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Rainbolt Report – The Muppets!

Once again upon entering the Alamo Drafthouse here in Austin, Texas, and getting in line with a crowd of old and new fans, I knew I was in for a good night. I saw many folks holding their favorite Muppet character or wearing their favorite green Kermit shirt. I could feel the magic in the air, a sort of Muppet-mania brewing. I was just waiting for Big Bird to make his cameo at the Drafthouse like he does in most Muppet movies.

I waited in line for an advanced screening with older and younger fans and I chatted up both. I could tell from the reactions of all the fans that they loved the furry and felt creatures created by Jim Henson many years ago. I heard people quote lines from previous movies and some talked in Muppet voices. Even a giant Beaker made an appearance and every one had to have a picture with him.

Upon entering the theater and getting seated, in true Alamo Drafthouse fashion, older Muppet episodes are playing instead of ads from local car dealerships. I sat there and remembered each episode playing while we waited. Kermit singing Rainbow Connection, Elton John all jazzed up belting out Crocodile Rock, and even the great Alice Cooper episode where he’s singing Welcome to My Nightmare.

With all this nostalgia blasting me in the face, I was hoping the new Walt Disney Pictures The Muppets wouldn’t fall short. It didn’t.

The plot is simple: On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, and his friends Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds. To stage “The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever” and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate.

It’s hard to believe that this all started with Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller pitching a concept for a Muppets movie to Disney Executive Vice President of Production Kristin Burr. Luckily they were offered a deal to develop their script and landed James Bobin at the directorial helm. And with amazing cameos from Emily Blunt, Zack Galifianakis, Billy Crystal, Jack Black, Alan Arkin, Mickey Rooney  and even Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, how could you go wrong?

Every part of the movie made me feel good inside and even the character of the evil Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) made me laugh on queue. I felt the old vibe of the Muppets and that was what I was hoping for. Walter is a refreshing new character; he was perfect in his own way and he held his own in his duet with Segel. In no way did Jason Segel and Amy Adams or any other human overpower the true stars of the movie, the original Muppets. After the introduction of most of the characters, it quickly became an awesome trip back to the good-old-days.

This movie reminded me that you are never too old to enjoy the Muppets. I honestly thought that after The Walt Disney Company bought the Muppets in 2004 things would just go south and that was the end of the Muppets as I knew them, to the point where I just didn’t even bother seeing The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz in 2005. However this new movie was made by and for people who love the Muppets.

I am sure glad I made it my goal to see this last night; it really is setting the tone for the rest of my week. If you get a chance to see this on its release date of November 23rd, you are in for a real treat. I give this movie 5 out of 5 Nerdskulls so you take your kiddos or loved-one out to see it.

I grew up on Kung Fu theater movie weekends, a lot of Top Ramen Noodles, G.I. Joe's, Evil Knivels Stunt Cycle and Stretch Armstrong. My Movie reviews and Artist Interviews have been a regular around Nerdlocker.com. Follow me on Twitter @arainbolt. or email me aaron@nerdlocker.com

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