It’s not been a banner year for The Playlist’s inner child. We’ve been spoiled in recent years, admittedly, but even the better kids flicks of the year so far, like “Rango” and “Kung Fu Panda 2,” seem aimed at adults more than children, drawing on the Western and martial arts genres, but neglecting the sense of inner wonder that’s so necessary, leaving “Super 8” as the only film that’s really scratched that particular itch.
Thank god for “The Muppets,” then. Jim Henson‘s classic felt creations are on their way back to the big screen as Disney‘s big winter tentpole, after being resurrected by “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” duo Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, who’ve also drafted in “Flight of the Conchords” veterans James Bobin (to direct) and Bret McKenzie (to write the songs), and the film’s barreling towards a release at the end of the year. A killer marketing campaign has started unrolling in recent weeks, with fake-out trailers spoofing romantic comedies, “The Hangover” and, most recently, “Green Lantern,” but now the real thing has arrived (via Rope of Silicon), and not only does it confirm Segel’s promise in the last promo that the film isn’t in Swedish, but it also is the best look at a film that could be the most fun we’ll have in theaters all year.
The plot isn’t exactly at the forefront of things here, but the trademark brand of anarchy certainly is, with sword fights, love scenes, musical numbers, electrocution, a full-on brawl and fart gags all crammed into a couple of minutes. All the favorites are in there, while human leads Segel and Amy Adams seem to be perfectly cast, their sincere, wide-eyed enthusiasm exactly what the film needs. And is that a glimpse of a musical number with villain Chris Cooper? Sweet Jesus, we can’t wait for that. Perhaps most refreshing here is the lo-fi charm of it all: when was the last time a major film like this had no obvious CGI shots in its trailer?
There’s still plenty under wraps here, with the songs still secret (besides what seems to be a rendition of Starship‘s “We Built This City,” which scores the trailer), and no glimpse yet of the film’s starry cameos, which include Zach Galifianakis, Jack Black, Katy Perry, Ricky Gervais, Donald Glover, Eric Stonestreet, Billy Crystal, Danny Trejo, Wanda Sykes, Alan Arkin and Dave Grohl. Disney will put it out just in time for Thanksgiving, on November 23rd, and we’re counting the days.