I’m not going to fight with Johnny M over who loves the Muppets more. (I do.) The important thing is that the Muppets are back, and I couldn’t be happier. For our younger members who may not have been alive during the grand heyday of the Muppets, I’ll try to put it in perspective for you. In the late 70s/early 80s, the Muppets were bigger than Hanna Montana and Pokémon combined. They were bigger than Bieber. Bigger than Gaga. Bigger than Rebecca Black. While they’ve flirted with comebacks before, via movies and television, they haven’t really gotten the grand scale media blitz of a comeback they so richly and rightly deserve.
Will this new movie be the start of a full-scale Muppet Renaissance that will be lauded and studied in textbooks for years to come? Will modern audiences, so used to the high-gloss, high-tech world of today’s CGI movie characters, embrace the felt and foam crowd again? A lot will depend on the quality of the movie, of course. Director James Bobin is responsible for such quirky, but quality gems like The Flight of the Conchords, The 11 O’Clock Show and Da Ali G Show. Then, with Jason Segel starring and contributing to the screenplay, the potential certainly exists for a cross-over hit that will appeal to both Gen X and the kids of today.
The teaser trailers are certainly promising, offering up more than a few moments of patented Muppets mayhem, which is key in any Muppet venture. If you can deliver the barely-contained chaos AND the heart, you’re halfway there.