MUPPETS MOST WANTED ***1/2 (out of five)
James Bobin (who directed eleven episodes – the vast majority – of Flight of the Conchords, and co-created it) has proven to be the perfect director and co-writer (with Nicholas Stoller) for the continuation of the Muppets mythology. As with The Muppets (2011), Muppets Most Wanted achieves the one thing a Muppet fan wants more than anything (and which is so hard to achieve, one would think): keeping true to the Muppets vibe, in every single way – intention, manifestation, ideology, and most importantly, character and sense of humour – that was established in the original television series (1976-1981) and first series of movies (1979-1999).
I wrote at the end of 2011, for my Films of the Year column, of The Muppets: “Jim Henson would be proud. SO funny, and so true to the real nature of the muppets.” Nothing has changed. In the same way The Muppets honoured The Muppet Movie, Muppets Most Wanted echoes The Great Muppet Caper: the Muppets go to Europe, and bump into criminal shenanigans. Like the original films, the second one adds a bit more “plot” to the mix, but, as with Caper’s relationship to the first movie, at its heart, it’s all about show business; even when Kermit the Frog finds himself in a Siberian Gulag, he mounts a Revue with the prisoners, all-singing, all-dancing, all Kermit, the showman – for who is Kermit really, but an admirer, an adherent, a follower, and an artistic descendant… of Jim Henson?
Henson would, once again, be proud, of this very funny, very silly, extremely well-made, colourful, joyous – and did I say deeply silly – movie. Brett McKenzie, who won an Oscar for a song from the 2011 film, again writes very funny (and catchy!) original songs and brings, under his title of music supervisor, great wit to his arrangements of others. It’s all great fun, and it’s all very, very Muppet.