This is a review more about the Blu-Ray than the movie, although I will say that I never got into the muppets, and haven't really paid attention to the movies that much until this one. I really liked this one, but I'm not a Muppet "purist" so I didn't feel that it detracted at all. As an adult with a 10 year old son, this one was FAR more fun for me to watch as a grownup.
But after seeing the movie, my son, as always, wanted the soundtrack. I agreed, I loved the songs. But we were surprised at how much longer most of the songs were - and a subsequent viewing of the movie had the shorter songs verified again. We loved some of the lines in the soundtrack songs that they cut out of the movie.
So the Blu-Ray immediately got 5 stars from us because they included the extended version of the movie, which has the songs in their entirety, just like on the soundtrack, with all the great lines they cut out of the standard movie version.
The extras aren't much of a surprise, since they had them on You Tube and such for a while now, the Rizzo's Biggest Fan and the "alternate" cut from the old hecklers that was just their couple moments in the movie as "The Whole Movie." But they did have what they called the longest blooper reel in Muppet History. And it had some good parts in there, although I think they went overboard with the Ricky Gervais laughing all the time. But it was fun to watch him cracking up when he was trying to deliver his lines, which really was a neat insight to how much fun he must have had working on this movie.
The sound is great, full surround, and the transfer was well done. It looks awesome on our big LED TV. And there are a lot of extra scenes as well that were not in the original movie. All told there's about 12 more minutes of movie here, including a great scene from outside a bathroom door with Constantine and Dominic arguing over who has to go, repeating number one and number two. There's only a few "new" scenes, but many of the scenes actually have just a few extra lines in them, which in some cases actually explain a few things in more detail.
So if you or your kid liked the movie, this is definitely the version to get. And it includes a DVD as well, and their digital copy. Even if it was just the Blu-Ray disc and nothing else, this would've been worth it for me to get the full songs in the movie with the extra scenes.
on August 10, 2014
This film, with its memorable music, wild humor and very brief cameos, is more like the classic Muppet movies of the 80's than any that have come out since. Bravo!
While I like Jason Segel's 2011 "The Muppets" and appreciate the effort at bringing the Muppets back, too much of the film reduced the Muppets to supporting characters with reductive personalities recreating their greatest hits. The characters needed to be reintroduced and there probably wasn't a much better way to do it, but it was not the classic Muppet mania that I grew up with. Nor are the films like Christmas Carol or Treasure Island that were both preoccupied with their human leads too. And Muppets From Space threw out original music numbers, and much of the charm, in the process of the fated 1999 film.
Muppets Most Wanted sets things right. This film serves as the fourth true contender after Jim Henson's original trilogy of The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan. I don't understand why modern auds have trouble with humor that marries silliness with sophistication in the classic Muppet tradition like this film did. It's not perfect, but it is extraordinary. I loved this film! 4 out of 5 Stars.
PS - Too bad Amazon has decided to screw its faithful customers by holding Disney Blu-ray and DVD pre-orders hostage until the day before release[such as this one and Captain America 2] in order to increasingly extort more money from distributors: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/amazon-takes-the-muppets-off-the-shelf/ This movie and many others are available at reasonable prices from countless other online retailers like Target and Best Buy. That's where I'll be pre-ordering my new releases from now on.
Kermit has a doppelgänger. And he is dastardly! Therein lies our PG- rated story. (I think the rating is based on some subtle sexual references, but later, we couldn't recall what they were.) All that distinguishes Kermit from his nemesis Constantine, is a wart on the bad guy's upper lip. That, plus the Russian accent....
As you probably know, The Muppets can invite an astonishing number of name brand performers to one of these capers. In this one, if you recognize one familiar face, you'll see 30 more! I am in bewildered awe that so many performers (on both sides of The Pond) seem delighted to provide cameos for these fuzzy folks. I could easily name scores of actors I recognized without breaking a sweat. We have seen them in everything from "Downton Abbey" to "Machete." What fun!
Along with the familiar voices of our favorite characters, here are a few of the guest celebrities we enjoyed:
* Ty Burrell ("Modern Family") is Jean Pierre Napoleon, an Interpol agent who is determined to bring Constantine, The World's Most Dangerous Criminal to justice, so long as it's BEFORE his American counterpart!
* Ricky Gervais ("The Invention of Lying") is Domenic Badguy (pron. "Bah ghee" it's French), Constantine's evil sidekick (his "Number Two." Maybe THAT's the reason for the PG rating. ...smile...).
