Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Muppets Most(ly) Wanted

Man, it's really nice to get a new Muppets movie every couple years. Not that they'll always be perfect. But they will be the Muppets and that seriously counts for a lot.
So Muppets Most Wanted came out just a few days ago and still managed (as usual) to bring a bit of that old Jim Henson charm back to the screen. It wasn't perfect and at times it felt exceedingly rough around the edges, but it also had a myriad of excellent laugh moments and... well... real puppets. In a time completely owned by CG and the idea that more action and bigger is always better, it's just a relief and such a necessity that something like the Muppets still exist.

What's weird about this flick?
1. We don't get a whole lot of Kermit. Usually you can expect Kermit in almost every scene of the movie. This time he's left on the far side of the world... literally.
2. The music is far poppier than in any iteration from the past... especially early on in the film. Even stranger, that oddly well polished studio sound wares off into the third act and some surprising musical moments do come to light. But it feels like the audience really needs to sit through a lot to get to that point.
3. Celebrity cameos are back in a big way... but several of them are so blink and you'll miss 'em that it almost felt like they should've saved those for the next movie. Looking at James McAvoy and Chloƫ Grace Moretz for starters.
4. They referenced the previous film... a lot. Actually they referenced all of their feature films. Strangely I can't recall a time they've done this before. This movie starts about two seconds after the end of The Muppets (which referenced the very first movie... a little). So it's a slightly different take than what I'm used to. Not a bad thing, just weird.

5. Despite the awesome puppetry, there were still a few really awkward CG moments. And when you consider how little they asked of their CG department it seems odd that they didn't work harder to make these moments look perfect. The worst part and the thing that worked the least in the entire movie was a massive mash up of all of the celebrity cameos trying to look like everyone was all together in the same place at once. Well they clearly were each in a studio set up against a green screen without any clue who or what would be beside them. Too bad. This could've been a fun little moment.
Anyway, Muppets Most Wanted was still a fun movie. And it still carries that same old swagger and charm. It may not be the best Muppets flick, but it's certainly a better total film experience than Rio or its upcoming sequel will be. Plus there's hours and hours... probably weeks... of content for parents to show their kids and bond over after watching.

At the end of the day, who doesn't like the Muppets?

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