New ‘Muppets’ trailer is both inspirational and celebrational

Did I really just hear a bunch of chickens sing Cee-Lo’s “F**k You”?

God bless The Muppets.

I haven’t posted every one of the many parody trailers for this film because, while I admire the effort by Disney, I’m more interested in the film they’re really releasing.  And now that we’ve got the new and much longer trailer for “The Muppets,” there’s a point that the preview raises that explains some of the thinking behind those parody trailers.

“You’re not famous anymore.”  Hard thing to believe for anyone who was raised in a Jim Henson world, but it’s somewhat true these days.  While “Sesame Street” is still a powerhouse brand, the Muppets themselves have been on simmer for a while now.  Over the last few years, ever since I was on set for the “Dracula” musical segment at the end of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” I’ve been having an ongoing conversation with Jason Segel about the Muppets.  He’s a huge fan, and making a new movie involving the classic Muppets has been a dream of his.

What’s lovely is that he not only got the chance to make the film, but that he found a kindred spirit in James Bobin, best known for his work as a director on “Flight Of The Conchords.”  Bobin is also a full-blown Muppet freak, and working with Segel and his co-writer Nicholas Stoller, he seems like the right guy to return the Muppets to their proper place in pop culture prominence.

The new trailer, embedded below, is a huge step in the right direction.  Everything about this looks like it’s right.  The sense of humor, the way celebrities are used, the dewey-eyed optimism of the whole thing.  Somewhere, I’d like to believe that Jim Henson is smiling right now:

Now that I’ve seen that much of the movie, I don’t want to see another frame until the film itself.  I don’t want any cameos spoiled for me.  I don’t want another joke given away.  Nothing.  I’m sold.  That looks confident and colorful and sweet and silly, and more than anything, I recognize the Muppets.  Those are the real characters, not pale imitations.  This might well turn out to be a special cross-generational event, a celebration of why we loved these characters in the first place as well as permission to fall in love with them all over again.

“The Muppets” opens in theaters November 23, 2011.