Kermit the Frog is as much a typical Hollywood leading man as Geprge Clooney. He can be suave, sophisticated, and has a great air of authority about him. He doesn’t have the same womanising reputation, of course. He’s a one woman frog. The love story of Kerit and Miss Piggy is one of the most enduring in screen history. They may have their ups and downs, but we are never left in any doubt that they are made for each other.
As far as the Muppet movies go, Kermit has lead a very interesting career. He has played himself in several movies, and played a character in others. The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan were entertaining movies, but never quite matched the superb comedy genius of the TV series that the Muppets made their name in. The TV shows may have been aimed mainly at kids, and as a child i loved them, but looking back they had a very sophisticated humour, and to me, that makes them timeless.
Cinematically, Kermit and friends didn’t really hit the heights until The Muppet Christmas Carol. A fantastic blend of beautiful storytelling and crowd pleasing humour it is, for me, the best version of the classic tale, possessing a solid emotional core that is genuinely affecting. I’ve often credited Toy Story as being the first movie to effectively mesh child friendly humour and compelling adult storytelling into one great film. This is doing The Muppet Christmas Carol a great disservice, as i feels it achieves this every bit as well as Pixar’s calling card.
Kermit has never quite hit the Hollywood heights since. The Muppet Treasure Island didn’t quite match the magic, Muppets From Space was probably on par with Muppet Caper, and the woeful The Muppets Wizard of Oz effectively ended Kermit’s career on the big screen. Until this year. Kermit and friends are making a comeback in 2011 with the simply titled film The Muppets. With the classic characters, and a host of famous stars, at the age of 56 it is an opportunity for the green one to introduce himself to a new generation of fans.
A question mark hangs over whether he can make himself, and his posse, relevant to the modern audience, but hopes are high. With Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s Jason Segel bringing some hip comedy creditability to the movie as both actor, and writer alongside Richard Stoller (Get Him To The Greek), there are sure to be some great laughs, though presumably without the edge of Sarah Marshall and the Russell Brand vehicle Get Him To The Greek.
At the age of 56, Kermit doesn’t have the same problem as Clooney. He hasn’t aged a day, still looking fresh-faced. His problem is that he is a relic from another time, when puppets were cool, before the days of computer animation. It’ll be interesting to see if he really can catch the imagination of today’s movie audiences. I really hope he does, it has been too long since we enjoyed the Muppet magic on the big screen, and i’ll definitely be at the front of the line for a ticket.
Bazmann – You can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/baz_mann