What’s better than a Muppet movie? A Muppet movie I can discuss on my blog! And I finally have one!
First, I must say that I loved the Muppets movie that came out in 2011. Loved it! Growing up, I was more of a Sesame Street girl–Oscar the Grouch, most specifically. He was the misanthropic dumpster-dwelling inspiration for my misanthropic apartment-dwelling personality now. I didn’t see a lot of the classic Muppet movies that came out in the ’80s. But I loved the 2011 Muppets movie. And I was so excited about this sequel. I must have watched this trailer 20 times over the last 3 months, waiting for this movie:
So, naturally, I went to see the movie the first day it was out. I don’t think there was any chance it could have met my incredibly high expectations, but it came close!
The plot (as the trailer shows better than I can describe) revolves around mistaken identity. Constantine, the world’s most dangerous criminal/frog, looks just like Kermit with a mole! Obviously, as would happen in normal life, Constantine breaks out of the Siberian gulag where he was imprisoned, blows up several things, and trades places with Kermit. Kermit is off to the gulag, under the supervision of guard Tina Fey,
Meanwhile, Constantine puts some green makeup on to cover his mole, and leads the rest of the Muppets gang on a world tour–spearheaded by tour manager Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais). It’s pronounced Badgeee. It’s French.
Shockingly, Dominic Badguy turns out to be a bad guy! He’s in cahoots with Constantine. You can tell they are in cahoots because they wear smoking jackets and look over old maps and whatnot.
Legitimately the funniest thing I’ve seen in months is Constantine trying to change his Russian bad-guy accent into the familiar, soothing Kermit voice we know and love. Also his attempts to get the names of the Muppets correct.
I think it’s pretty exceptional that with the same small puppet, the puppeteers can provide a totally different character, just based on the facial expressions he makes. Particularly when you think that the complicated facial expressions are made with someone’s hand!
The New Yorker complied the ‘Seven Fundamentals of Great Muppet Cinema’, and this movie does have all 7.
I must say, it’s not better than The Muppets. It is good in its own right, but not as good. I mean, ’80s Robot barely gets any screen time at all–what the hell?! And Miss Piggy, who in the previous movie was a badass Editor-in-Chief at French Vogue, spends the entire money begging Kermit to marry her. Piggy has always been an interesting figure, simultaneously very feminine, but also very tough. She’s one of the only female characters in the Muppets, and I wish they gave her more depth in this movie. The fact that she identifies the correct Kermit at the end, solely by watching him hem and haw over the idea of marrying her, is kind of a sad cliche. I feel like she should move on at this point, I mean it’s been decades and Kermit is still not willing to commit. On the other hand, I don’t ever want to get married, so perhaps my advice is not particularly sound in this arena.
I did notice one very interesting and mostly pathetic thing about the marketing for the movie. The UK trailer (above) shows Sam the Eagle (symbol of all things patriotic and ‘Merican) and Ty Burrell (playing a French Interpol agent) comparing badge size, because that is probably legitimately something American officials would do. In the UK trailer, it looks as if Burrell’s character has the biggest badge. But in the US trailer, not so much:
We don’t want to see a movie where it looks like a French person might have something even slightly larger and more ostentatious than an American person might have! That’s so unpatriotic! You’re only a patriot if you don’t believe that any other country can be as good or better than the US at absolutely anything. Otherwise, you’re a pinko commie bastard. Obviously.
Hilariously, a lot of people are trying to relate this Muppets movie to the Putin v. rest of the world saga going on in Crimea and Ukraine right now. That’s just silly, and probably just clickbait for journalists. Mother Jones did a good article on why it’s total rubbish. Some loons actually think that Constantine = Putin and Miss Piggy = Angela Merkel. WTF? Go put your tin foil hats back on and stay away from beloved children’s characters.