You'll recall that two week's ago, news hit that James Bobin (dir. "Flight of the Conchords") was officially attached to direct Disney's new Muppet movie.
Written by Jason Segel ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall," TV's "Freaks and Geeks," "How I Met Your Mother") and Nicholas Stoller (dir. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"), the script has been previously known as "The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made," but the film, and script — that's evidently somewhat hard to get your hands on — is actually now called, "The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time."
A friend of ours would not share said screenplay, said it was still being kept under semi-wraps, but did share quite a few details with us including the basic plot synopsis. So what's it about? He writes:
"The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time" is about Gary, Mary, and Walter (a man, his girlfriend, and the man's life-long nondescript, brown puppet best friend) getting the old Muppet gang — now retired entertainers known for the same Muppet show we know them from — together to save the TV studio that the original show was shot in. A villain, Tex Richman (nice name, on par with Doc Hopper), bent on drilling for oil underneath the studio, is due to take over the studio in weeks and the only way to stop him? Putting on a show that draws ten million viewers (see also "Heartbroken: The Conan O'Brien Story").The duo, Segel and Stoller, proved more than capable during their puppet-heavy musical number in 'Sarah Marshall' (it's as if that scene was an audition for this writing gig). So how is the script?
[So is the aforementioned plot synopsis a] fun set-up? Sure. A great set-up? Not really. Aside from it being just ok, it locks the story inside the world of show business. Some of the greatest moments from the first two films happened when the Muppets were out in the real world (the gang running the hotel in 'Caper,' Sweetums as hired help at a used car dealership, etc.), not necessarily being themselves putting a show together. This may be what makes "The Great Muppet Caper" especially good, it leaves the show business storyline behind and lets the Muppets pretend to be normal everyday characters.They sent a long email, but here's another good graph explaining their overall feelings.
It's a solid attempt at recapturing what made "The Muppet Show" and the first two Muppet movies so great, but "The Great Muppet Movie of All Time" is no "Great Muppet Caper" — 'Caper' being to the first Muppets film, what "The Empire Strikes Back" is to "Star Wars" — but it is a fresh, younger approach. Stoller and Segel have fun with the characters, are aware of what made the Muppet early years so great (winks to the audience, friendly musical numbers, single gag repetition, friendship and togetherness being the answer to everything), and hit the mark 65% of the time. We're hoping the songs (the majority of which were missing from the script) help elevate the script from a harmless Muppet flick to a more memorable one, but there's more work to be done first. But what their script lacks (oddly enough, this being a Muppet movie and all) is forward pulse. "The Muppet Movie" is about a frog's drive to get to Hollywood and the people he meets along the way and the friendships he makes.So we asked, maybe this is a first draft with better revisions to come? Maybe not, it's dated October 2009. So if Disney's aiming to shoot this summer, and that's the plan, they better get crackin', or hope they have some damn fine entertaining songs.
In the meantime, while you wait for this film, you can entertain yourself by watching this viral clip of Beaker doing his unique mmeeeming hum through Kansas' "Dust In The Wind."