Erin and I took Ben and Maya and her friend Faith to see The Muppets over Thanksgiving. It was an education for me. I don’t go to the movies as much as I used to, and certainly not that many geared to kids, although this one was also a nostalgia trip for adults who grew up with Sesame Street and puppets known as Muppets. That’s the first thing I learned-Muppets and Sesame Street are not all-inclusive. I think Kermit is the main one who can lay claim to being a part of both camps.
We made an effort to make an early feature in hopes of taking advantage of early bird prices. Ours started at 10:40 a.m. The early bird matinee was at 10:00 a.m. The kids’ tickets were $7, Erin’s was $7.25, and my senior ticket was a real bargain at $6.75. I saved a whole 50 cents to spend on popcorn. Now I know that the concession stand is where the real money is made, not the ticket booth, but things have gotten ridiculous. I know Austin is a big city and prices are always higher and all, but really, $16.50 for two drinks and a gargantuan box of popcorn? Sure, it was a lot of popcorn for all that money, more than any human should consume at one sitting, but still. And people wonder why Americans are obese. We passed on refreshments.
We sat through three ads for high-end cell phones-at a movie aimed at six-year-olds, remember- an ad for a video game with cartoon characters that I thought a bit violent, considering it was for little kids, at least five kid-geared previews that also seemed a bit violent, and then without warning a short Toy Story video that just came out of nowhere.
And then the movie finally came on. The reviewers are giving it high marks; I thought it was a bit slow. By now you probably know the plot: Muppets put on a marathon to raise money to save the old Muppet studio while Gary and his Muppet brother Walter discover in which world they each belong, human or Muppet, the high point of that being Walter looking at his reflection in the mirror to see Jim Parsons, a.k.a Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, as Walter’s human side, a perfect piece of casting, I thought. The movie had some other nice touches, like the travel by map bit, Amy Adams’ character making a point about being alone with the aid of a thesaurus, and positive themes like finding your talent, that everyone has a talent, believing in yourself, and not give up sprinkled throughout the story. Among the fun celebrity cameo appearances was Selena Gomez, the movie’s ace in the hole to make sure slightly older kids would show up.
Unfortunately, when I heard one of the characters make a comment about those ones, the movie lost credibility with me. Gross misuse of pronouns, and kids will think it’s okay because it was in a movie!
At one point Kermit expresses concern that perhaps the Muppets are no longer relevant in today’s world. A valid concern when you consider the paradox of ads for cell phones and video games sharing screen time with a movie starring low-tech hand-manipulated puppets, which, let’s face it, in reality is still what Muppets are. And while I may not be as taken with the movie as everyone else, who can argue with a sincere green frog who still packs ‘em in?
Miss Piggy knows he’s still relevant. And who would dare argue with her?