With October almost over there is just time for the second film in BlogalongaMuppets, The Great Muppet Caper. This is more of the type of Muppet film I am accustomed to, one in which the Muppets play roles in a story not simply focussing on The Muppets being The Muppets. Instead Kermit and Fozzie play newspaper reporters who travel to Britain (yay London) to investigate a jewel theft. Along the way they meet a lot of remarkably American muppets at the Happiness Hotel and Miss Piggy who is working as assistant to the fashion designer whose jewels were stolen.
This was a vast improvement on the first film; there’s much more energy and we get a proper plot to try to follow. Shame the songs still aren’t up to much, whenever I try to remember a single song from this film I get Movin’ Right Along stuck in my head instead.
While both John Cleese and Peter Falk provide memorable appearances, on the whole there are much fewer gimmicky cameos from celebrities I can’t remember. Falk in particular was a lot of fun as a tramp rambling on about an alternative back story for Kermit. In the end Kermit has to interrupt him as they are “trying to do a movie here.” Yes, it’s just as meta as before and the jokes about the film being a film are quite sophisticated. Kudos to the four writers.
Jim Henson was clearly trying to push the boundaries of puppetry again as not only is there more cycling but Miss Piggy gets an underwater dance sequence. I’d like to see Sooty do that. There’s not much more to say beyond the fact that I am at my happiest with The Muppets when the group of rats are on-screen.
The Great Muppet Caper was a lot of fun and the best of the films so far, but I know there’s better to come.
I hate to be rude, but we’re trying to do a movie here.
Muppet Movie Ranking:
1. The Great Muppet Caper
2. The Muppet Movie
Like so many things I claim to love my experience of The Muppets is narrower than I realised, particularly when it comes to their earlier work. More familiar with their films of the nineties, when they moved onto film parodies/pastiches, I had never seen The Muppet Movie before I sat down to watch it for BlogalongaMuppets.
What a disappointment.
What little plot The Muppet Movie has revolves around Kermit travelling from his swamp to Hollywood, picking up Muppets along the way and evading capture from an ad man who wants the dancing frog to star in his TV commercial. There’s not a whole lot to grab hold of here, just a few disjointed and underwhelming scenes ties together with lacklustre songs about rainbows and “moving right along”.
The film is at a risk of being a little too meta, with one character forced to catch up on the plot by reading the screenplay. It’s as if we’re supposed to accept the meagre plotting because no one onscreen is pretending that this is a reality.
For a film relying so heavily on an existing knowledge of (and unconditional love for) the Muppets, The Muppet Movie lacks the energy and excitement we fell in love with in the first place. The film isn’t terrible, just not what I had been expecting. It probably doesn’t help that most of the cameos completely passed me by, at 23 am I too young to appreciate The Muppet Movie?
Most damning of all is that Kermit’s journey to Hollywood seemed to change him. Setting off from his swamp the plucky frog just wanted to make people happy, but by the time he reached Hollywood he simply asked to be rich and famous. Maybe this is a deeper film than I first thought, one about how fame and fortune corrupts? Oh Kermit, you should have stayed at the swamp.
The Muppets are a beloved institution, known for their energy, humour and heart. Across the years they have starred in numerous TV series, released albums, made the transition to the big screen and more recently starred in TV movies. Hard to believe their last theatrically released film was way back in 1999. This will of course change when Jason Segel’s The Muppets is released in February 2012.
That is five months away and with six existing films, watching one a month until then is just about feasible. This is why The Movie Evangelist has introduced BlogalongaMuppets. The rules are simple, watch one Muppet film a month, starting in September, until February when it is time to finish off with Muppets in Space and then see The Muppets in the cinema.
Luckily for me this fits in nicely with my plans for Body of Work and I bought the first three Muppet films a few weeks ago, already owning two of the later films. Below is the schedule, wish me luck!
September – The Muppet Movie
October – The Great Muppet Caper
November – The Muppets Take Manhattan
December – The Muppet Christmas Carol
January – Muppet Treasure Island
February – Muppets from Space
Also February – The Muppets