March 21, 2014

Movie Review: Muppets Most Wanted

Three years ago the Muppets returned to the big screen. That movie had to be thought of as a gamble, I mean, the Muppets have not exactly been on the tongue of popular culture of late. Still, it looked like a fun movie, and it turned out to be fantastic. It was a movie that knew exactly what kind of uphill battle it had, it was a story about friendship and good things as much as it was a fight for survival, a claim for continued relevance. It is a movie that proved to be immensely enjoyable for all ages across all demographics, it was fun, funny, silly, and creative. It was inevitable that we would get a sequel. The biggest question is whether it would prove to be worthy.

The sequel has arrived in the guise of Muppets Most Wanted. It features the return of key creative personnel, including director James Bobin, co-writer Nicholas Stoller, and song writer Bret McKenzie. None of the human cast returns, meaning no more Jason Segel and Amy Adams, which is a shame as they were both quite good in that first movie. This time around primary human characters are played by Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell, joined by a host of cameos, including Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Danny Trejo, Ray Liotta, Christoph Waltz, Stanley Tucci, and Salma Hayek.

Muppets Most Wanted picks up right where The Muppets ended. It also reveals that the movie telling the story was, in fact, a movie and as the sets are dismantled and the extras dismissed they realize they have been signed up for a sequel. This leads to the movies best song, “We're Doing a Sequel.” Following this enjoyable number the movie begins to settle into its tale as a sketchy manager, Dominic Badguy (Gervais), signs the Muppets up for a world tour. Little do they know that a master criminal who looks like Kermit, Constantine, has escaped a Siberian Gulag and is intent on replacing Kermit. The goal is to use the Muppets tour as cover for a series of burglaries in a plot to steal the crown jewels in London.

I really wanted to love this flick. Of course, I was basing that on my affections for the prior film, which really came out swinging for the fences and connected. With that being said, Muppets Most Wanted was merely and modestly entertaining. I did not feel the love for it that I wanted to. Yes, I laughed, yes, I liked the cameos, and yes it did feel like a Muppet movie. Still, the whole thing felt a bit on the flat side. It is something I am having a hard time putting my finger on, it was just a bit off.

It is a little hard to really give my opinion on the movie considering the difficulty I am having putting my finger on the issues. It does not come across as being as memorable, the heart does not seem to be quite as big. Sure, I enjoyed it and I loved seeing Danny Trejo as one of the Siberian prisoners, but it just never quite came together. I did not dislike it, just never really warned up to the plot. As a matter of fact it seemed like there was a bit too much focus on the plot and not enough on the individual Muppets.

There's the problem, which has to be a rare occurrence. Too much plot. Too much time spent on Constantine being Kermit, too much on Gervais's number 2 bad guy, too much time on their burglaries. Not enough time spent with Fozzie telling jokes, or Gonzo pulling off insane stunts, or any of the more minor muppets doing anything. Yes, they were there, occasionally making their presence known, but it somehow wasn't enough.

Now, do not let me dissuade you from seeing the movie. I liked it, I was entertained, it made me smile and occasionally chuckle. It is not completely devoid of inventiveness. No, it doesn't live up to the last one, something they recognize in the opening song. Still, it is fun for the family and worth seeing. Just keep some of those hopes in check.

Oh, and people really need to listen to Animal...


Related Posts with Thumbnails


Post a Comment