|The stained glass window above Jim Henson's desk.|
I have been imposing my Muppet agenda on Ryan since infancy. He has grown up on a diet of Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and The Muppet Show. I am more than a little proud that he likes to turn random objects into puppets (though I could do without the talking toilet seat).
So it goes without saying that I had to take Ryan to see The Muppets in the theater opening weekend. He loved it. We lost him a little at the end (he started yammering loudly during the last, and quietest, scene), but he left the theater singing Manah Manah and the Muppet Show theme song, so I count that as a victory.
As a Muppet purist, though, I had some serious problems with this movie. While there were lots of great elements (including a perfect cameo by my gay Hollywood boyfriend, NPH), and overall I'd give the film a B, there were things that went against the spirit of the Muppets, and which caused me great distress.
Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert!
For one thing, the Swedish Chef should never have subtitles. He does not need translation. And neither does Camilla (Gonzo's chicken girlfriend).
Also, if the Muppets have to kidnap a celebrity to host their telethon, by the middle of the show said celebrity should embrace what's going on; having Jack Black object to his fate the whole time seemed out of the spirit of the Muppets.
There was a bit too much snark, a bit too much "we know we're in a movie" shtick. Uncharacteristically lowbrow humor. Penguins singing in English. CGI when animatronics would have worked. Wrong wrong wrong. It's too bad Frank Oz and Brian Henson were not on board for this project - they could have righted the ship.
But it had heart, and a song that's been stuck in my head since yesterday, and has probably turned a new generation on to the magic of the Muppets, so I'm going to try to let go of my objections and embrace the new Muppets.