Similar to The Muppet Movie this instalment is about the Muppets themselves as an entertainment group seeking fame. This time they are just finishing college and want to take their final year musical, Manhattan Melodies, to Broadway. After initial failure to find a producer they disband and Kermit is left alone (or so he thinks) to try to get the show off the ground.
I’m finding it harder than expected to write about these early Muppet films, somehow I don’t find them distinctive enough from one another to comment effectively. Similar to the two previous films I found the songs forgettable and the plot a little lacking. With the Muppets spending the majority of the film disbanded a chunk of the film feels like a series of sketches rather than a coherent whole.
More continuing themes include the meta in-jokes, much less heavy-handed this time round, and the occasional celebrity cameos. Joan Collins makes an appearance with a face so different to that which she has now, I could barely recognise her. Again they include a bit of impressive bike riding, and again the appearance of Rizzo and his fellow rats provide by far the best moments.
One highlight, so this doesn’t get too heavy, is a wonderful song (yes, I liked a song!) in which Miss Piggy sings about what life would be like if she had known Kermit all her life. Cue adorable baby Muppets and the inspiration for Muppet Babies.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Kermit in this film. With success not coming easily the majority of the Muppets leave him behind, their faith in his vision apparently not strong enough to keep them in Manhattan. Apart from Miss Piggy of course, her love for Kermit leaves her keeping an eye on the green fella, never leaving him unloved.
Kermit, as ever, is the rock holding this film together, he is the true stalwart trying to make The Muppets happen, and realise the promise of the “standard rich and famous contract”. It’s not so much The Muppets Take Manhattan as it is Kermit Slowly Works Hard to Get a Musical Off The Ground While The Muppets Try to Get On With Their Lives. Obviously that is much less catchy.
Still, this is a Muppet film so I’m probably being too harsh. Thanks to Rizzo and the Muppet babies, it’s my favourite so far.
I’m staying! You hear that, New York? THE FROG IS STAYING!
1. The Muppets Take Manhattan
2. The Great Muppet Caper
3. The Muppet Movie