2011 saw the release of “The Muppets,” a wonderfully charming feature that marked the first film from the group in several years. It had catchy tunes, a boatload of cameos, and a plot that fittingly told of the Muppets getting back together to perform a comeback show. With its success with both audiences and critics, a sequel was welcomed with open arms, which brings us to 2014’s “Muppets Most Wanted.” Picking up exactly where the first film left off, we find the gang wondering what they should do now that they’re all back together. It’s not long before they are offered a deal from Dominic Badguy (pronounced “bad-gee”) (Ricky Gervais), who suggests a world tour. The group thinks it’s a great idea, that is, all except for Kermit (Voice of Steve Whitmire), who’s a bit hesitant. However, he eventually agrees, and off they go to start their tour. Meanwhile, a notorious criminal frog known as Constantine (Voice of Matt Vogel) escapes from a gulag in Siberia and, with the help of Dominic, puts a plan into motion that has him replacing Kermit in order to pull off a series of burglaries that he hopes will lead to his ultimate goal: the crown jewels.
As a fan of the first film, I was looking forward to diving into this sequel that promised at least most of the same elements that had made the first one successful. We still get several silly, but catchy, songs that seem to pop up out of nowhere and a multitude of cameos that include Christoph Waltz (dancing the waltz no less), Salma Hayek, Ray Liotta, Danny Trejo, Tony Bennett, Zach Galifianakis, and many, many more. However, where “Muppets Most Wanted” ends up falling a little short is in its plot. Whereas the first film seemed to have an actual purpose (bringing the Muppets back together for a comeback show), this one doesn’t seem to have any purpose at all, making the film feel very stretched out at nearly two hours. Granted, you have the option of watching the aptly-named “Unnecessarily Extended” cut (the version I watched) and the theatrical cut, but I don’t see how cutting a mere 12 minutes would help make up for the weaknesses in the storyline. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to enjoy here, but it’s really hard to shake the feeling that they put a lot more thought into those songs and cameos than they did into the story when it should have been the other way around. Because of this, when all the singing and dancing is done, it’s sad to say that it’s doubtful you’ll remember much of anything about it. If we should be faced with a third film, we can only hope that they’ll put their priorities in the right order next time.
“Muppets Most Wanted” comes to Blu-ray in a 1.78:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of outstanding quality. This release presents a perfectly sharp picture that shows no signs of fuzziness throughout the presentation. The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is flawless, giving you the best quality possible for the multitude of musical numbers included in the film. Overall, there’s not a single complaint to be had, leaving you with an optimal experience in both areas.
The Longer Longest Bloopers Reel in Muppets History: A semi-amusing blooper reel that runs about ten minutes, mainly featuring Ricky Gervais cracking up over and over again. Worth watching at least once.
Rizzo’s Biggest Fan: A pointless inclusion that has Rizzo writing a letter to the director. Easily skippable.
“I’ll Get You What You Want” Music Video: A music video for one of the songs in the film. Another one that’s easily skippable.
While there are many things to like about “Muppets Most Wanted,” including its goofy musical numbers and random cameos, it is ultimately let down by a bland plot that is not nearly as engaging this time around. Co-writers James Bobin, who also directed, and Nicholas Stoller need to realize that this isn’t the kind of movie where you can gloss over the story and hope things will work out for the best. The Muppets are certainly known for their musical acts, but for a feature film like this to work, just as much thought needs to be put into the story being told in order for all of its elements to work together in harmony, because if it’s not given that needed attention, the entire project is doomed to collapse under the weight of whatever you try to build on top of it.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD starting tomorrow.
Recent Blu-ray/DVD releases: Divergent, Need for Speed, Noah, Dom Hemingway, Transcendence, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, Cesar Chavez, Rio 2, Under the Skin, Open Grave, Deadly Eyes, Jodorowsky's Dune, Lake Placid, Nymphomaniac, Afflicted, House of Cards: Season Two, The Lego Movie, Ernest & Celestine, 13 Sins, Joe, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Tim's Vermeer, Alan Partridge, RoboCop (2014), Alexander: The Ultimate Cut
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