Thursday, March 27, 2014

Muppets Most Wanted

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Hurgan flurgen nurpen dur (amirite, Chef?)




Muppets Most Wanted – 5 out of 5

                                                                              Walt Disney Pictures
I don't know if it was neccessary to see Animal die an
agonizing death out in the cold...
I said it in my review of The Muppets but I just LOVE the Muppets! As I grew up, my off time from training in all sorts of martial arts and preparing to save the world from hipster zombies was spent watching reruns of The Muppet Show and wearing out the VHS tapes of their films. It was disappointing when their property was sold to Disney and all they did with it was make a couple of extremely disappointing Direct-to-DVD films but it was the opposite of disappointing (appointing?) when Jason Segel convinced The Mouse that he was sitting on a goldmine and The Muppets was made. Since that one was so well received and The Mouse learned the error of his ways, we got a follow-up with Muppets Most Wanted and it is just as awesome as the last film!

                                                                                                         Walt Disney Pictures
Nice to see Walter is a permanent part of the Muppets and not a one-off character.

                                                                               Walt Disney Pictures
Adding Ricky Gervais to anything makes that thing
88% cooler.
After the last movie proves the Muppets are back and bigger than ever, Kermit and the gang need to figure out their next move. Kermit wants to play it safe and work on refining their acts but after a meeting with a tour manager by the name of Dominic Badguy (pronounced “Bad-gee” and is played by Ricky Gervais), the man convinces the crew to do a world tour…much to Kermit’s chagrin. Meanwhile, the world’s most wanted criminal and Kermit look-alike; Constantine, breaks out of his Russian prison and swaps identities with Kermit. Our beloved amphibian who sings about rainbows is sent to the Gulag and kept under lock and key under the watchful eye of its warden Nadya (Tina Fey), while Constantine steals Kermit’s identity and uses the tour to try and pull off the greatest heist of all time…too bad CIA Agent Sam the Eagle and Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) is on the case and on Dominic and Constantine’s heels.

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"Search your feelings, Kermit, you know it to be true!"

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Some of my favorite moments of the film involved
these two.
While some might feel I am being generous giving this film my perfect score, I have to defend it by saying that this new experience with the Muppets was just as fun of an experience in the theaters as it was when the ragtag group of puppets hit the theaters after their long absence. The humor is fantastic and what you expect from the googly-eyed monsters and misfits. Constantly they are breaking the fourth wall and making references that span from easy pop culture quips to more complicated bits that might require Google to fully understand. The humor didn’t let up, even when the movie hits the usual Muppet-based tender scenes that throw around the eternal morals of friendship, togetherness and trust (but it wouldn't be a Muppet movie without these). While I was disappointed that 80s Robot didn’t get any play beyond being a background filler, the movie made up for it by acknowledging that Rizzo the Rat got snubbed in the previous film. 


                                                                                                          Walt Disney Pictures
I'm going to snub Rizzo here in this review and put up another photo of Animal.


Like everything before, the Muppeteers bring Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Walter, Sam the Eagle, the Swedish Chef, Rowlf, Animal and all the others to life in a way that becomes more convincing than some actors who mysterious got work and then later wasted the large paychecks they didn’t deserve for doing nothing more than stammering and yelling “Optimus” a lot and then went on to give an effort to become Hollywood’s biggest douche be stealing the works of other people. Seriously, the Muppeteers who brought them to life—performers like Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, Matt Vogel and more—are so talented that they can really highlight the humor, enhance the drama and make these puppets come to life in ways that a lot of actors could never hope to achieve with their flesh and blood body. 

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The next movie will reveal Kermit has a side-pig.

                                                                              Walt Disney Pictures
The Christ imagery was a little strange for a Muppet film.
The human performers are also terrific and keeping with the high standard that the Muppets have placed over the years. You have Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ty Burrell…if that isn’t a trifecta of comedy, then I will never know what funny is and I will joy a monastery tomorrow. But it doesn’t stop at the wickedly funny Gervais, the ├╝ber-funny Fey and the ultra funny (and the man who plays my hero Phil Dunphy) Burrell, you also get one half of the Flight of the Conchords; Jermaine Clement, Ray Liotta (making his second Muppets appearance) and Danny Trejo adding to the cast and adding to the hilarity. Not to mention, Burrell and Sam the Eagle have some great interactions together, are extremely amusing, and Burrell’s homage to Inspector Clouseau is enough to make me squeal with delight. 

                                                                                                       Walt Disney Pictures
Their next case, to find the Pink Panther diamond.

                                                                              Walt Disney Pictures
Danny Trejo can literally get in any movie.
The film also adds in a heaping dose of celebrity cameos that makes the film a fun “Who’s Going to Show Up Next?” type of game. Sure, some may find the cameos grating, annoying or even distracting but when you have Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Sean “I don’t know if it is Puff Daddy or Diddy anymore” Combs, Rob Corddry, Celine Dion, Tom Hiddleston, Christoph Waltz and oh so many more, it was really hard for me to find this dynamic to be bad in anyway. In fact, I wanted more cameos and more familiar faces showing up with the iconic Muppets. Serious, how awesome would it be to be in a Muppet film—even as a cameo—and how easy is it to convince celebrities to show up?

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Seriously, I'm sure most calls went, "Hey (Celebrity Name), want to be in a Mupp--"

"YES!"

                                                                              Walt Disney Pictures
I want to live in a world where things like what's going on
in this picture are considered normal.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a Muppet film without some great catchy songs that stay with you long after you leave the theater and your girlfriend gets annoyed with you because you won’t stop singing or cease doing a Constantine impression (I’m sorry, honey). The bar was set pretty high when the gang returned and Flight of the Conchord’s Bret McKenzie came in and utterly dominated and created songs that were memorable and, most of all, capable of winning an Academy Award. McKenzie returned this time around and conjured up songs that, in my opinion, were vastly more imaginative than what he did before. Muppet tunes always were simple but what McKenzie did this time around was make the songs a part of the story in a new way. Exposition, plot points and narrative was expressed through complicated and unique songs and all were performed amazingly by the Muppets, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey.  It really gave the film an authentic musical feel.

                                                                                                        Walt Disney Pictures
Tina Fey and Kermit...the horrible reality is there is probably nightmare-inducing
fan fiction about them somewhere in the dark recesses of the 'net.


I was more than excited to see this latest Muppet adventure and Disney really delivered a great film that was extremely hilarious and filled with awesome music. I had a lot of fun at the theater watching Muppets Most Wanted and really hope we get more and more Muppet films so I will never have to outgrow my childish self.

3 comments:

  1. Good review Ron. Goofy, hilarious and a whole bunch of fun; just like anything that the Muppets touch should be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could watch Tina Fey brush her teeth and I would still be entertained. Love her.

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