Life’s a Happy Song

Muppets Walter life's a happy songWhen I was a kid, and our VCR was an amazing piece of technology, while we rented a lot of movies, we didn’t really own very many. Mostly we’d just record movies off of the TV when they’d play. One of the few that I watched several million times was The Muppets Take Manhattan. Aside from Sesame Street, it was my main beloved method of exposure to the Muppets.

Last weekend I took the family to see their newest film, simply titled The Muppets, and had one of the best times I’ve had in the theater in my life. My nostalgia for these characters wasn’t simply acknowledged, it was celebrated. My kids weren’t raised on Sesame Street or the Muppet Show, and, much like as portrayed in the movie, these characters hadn’t much relevance for them. My 9-year-old son even admitted to being creeped out by those puppets. I figured this weekend would either cure him or traumatize him. I think it cured him, but he won’t admit it.

My 12-year-old son was pretty indifferent. It was like he was just too cool to be there, and I don’t think it connected with him. My 6-year-old daughter, however, was delighted. She laughed, danced a little, and applauded along with the movie’s audience at the big finale. So at least they’ve made one new fan in my family.

Muppets movie posterFor me, it almost felt like this movie read my mind, found everything a Muppet movie was supposed to be, and spit it out onto the screen. The Muppets were playing themselves, not established characters like in Muppet Treasure Island or Muppet Christmas Carol; they’re at their best when they can be let loose to save the day by putting on a show. While Jason Segel & Amy Adams were fantastic in their parts, their characters stepped back and let the Muppets take top billing. It’s kind of a paradox: While nobody goes to a Muppet movie for the human actors, we still have to have great cameos. While the ones in this movie weren’t on the caliber of Manhattan, they were still pretty satisfying (although, what was up with James Carville?).

The songs were phenomenal. When they busted out “Rainbow Connection” at the end, I almost teared up. And if Jason Segel and the newest Muppet, Walter (oh yeah, I drew a cartoon of him above), aren’t allowedMuppets movie poster to sing “Life’s a Happy Song” at the Oscars and/or have that song win the award, everyone in Hollywood should be fired.

What I think I liked best, though, was the feeling that this movie was just flipping a giant bird (big bird?) to the cynicism that permeates almost all of what our culture is putting out for kids. The movie didn’t try to make the Muppets edgier or “XTreme”; the attitude was as simple as the characters themselves: Life’s a happy song, guys. Laugh and love each other.

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About Nick Perkins

Insurance drone by day, cartoonist by night.
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7 Responses to Life’s a Happy Song

  1. Travis says:

    Your second to last line, “The movie didn’t try to make the Muppets edgier or “XTreme”; the attitude was as simple as the characters themselves: Life’s a happy song, guys.” has sold me. I may go pay full price to go see this. I have been so nervous ever since I heard Disney was making a Muppet movie.

  2. cartoonista says:

    Travis, if you have any nostalgia whatsoever for the Muppets, this movie was simply made for you. And there’s a Toy Story short right before, too. Go see it!

  3. CMrok93 says:

    Longtime Muppet fans will undoubtedly have more fun than young ones, but for the most part, it’s a witty, delightful romp, that shows you that you can still be funny, without ever being mean still in 2011. Good review. Check out mine when you get the chance.

  4. cartoonista says:

    Agreed. Liked your review, too, thanks for commenting!

  5. Travis says:

    I live for the Muppets. I am not a huge Disney fan. I moaned when I heard they bought the Muppets. Since then Disney has done some terrible things with the Muppets. But they have done some great things. I am hoping this is one of the great ones.

    BTW, I have managed to convert all my kids to the Muppets so no whiners in my house if we go.

  6. Annie says:

    Myself and my husband brought my 85 year old Nan a Kermit toy for Christmas – we had so much fun with it over the festive period, young and old alike… at the same time I came across the Muppet Movie on TV and promptly recorded it.

    Fast forward a week and I had to leave work early today as I was hit with the nasty common cold. Curled up on the sofa I pressed play and fell in love again with the muppets! So many memories and despite the sneezing I had the most enjoyable time…

    I was very sad when the 112 minutes was up and after dancing from the sofa I searched the internet for a toy Walter… and text my husband to let him know what he had missed out on.

    Anyway to cut this short my husband has just sat through the film with me again this evening… how wonderful the second time, although he hasn’t seen many Muppet Movies, himself he was a big fan of Sesame St and was impressed that a couple of the songs had been written by the guy from Flight Of the Concords…

    I will make sure that any children I know will be Muppet fans from the off and I will be keeping my eye out for a Walter.

    Happy Muppet Days!

    P.S I love your cartoon of Walter above… I think I am in love

  7. cartoonista says:

    Annie, thank you so much for sharing! I really need to rent this again…:)

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