Monday, 21 July 2014

Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

















So at the start of this movie there is a little musical number with some lyrics rhythmically explaining that sequels are never quite as good, a cute self referential/self mocking gag. Well umm...gee, what can I say accept...bingo! Yes this whole movie is almost one big self referential joke crammed full of obligatory pop culture references that just make you groan and slump your head into your hands.

The plot unfolds around a master criminal who happens to look identical to Kermit and is the number one criminal in the world. This amphibian wants to steal the British Crown Jewels with the help of Ricky Gervais who is the second best criminal in the world. So its a crime heist not too far off from 'The Great Muppet Caper'. So the fuzzy gang are trying to rejuvenate their show but are actually being used by the criminal duo who are unravelling a mystery that leads them to the Crown Jewels. Its all very 'Mr Bean-esque'.

First up I didn't like the film title, second up why can't we have Muppet movies based around classic tales/legends/fables again? why am I not seeing a Muppet Robin Hood? Anyway the story putters along in a gentle manner dotted with the odd musical number which on the whole weren't too bad, I quite liked the Gervais and evil Kermit duet. It did seem like there would be a song every other five minutes at one point but thankfully not. I did actually like the character of 'Constantine' (evil Kermit), at first I thought he was merely a cheap Kermit clone (kinda is) but he is voiced really well by Matt Vogel and is quite humerous at times. A Russian accent coming out of Kermit along with some nice evil facial expressions which are simply Kermit's face scrunched up into a snarl...was unexpectedly funny. Gervais wasn't the outright satirical funnyman we all know this time around but he gels well with his mean green accomplice.

The other amusing factor was the the second duo of Sam Eagle and Ty Burrell who plays a French Interpol Inspector. Despite the fact Burrell is clearly doing a hammy 'Inspector Clouseau' impersonation I can't deny that he does it well helped along by the stuffy Sam Eagle. Both bumble around in a predictable way looking for clues, Sam being the more keen by the books man/eagle, where as Burrell is the more laid back lazy not quite so intelligent European.

The movie bounces around from one pretty destination to the next giving us fancy looking set pieces and not much else really. Most of the Muppets don't figure too much this time, nothing from Gonzo, Rizzo, Fozzie etc...or new boy Walter! and naturally there are many pointless needless cameos. I know these Muppet films have always had cameos but they used to be from real legends of the silver screen, these days its the dregs of pop culture like Lady Gaga and Sean Combs *groan*. Still can't work out what the Celine Dion singing cameo was about, she just appears for absolutely no reason what so ever and vanishes again! hope it was worth the money sheesh!

I knew I wasn't gonna like this film much, I am a huge Muppet fan and grew up with the gang but ever since the final Muppet fantasy (Muppet Wizard of Oz) things have just gone down hill for me. Its all become very bland dull and chock full of annoying pop culture references and placements, the lovely fairytale fantasy element has all but gone. While the film wasn't terrible I wasn't overly impressed either. It just ticked along through unoriginal mundane formulaic fodder, no traditional Muppet hysteria present anywhere...until we reached the inevitably plain and predictable ending. What really summed it all up for me was the fact they tried to dodge the glaring problem of little imagination and creativity by going for this all out slightly satirical self referential gag angle like some sort of cover up, hoping no one will notice its all old hat.

I guess it just manages to squeeze over the pass mark because its the Muppets and you can't help but love em. That is still no excuse for a lazy movie relying on familiar faces to bring in the dough, unfortunately they do seem to be doing this, shoving our fave Muppets on the big screen for some easy earnings. I'm happy for more Muppets but lets get back to the fantasy/sci-fi side of things please, it works so well with Jim Henson's creations. I'm waiting for the Muppet version of Dracula please...anyone.

5/10