There was a time when I believed I would never meet a bigger Muppet fan than Jason Segel.
Then I met James Bobin.
I really liked his work on “Flight Of The Conchords,” and I was just excited to have him working in features in general. I didn’t realize how big an influence the Muppets were on him until talking to Jason Segel about it on the set of “Five Year Engagement” this summer. He told me that meeting Bobin was sort of like looking in a mirror that turned you British, and that he felt like “The Muppets” was in the perfect hands.
Having seen the finished film, I concur. Bobin was programmed to make this film from a very early age, and all you have to do is look at the way he stages his version of the iconic opening sequence to the original “Muppet Show” to see how OCD can, indeed, prepare you for a life in the arts. It is perfect, down to the smallest detail. That seems to be something that can elude filmmakers, no matter how much they try to reproduce things. Look at the “Halloween” series, for example, where they never seem to be able to get the Michael Myers mask to look the same way twice. Bobin does such a good job making his film fit into a visual world that has already been established that he makes it look easy, and people may not realize just how deft his sleight of hand really is.
I would compare this to Tim Burton’s feature debut on “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.” You get a real sense of play from Bobin’s work, and I hope this movie’s a big ol’ hit for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is so that Bobin can move on to whatever else interests him. He’s got a very fun voice as a filmmaker, and I’d love to see what sort of things he does as a director.
“The Muppets” is playing everywhere today, so why are you still home reading stories on your computer?