* Tina Fey ("30 Rock") Nadya makes "Siberia" rhyme with "superior." She enlists her prisoner Kermit to bring some class to her Siberian prisoners' annual musical. She LOVES Broadway!
* Christoph Waltz ("Django Unchained") as himself, dances with a Muppet. What kind of dance you may ask? Yup! A Waltz!
* Salma Hayek ("Grown Ups") as herself. She suspects that a proposed "Indoor Running of the Bulls" event in a crowded theater might present a bit of a problem.
I LOVED the world's smallest police car; the visits to Berlin, Moscow, Dublin, London and Siberia; the glimpses of famous American, Canadian, French, Spanish, Mexican and British actors; music from "A Chorus Line" done by a line-up of Siberian prisoners (you won't believe all the familiar faces in THAT bunch!); and Miss Piggy's dilemma. There were times I was the only one giggling, but then again, movies are my hobby.
The children in the screening audience adored The Muppets and their lively production numbers, the adults loved all the familiar faces, laughed at the clever dialogue and applauded the surprise guest in that iron box. Me too! Amazon will notify me when the DVD is available so I can notify JayFlix.net participants.
MUPPETS MOST WANTED begins immediately where THE MUPPETS ends. As Kermit and the gang are preparing to pack up and go home, they notice a camera that’s still filming and realize that must mean there’s going to be a sequel. Thus begins the first of several original songs, “We’re Doing a Sequel.” In the first stanza of the song Kermit sings, “We’re doing a sequel/That’s what we do in Hollywood/And everybody knows/The sequel’s never quite as good.” Although the MUPPETS MOST WANTED has a lot of great gags, witty one liners, a pretty decent plot, and is filled with original musical numbers, the film doesn’t quite reach the same level as THE MUPPETS. That doesn’t mean that MUPPETS MOST WANTED is a bad movie because it isn’t. It’s just that other than a couple of scenes, the film lacks the heart and magic that made THE MUPPETS such a great comeback movie.
In MUPPETS MOST WANTED, the Muppets meet with a manager to the stars, Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) who convinces them they should go on an international tour to strike while the iron is hot. Unbeknownst to the Muppets, Dominic is the second-in-command to the number one criminal in the world, Constantine. Constantine is a frog who, other than a mole on his face, looks identical to Kermit. Constantine has also escaped from an international gulag in Siberia, Russia and the Muppets World Tour is all part of his plan to pull of the biggest jewel heist in history.
Like THE MUPPETS, MUPPETS MOST WANTED is full of references to past Muppets appearances. For instance, the opening number “We’re Doing a Sequel” has a closing aquatic bit that harkens back to Miss Piggy’s entrance in THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER and the plot of THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER also revolved around an international jewel thief. There are several references like this throughout the film.
There are some good songs in MUPPETS MOST WANTED. Bret McKenzie has written several original songs for the movie and the musical score is by Christophe Beck, he of now FROZEN fame. Personally, the new songs I liked most are “We’re Doing a Sequel”, “Interrogation Song”, and “Something So Right”. I also really liked the Muppet versions of the songs “Working in the Coal Mine” and “Moves Like Jagger”.
Like all Muppet movies, MUPPETS MOST WANTED is filled with guest stars. Some are quite minor in this film, but they are there. First Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell all have lead roles. In addition, Tony Bennett, Hugh Bonneville, Jemaine Clement, Sean Combs, Lady Gaga, Celine Deion, Josh Groban, Salma Hayek, Toby Jones, Frank Langella, Ray Liotta, James McAvoy, Chloe Grace Moretz, Usher, Miranda Richardson, Saoirse Ronan, Danny Trejo, Stanley Tucci, and Chrisoph Waltz all have cameos of varying degrees. Also, Zach Galifianakis reprises his role as Hobo Joe from the first movie (just for one brief scene) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki from THOR and THE AVENGERS) has a very small cameo as The Great Escapo; he is completely unrecognizable as himself.
MUPPETS MOST WANTED lacks some of the heart and nostalgia of THE MUPPETS. However, it does have a lot of great gags, witty one liners, a pretty decent plot, and is filled with original musical numbers. Besides that, it is a Muppet movie and a Muppet movie isn’t quite like any other type of movie around.
