Published on June 20th, 2011 | by Aaron0
Tease Me, Baby! – The Muppets (Full Length Trailer)
When the teaser trailers for the new Muppet movie started rolling out I gave a less than glowing review of them. While I consider myself a bit of a Muppet afficianado and somewhat of a credible blogger (a possible contradiction in terms) I am not the only Muppet know-it-all on this site. JJ Hawkins of Mars Needs fame would be the Statler to my Waldorf.
He voiced his concern that I was wrong about the quality of what we would get once the movie opens. In fact, he pretty much calls me out on one of his podcasts. Never one to shy away from a good argument, I thought I could have a little chat with him now that the new full length trailer for The Muppets has been released.
Check out the trailer below and then our thoughts/rantings on the matter as we manage to take a movie about puppets very seriously.
Aaron: So… What do you think?
JJ: For one thing, I am glad they have done away with the parody. The Green Lantern preview was amusing, but i felt like it was time to show us something.
I liked the notes the trailer hit. The idea that the Muppets have fallen out of favor and the theater has fallen into disrepair, gives the story a kind of meta-storytelling that the Muppets are well suited for. I could hear your voice in my head bitching about how much Jason Segel and Amy Adams are in the tralier, but need I remind you of the waitress character from Muppets Take Manhattan? She is a human counterpart who is also used as a major character. I think they will be fine. I am maintaining my cautious optimism.
Aaron: Don’t you dare use Jenny against me! That woman was a saint. A terrible waitress but a saint no less.
Yes, the idea of the story being a play on where the Muppets are as a franchise is not a bad one. However, remember that’s only one half of the plot. The other half being this new Muppet character being chaperoned everywhere by Amy “Disney” Adams and Jason “I’m making a stupid face” Segel.
Seriously, JJ, you’re an actor. Are you not saddened by the level of hamming-it-up being presented here?
JJ: It seems on the surface that the level of hamming may be strong, but watch a trailer with St. Jenny and you will see she is doing much of the same. It all depends on the coherence of the script and director.
As for the new character, I am sure he is the representative for the audience. It is a valid storytelling device and may in fact be very important to the new generation. I admit, I still have reservations, I want to love this film with all my heart, but my reservations are not fueled by this trailer.
…except the usage of “We Built This City” ugh. That was a bad call Ripley. A bad call.
Aaron: It’s true. I don’t want to be all doom and gloom about a movie based on some badly put together teasers and one trailer. These are accomplished movie makers. I guess what has me freaking out is the actual lack of Muppet-style comedy I’m seeing. It’s to be expected, it’s a new team at the helm, but to me it’s kind of like seeing the Monty Python cast acting to a Farrelly Brothers’ script. It’s not that it wouldn’t be still funny, it’s just that it wouldn’t feel right. I mean… “fart shoes”? Just hearing Fozzie say the word “fart” is completely out of character.
But if your reservations aren’t with what you’re seeing in the trailers, where do they lay?
JJ: My fears come from something you just said. They are badly assembled trailers. As Hollywood becomes more terrified to take chances entertainment becomes mainstream and the individual voice disappears. The Muppets are, quite frankly, visionary. No one had filmed puppets in the way that Jim Henson and his crew did. In one generation we went from hundreds of years of “Punch and Judy” type shows to puppets that could live in an immersive real environment. Heck, just the first shot in The Muppet Movie has Kermit surrounded by water! There is no traditional place for the Muppeteer to hide. I am afraid that even if the people fueling this film have that vision, the committee machine that puts films out will dim the final product.
As I said earlier, if the tone that the trailers evokes is to work, then the director has to create a world that that hammy acting style works. Much like the old films do. Go to YouTube and check out old clips, everyone talks to the Muppets as if they are children, but it holds up because the whole style works. That is the necessary vison.
When is the last time you saw a truly unique film? Maybe the first Matrix? 300?
Plus, I hope the desire to make a good film doesn’t make them try to hard. That is what killed Green Lantern, they just tried too hard.
I do agree, I would have preferred Fozzie would have said “Whoopie Shoes” but that is what I mean by (possibly) being forced to mute the unique tone and make jokes to the 2 1/2 Men crowd.
Aaron: The positive veneer cracks! See, why couldn’t you just bitch and moan about it with me in the first place like the old geeky fans that we are?! How dare you leave the grumpy hatred to me.
JJ: Because I have hope you cynical bastard. If we are to judge the film by the trailers we have seen, the outcry that I have seen is unwarranted. Let’s face it, what I just said about this film is the same for most films that come out these days. I choose to go into the theater to be entertained. I think the cynics (I am not putting you in this category) forget how to have fun. I want to go to the movies and have a good time watching Muppets. That is all. Now that doesn’t give them free reign to crap out something not worth my time, but to say that this trailer portends to a bad movie is ludicrous. Amy Adams played a similar character in Enchanted, and it worked. Segel loves the Muppets and the puppet scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshal was a highlight. The filmmakers don’t make trailers anymore. I think Scott Pilgrim would have had a better one if they did.
Bitching and moaning puts you in the mind set to hate before you even get to see what you supposedly enjoy. It is a waste of time and energy. You keep being Oscar the Grouch, and I will be Ernie, the eternal optimist.
Aaron: Get out of here before I hit you with my trash can!