Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Movie Review: Muppets Most Wanted (PG – 107 minutes)

The Muppets were created in 1955 by Jim Henson – you know what they are, I shouldn’t have to explain them.  You probably watched Sesame Street growing up (if you didn’t, you should have) and I you have kids now – chances are they’re watching it too.  You may remember the Muppet Show in the late 70s and early 80s which featured the Muppets doing absurdist variety-sketch comedy with guest stars. 

Over the years, they’ve made many movies:  The Muppet Movie (1979), The Great Muppet Caper (1981), The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984.  Jim Henson passed away in 1990, and the Muppets slowly built back their legacy.  They had a resurgence of the TV show in the 90s, and then the Muppet Christmas Carol in 1992, Muppet Treasure Island in 1996, and Muppets from Space in 1999. The Great Muppet Caper was always my favorite.

 In 2004, Disney purchased the Muppets, and we got a new movie in 2011, co-written by Jason (and huge Muppet fan) Jason Segel, and directed by James Bobin.  It was fun, featured tons of big-time celebrity cameos, and featured songs (with one nominated for an Oscar) by Flight of the Conchords’ Bret Mackenzie.  Incidentally, James Bobin had also directed many of the Flight of the Conchords episodes. 

This movie is a sequel (you know that because there is a huge song at the beginning entitled, “we’re doing a sequel”) – continuing the story literally where the story from the 2011 movie ends.  Kermit and the gang are thrilled that they saved their theatre, but are unsure what step to take next.  Criminal mastermind Dominic Badguy (it’s pronounced Bad-gee – it’s French) suggests a world tour. 

Unfortunately for them, they do not realize that he is, in fact, a bad guy and has set them up in locations where he wants to rob priceless works of art.  Meanwhile, Constantine, the world’s most dangerous frog, escapes from a gulag in Siberia, slaps a mole on Kermit’s face, sends Kermit to the gulag, replaces him with the gang, and works with Dominic to steal the pieces that will lead to them being able to steal the crown jewels in London.  The gang is slow to realize something is amiss, and Kermit is slowly acclimating to gulag life.  Once they rescue him, they set out to clear his name and make things right - oh, and stop Constantine from marrying Piggy.
In terms of actual humans with notable roles in the movie, there are really only three:
  • Ricky Gervais plays Dominic Badguy, and does a great job of being slimy and arrogant.  He’s not bringing anything you haven’t seen him do before – but he’s bringing what he’s great at – and it really works. 

  • Ty Burrell from Modern Family plays the Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon – who has most of his scenes with Sam the Eagle.  He is hilarious, and that French accent had me cracking up.

  • Tina Fey plays Nadya, the gulag showrunner.  She grows really fond of Kermit, and has him produce the annual gulag spring review.  Her Russian accent is equally hilarious.

  • In terms of the Muppets:
    • Steve Whitmire performs:  Kermit, Statler, Beaker, Rizzo the Rat, Link Hogthrob, and the Newsman

    • Eric Jacobson performs:  Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Sam the Eagle, and Animal

    • Dave Goelz performs:  Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen, Zoot, Beauregard, and Waldorf
    • Bill Barretta performs:  Pepe, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, Swedish Chef, and Bobo
    • David Rudman performs:  Scooter, and Janice, and others.
    • Matt Vogel performs: Constantine, Floyd, Sweetums, Pops, Robin, Crazy Harry, and the 80s robot.
  • Then there are the extensive human cameos.  The three in the prison get the most screen time, and they include Ray Liotta (who also cameoed in Muppets in Space), Danny Trejo (who seems to be playing himself) and Mackenzie’s Flight of the Conchords partner Jermaine Clement. 

  • Some (but not all) of the rest of the cameos are:  Tony Bennet, Lady Gaga, Andres Cantor, Hugh Bonneville, Sean Combs, Rob Corddry, Mackenzie Crook, Celine Dion, Zach Galifianakis, Josh Groban, Salma Hayek, Tom Hollander, Toby Jones, Frank Langella, Ross Lynch, James McAvoy, Chloe Grace Moretz, Usher Raymond, Miranda Richardson, Saoirse Ronan, Til Schweiger, Russell Tovey, Stanley Tucci, Christoph Waltz, and my favorite cameo of the movie – Tom Hiddleston as Escapo.

The movie was certainly enjoyable, and fun, and the cameos kept me paying attention.  It’s always fun to see people interact with Muppets, you never see them as puppets, they are legitimate characters, and the human actors always interact with them as such.  I do think I wanted a little more from it that it provided.  It was very Kermit-centric – which is not a problem if you are a huge Kermit fan, but if you prefer one of the other Muppets, there’s just not as much of them.  The songs were great, I particularly enjoyed the “I’ll Give It To You” number than Constantine (pretending to be Kermit) sings to Piggy – although it is clearly a Flight of the Conchords number, and you can completely picture Bret and Jermaine singing it.   Overall I liked it, I didn’t love it, and it certainly wasn’t as good as the Lego Movie.

7 out of 10 – certainly entertaining.  Gained points for Constantine attempting to use Kermit’s “Hi-Ho” catchphrase and turning it into “Hi-Lo”.  Lost points for not enough Pepe.  Gained points for not using Rizzo – I am not a Rizzo fan.  Gained points for the badge size battle, Lost points for that tiny car, that will give you claustrophobia – was Ty Burrell really driving that?  Gained points for the line, “Goodnight, Danny Trejo!”

Bonus Video 1:  Try getting this out of your head...

Bonus Video 1:  Flight of the Conchords – just a couple of songs…

Bonus Video 2:  The Star Wars Muppet Show

Bonus Video 3:  Cast Interviews

1 comment:

  1. Nice review Jeanette. Can't say I loved this flick like I loved the last one, but it's still just as much hilarious fun as that was.