I grew up with The Muppets. I have very fond memories of being a child and watching their films and visiting Disney and seeing their show and basically all things ‘Muppet’ get me flushed with excitement. When Jason Segel rebooted the franchise back in 2011, I was nervous but ultimately rewarded with a film that felt like a fresh and modern take on the classic Muppet direction, and while the film had its lulls, it served as a benchmark for better things to come.
That better thing was ‘Muppets Most Wanted’.
Picking up where 2011’s film left off, ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ finds our felt covered friends in need of some direction. Where are they going to go from here? That’s where Dominic Badguy comes in. He misleads The Muppets, turns them against Kermit and then stages a switcheroo, replacing Kermit with the infamous Constantine, the world’s most dangerous frog. With #1 and #2 in place (ranking of their infamy), the plan is set in motion. Use a Muppet world tour as the perfect rouge find the clues leading to the Crown Jewels in London. Constantine poses as Kermit (a horrible impression and yet that is half the fun), which includes wooing Miss Piggy and destroying the whole show, as Dominic pulls the strings in order to make the heist, but with break-ins coinciding with the Muppet tour, it isn’t long before the FBI/CIA team up to track them down. In the meantime, Kermit finds himself in a Russian prison mistaken for Constantine and at the mercy of a crazed warden named Nadya who just so happens to be secretly in love with him and forces him to help with putting on a musical starring the prisoners (which include the likes of Ray Liotta, Tom Hiddleston, Danny Trejo and Josh Groban).
I know this sounds like a lot to process, but it all works so brilliantly.
The writing here is remarkably good. The zingers all work, the gags (physical and verbal) all land and the pop culture references and cameos are inspired and hilarious to boot. The multiple storylines remain fresh and exciting and never feel jumbled, forced and lost in the shuffle. We get a complete story each time. The entire prison segment works on its own, the entire heist plotline works on its own, the verbal spatter between Napoleon and Sam Eagle works on its own (and honestly, can we hand Ty Burrell and Eric Jacobson the award for Best Onscreen Team!), the love triangle between Kermit, Constantine and Miss Piggy (sort of) works on its own and yet they all fit together like a glove.
And everyone here gives this their all. These cameos are so much more than mere actors phoning it in for a paycheck. Ray Liotta WORKS it in that cabaret lineup. Celine Dion pokes fun at her own persona in a mere song. And don’t even get me started on the likes of Tina Fey and Ty Burrell, who just ooze so much comedic energy here.
And the songs are all spectacular, especially the Interrogation Song (that whole scene is just brilliance thanks to the aforementioned ‘team’) and that opening ‘We’re Doing a Sequel’ sets the tone perfectly for this whole experience.
There isn’t a lull to be had here, for every scene is perfectly spliced to keep us hooked, frame for frame. I haven’t had this much family fun at the movies in a long time.
on July 22, 2016
Let me start off by saying that I have been a fan of the Muppets (and pretty much everything Jim Henson ever did in his too-short life...May he rest in peace) since I was preschool age and I can say, without hesitation, that this is easily the best Muppet film since the originals. It has the same humor, intelligence, and overall feel of the Muppets under Jim Henson's genius, even more so that The Muppets (2011) which was also great. Not only are the Muppets back in their original, brilliant form film-wise, but musically they shine again as they did in the Henson era of the late 70's/early 80's. And the music! The music is probably my favorite take away from Muppets Most Wanted, as well as it's predecessor. Another thing I love about the newest Muppet films is that it is quite obvious that the people who made this film and wrote the music were also long-time Muppets fans, much like myself. I know that both James Bobin and Bret McKenzie are in my same age group, so I imagine they probably love them at least as much as I do, and likely for as long as I have. I can't give Bret McKenzie enough praise for his musical contributions to the Muppets. He deserves every award and accolade he has received, and then some. Jim Henson would most definitely be proud to have him on board. If only the failed Muppets series reboot had employed these same geniuses, or at least tried to copy what they did....if only...*sigh*
So Kermit has a doppelgänger, huh? And he is dastardly! Therein lies our PG-rated story. (I think the rating is based on some subtle sexual references, but later, we couldn't recall what they were.)
As you probably know, The Muppets can invite an astonishing number of name brand performers to one of these capers. In this one, if you recognize one familiar face, you'll see 30 more! I am in bewildered awe that so many performers (on both sides of the pond) seem delighted to provide cameos for these fuzzy folks.
