JAMIE MATHIESON describes The Muppets as ‘profound and moving’, and asks himself – am I a man or a Muppet?
Directed by James Bobin.
The other day, some freshers were being shown around my current accommodation, and found my friends and me playing spaceships in a cardboard box. They accepted this without comment. We’re students.
Like you, I am intensely nostalgic for my childhood, of which the Muppets were a part, though for us it was the post-Henson days: Muppets Tonight, Treasure Island, Christmas Carol. The newest film is not perfect, and I suspect it might endure less well than Treasure Island and Christmas Carol, because you would definitely need to already know the Muppets to really enjoy it. Plenty of little kids will be left baffled.
But this isn’t a kids’ film. It’s a comedy movie that’s accessible to kids. It’s directed by the guy behind Ali G, written by the guys behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Bret from Flight of the Conchords wrote the Oscar-nominated songs. And it has Beaker singing Smells like Teen Spirit.
I really, really liked this film, more than even a Muppets fan like myself expected to. And it had an impact on me much like Toy Story 3 (by the way, there’s a new Toy Story short before the film, and it’s worth the ticket price by itself). Of course, I think the place I’m in now – a matter of weeks away from graduating – is what made this film so special. Luckily for me, I’m sure a lot of you can empathise.
Newest Footlights Committee member confirmed
We feel nostalgia and feel, like Kermit, and Piggy, and Fozzie, that our best days may already be behind us. We wonder whether we can ever really recapture the hope and imagination we once had, when time is short, and some sort of contract seems to have been signed on our behalf by men in suits a long time ago.
Like Jason Segel and his adorable Muppet brother, Walter, we are growing up, and not quite sure how we feel about it. Are we men or Muppets? What do we really want? How do we balance our responsibilities with our own desires?
It’s also got jokes in it. It’s so rare now to see a comedy with simple gags, awful gags, terrible gags, painful, wonderful and delicious gags. If Fozzie Bear turned up as a stand-up in Cambridge everyone would assume he was being ironically bad. He would bring the house down at successive Corpus smokers.
I hope you get what I’m trying to say: our generation is, well, a bit fucked up. If you, like me, have occasionally done things like playing spaceships in a cardboard box over the course of your Cambridge degree, then I think you’ll enjoy The Muppets as much as I did, because it’s profound, moving and very, very funny.