Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kermit the King

I haven't seen The Muppets yet. At this rate, it seems that I will eventually see it on or from Netflix, which is what I say about almost all new releases now. And then, of course, I don't end up seeing most of them on Netflix. My Netflix queue currently has something like 400 movies on it, and I'm pretty sure I've had one disc out since about last February. So if I'm honest with myself (and I can be, for a two-hour block late every Thursday night), I may never see The Muppets.

That's just to say that I don't have the full context for Noah Millman's review of the movie, which I recently happened upon. It's hard to finally judge this review. The fact that it doesn't topple over into total poser-dom is a small miracle. Maybe the seriousness with which he addresses it is a joke, but it doesn't feel like that either. I guess I love the Muppets enough myself that I'm willing to go along with a lot of this. Yet there's also something so insane about the excerpt below. Visit yourself and make up your own mind. For now, that excerpt, with the bold italics most decidedly mine:
In virtually every scene – most especially in his emceeing of the show – Kermit seemed to me to be phoning it in. It’s partly a problem of character – this Kermit is exceptionally passive, never coming up with solutions for problems, always ready to admit defeat. But this could have worked brilliantly if it had built to a big moment of recognition that this is what he was doing, and he finally returned to his true self. (Kermit is the Aragorn figure of the movie, the true king in self-imposed exile because he doesn’t believe he is actually fit to be king.) But that moment of recognition never really came. We got the speech after the moment – the speech about not having really failed and how it doesn’t really matter if they lose the studio or their name. But we didn’t get the moment.

But it was more a problem of performance. Kermit, in his prime, was a great leading man, a blend of Humphrey Bogart’s rumpled integrity and Cary Grant’s barely-suppressed hysteria. (Sorry, I’ve been reading Stanley Cavell again.) This Kermit doesn’t seem like that character grown old – it seems like that performer going through the motions.


Blogger Dezmond said...

It is almost as if this current Kermit was not really in control of his own performance. I don't know. As if there was some other force at work behind the scenes. Almost as if he were a puppet instead of his own man.

11:12 AM  

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