tip-off on Twitter, I found an opportunity to register for a free pre-release screening of the Muppet Move via fandango.com last Monday. We are all HUGE Muppet fans, so even though it meant going to a 7:00 p.m. movie on a school night, there was no question we were all going. I don’t want to spoil the movie before it’s even released, so I’ll focus on some general things about the movie, and on my kids’ reactions.

First, the movie is WONDERFUL. Jason Segal gets the Muppets. It is obvious that the movie was written by someone other than Jerry Juhl (screenwriter on every other Muppet film, except Muppets Take Manhattan), but the feel is still authentically Muppet. The Muppets are as real as people. The movie is chock-full of pop culture asides and self-references. The fourth wall exists only as much as it is necessary (and that’s not much). And the script is full of both humor and heart. I really appreciated that the movie had a sense of its own history, with explicit references to songs from The Muppet Movie (Rainbow Connection) and Muppets Take Manhattan (Together Again). And the big song and dance production numbers reminded me of The Great Muppet Caper. I’m sure there were many, many more. One reason I’m staying away from a detailed review at this point is that the movie was so full of cameos, asides and call-outs that I’m SURE I missed tons of them on first viewing.

The kids loved the movie almost as much as I did. I couldn’t really watch Mikaela (age 9) during the movie, as she was sitting on the opposite side of my wife, but I could hear her laughter. I was sitting next to Jonathan (almost 5), and it was interesting to observe his reactions. I’d been a bit worried about bringing him – it was going to be late for him, and the last couple of times he’d been to movies in a theater, he’d needed to go out of the theater for part of the movie, because he just got too antsy. But The Muppets kept him rapt in his seat. He was smiley and giggly during the early part of the film. And as the inevitable crisis befell the Muppets, his “eyes leaked” as he put it (and rather profusely, I might add). He had to be consoled and encouraged to stick it out and see how it all worked out in the end.

Bottom line: We all loved The Muppets. We’ll probably see it again at some point during Thanksgiving Weekend with extended family. Assuming it hangs around in theaters long enough, we’ll see it again over the Christmas holidays when we visit my in-laws in Iowa. And we’ll be pre-ordering the Blu-Ray (I’m very interested to see the extras that make it onto the disk), for frequent Family Movie Night viewings.

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