We went to see the Muppets on Thanksgiving. It was just so awesome I can't express it more eloquently than that. I said a couple months ago that I thought it would take Gen-Xers who grew up loving the Muppets to regain the old magic, and by golly, I was right. Of course, the effect of having two writers who grew up loving the Muppets is that they couldn't have written a bigger (quite literal) nostalgia trip if they had tried. I would say the movie has a heavy subtext of the quest to regain the lost innocence of childhood, but it's really pretty much just plain text.
Not that any of this is a bad thing. And the thing that really catapulted this movie past a simple rehashing of the past is that they were able to pay homage to the past (they included Wayne and Wanda!) while introducing new, good material in the same style and spirit.
I have to say, if you're going to see a movie like this, I higly recommend finding a six-year-old Muppet fan to take with you. I mean, B and I enjoyed ourselves, but I looked over during the opening song and she was singing along and dancing with her doll. She loved it in the unselfconscious way you only can when you're six.
I must say, there are a lot of things I love about six. One big one is that she's made a big leap forward in bravery and can watch a lot of things she used to find too scary. There were several previews before the movie that we thought we would like to see, and for the first time, they all looked like things we could take K to. It was a long year the year she was four and just the thought of a darkened theater was too scary for her. The movie we finally got her to go see in the theater was Toy Story 3, and as I sat there holding K on my lap at the end of movie, with all of the main characters headed towards a fiery death and listening to children around me sobbing, all I could think is, "Are you freaking KIDDING me, Pixar?" An entire year of not being able to take her to a movie and they decide to load a supposedly G rated movie with prison and horror movie tropes.* But she managed to survive (although she still won't watch it on dvd) and started being able to go to select, mild movies again. And now this year, we've actually seen multiple movies, with more in the offing that we can really look forward to seeing (as opposed to movies like Winnie the Pooh, which while sweet, had most of its charm in its ability to get us out of the heat on a 100 degree day). Yay!
* Don't get me wrong, I loved Toy Story 3. But it didn't deserve its G rating. Muppets, by comparison, with absolutely nothing remotely scary or traumatic, was a PG, presumably for the fart shoes. I'm hardly one to put much stock in the movie rating system, but I do feel like if a movie is rated G, I should be able to have a reasonable confidence that it will not lead my five-year-old (as well as half of the other children in the theatre) sobbing in fear. What's the point of having ratings, otherwise?