By Alissa S. Lloyd | Photography Editor
From their TV show debut in 1976, the Muppets have been delighting audiences around the world with their zany antics and sweet, yet satirical, sense of humor. How could anyone not love their vaudeville acts on The Muppet Show and numerous movies? After The Muppets became a critical success, a sequel was the only answer to the hit movie. Muppets Most Wanted is a delight and will remind fans of The Great Muppet Caper.
Starting exactly where The Muppets left off, Kermit and the gang are unsure of what to do next. At the suggestion of their new manager Dominic Badguy, they decide to go on a world tour. However, as the Muppets are about to perform their first show, Kermit is replaced by criminal mastermind Constantine. Kermit, now imprisoned in a Russian gulag as Constantine, must find a way back to his friends and stop the most world’s dangerous frog from stealing the crown jewels of England.
Joining Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo and the others are Ricky Gervais as Dominic Badguy, Tina Fey as the no-nonsense prison guard who wants Kermit to help with the annual gulag revue and Ty Burrell as a French Interpol Inspector who teams up with Sam the Eagle to capture a thief known as The Lemur. And of course there are the endless cameos including Tom Hiddleston, Selma Hayek and Danny Trejo. Tina Fey and Ty Burrell do fantastic accents, while Ricky Gervais is terrific fun, playing second fiddle to the #1 criminal.
Oscar-winning songwriter Bret McKenzie returns to write new songs. Easily the best song was We’re Doing a Sequel, which was reminiscent of a 1940s-style musical number. The song Something So Right was very much in the style of Man or Muppet, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. It lacked a bit of originality that the rest of the musical numbers had. However, McKenzie keeps the songs in the spirit of the Muppets’ humor.
What was lacking from the movie was the Muppets’ humor. There were not as many puns for which they are famous. In the beginning, Constantine was blowing up everything, which might have been intended to be a running gag, but it only happened twice. If the writers had added more humor, it would have made the movie better. However, Muppets Most Wanted did have its funny moments. Ty Burrell provides much comedy as the lazy French Interpol detective who misses out on important clues and takes hours-long lunch breaks; Sam the Eagle is not impressed by Europeans. Of course the pop culture movie references, such as Gone With the Wind, Silence of the Lambs and The Pink Panther, were a great source of humor, too.
Although not quite as good as the first movie (and they warned us about this in the opening number), Muppets Most Wanted is a good source of entertainment for everyone. If you like mysteries and mistaken identities, if you want to see machomen Danny Trejo and Ray Liotta in a chorus line, or if you just love the Muppets, this is a great film for you.