The Muppets was a success across the board: critics, audiences and the box office all reflected love for the film that winked at a Hollywood comeback tale. But what is your fondest memory of The Muppets? For most of us, while we loved Jason Segel and Amy Adams, it was the Oscar-winning piano duet “Man or Muppet.” Segel and Adams are not back for Muppets Most Wanted, but Bret McKenzie, the musical genius behind the muppety music, returns – and that’s what matters to kids.
Kids love musicals. The evidence is pretty obvious; look at the Frozen frenzy. Then, there’s TV’s Glee and start to go back: High School Musical, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins. Heck, the world loved it when Shirley Temple sang a song. And yet, musicals are somewhat rare in the world of kid cinema. Sure, there’s always at least one great song to play over the closing credits, but I’m talking about actual musicals. Why are there so few when it’s clearly a marker of success in the family-film world?
Perhaps the reason is that when a good musical hits, it’s huge. When a song-and-dance film doesn’t cut the muster, it not only misses, it becomes a national punchline. Remember back to our childhood: Grease was a monster hit. Then through the decades came Bugsy Malone, Pirates of Penzance and Newsies – even Robert Duvall and a young Christian Bale couldn’t save that one. But here’s the funny thing: flops or not, I have fond childhood memories of all those films. I even loved Grease 2 and Xanadu. When it comes to kids, the script, the acting and the directing are less important than a good story and a great song.
Here are three other films to see with your family this weekend:
Divergent. This dystopian teen movie about survival (which is at times pretty violent) shows we must rise above the labels put upon us.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Peabody’s WABAC machine allows Sherman to travel back in time, introducing world history to children in a vibrant, amusing way.
A Birder’s Guide to Everything. People cope with death differently. Fifteen-year old David Portnoy goes on a search for a rare bird. David’s dad, on the other hand, gets married. Between the subject matter and crass teen talk, this one’s better for a high school audience.
To see what kids think of these movies, go to KidsPickFlicks.com, where all kids are movie critics!