Along with the familiar character voices, here are a few of the guest celebrities we enjoyed:
* Ricky Gervais ("The Invention of Lying") is Domenic Badguy (pron. "Bah ghee" it's French), the villain's evil sidekick ("Number Two" ...smile...).
* Tina Fey ("30 Rock") Nadya makes "Siberia" rhyme with "superior."
* Christoph Waltz ("Django Unchained") takes a turn dancing with a Muppet. Which kind of dance you might ask? Yup! A Waltz!
* Ty Burrell ("Modern Family") is Jean Pierre Napoleon, an Interpol agent who is determined to bring The World's Most Dangerous Criminal to justice, so long as it's BEFORE his American counterpart!
* Salma Hayek ("Grown Ups") as herself. She suspects that the proposed "Indoor Running of the Bulls" event in a crowded theater might present a bit of a problem.
I LOVED the world's smallest police car; the visits to Berlin, Moscow, Dublin, London and Siberia; the glimpses of famous American, Canadian, French, Spanish, Mexican and British actors; music from "A Chorus Line" done by a line-up of Siberian prisoners (you won't believe all the familiar faces in THAT group!). Many times I was the only one reacting, but then again, movies are my hobby. I could easily name 25 actors I recognized without breaking a sweat. They ranged from "Machete" to "Downton Abbey." These are such a romp!
The children in the screening audience adored The Muppets and their lively production numbers, the adults loved all the familiar faces, laughed at the clever dialogue and applauded the surprise guest in that iron box. Me too! Amazon will notify me when the DVD is available because I always notify my JayFlix.net folks.
The Muppets returned to the big screen this year (2014) in Disney's "Muppets Most Wanted", their 8th film and a somewhat direct sequel to their previous film, "The Muppets". This is worth noting, because "The Muppets" was a real game changer for Jim Henson's much-beloved felt family. The group had been in something of a rut for years until the Jason Segel driven 2011 film gave them the revival they severely needed and deserved. The final product was something of a comeback masterpiece, an Oscar winning success that would have been impossible for any follow-up film to match. The dynamic simply would no longer be there for any sequel to The Muppets, that instant importance of breathing life into a treasured franchise that seemed all but dead to anyone but the truest fans (like myself). Most of us new that and weren't looking to compare the two films so much as we were just looking for another fun Muppet movie that lived up to those of the Henson era. That's just what we got. "Muppets Most Wanted" is not THE best Muppet movie in existence, but I'd still rank it as one of the best.
In "Most Wanted" the Muppets pick up right where they left off in the previous film, making it more of a direct sequel, as I'd mentioned, which is not really something the group has done before. Previous Muppet movies appear to be wholly unrelated. The human cast from the last movie is gone though, and the Muppet gang finds themselves unclear of what to do next. They're together again, they're popular again, they have a new member named Walter (and 80's Robot appears to be part of the group now too), and it soon comes to their attention that the studio has ordered a sequel! This leads to the first of many WONDERFUL musical numbers: "We're Doing a Sequel". Just as the excellent James Bobin returned to direct this second new Muppet outing, songwriter Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame (and the reason the last film won an Academy Award) also returned the write the songs again, and thank goodness! Bret is without a doubt one of the main reasons these new Muppet films have been so outstanding. His ability to write excellent and hilarious songs in any style, as seen before on the Flight of the Conchords TV series, has proven perfect for the Muppets, and I especially like "We're Doing a Sequel" because of how much it sounds like something longtime Muppet songwriter Paul Williams might have written! Just like the last film, "Muppets Most Wanted" is filled to the brim with wonderful songs of this outstanding quality. But, back to the storyline. While contemplating a plot for their new sequel, they are approached by an agent named Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), who suggests to them that the Muppets should take their classic vaudeville show on a world tour. And so, they do! Of course, this is just part of an international crime caper plot to frame the Muppets for the crimes of Dominic and his boss, the most evil frog in the world, Constantine! Constantine has escaped from the Gulag, a Siberian prison, and soon trades places with Kermit the Frog, who finds himself locked up in the frozen fortress. From then on, the film moves between Kermit's attempts at a great escape, the gang's world tour being confusingly managed by the completely inept Constantine in the guise of Kermit, the bad guys' crime conspiracy and the attempts by French Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) and C.I.A. agent Sam Eagle to find the real culprits.
That's about all I can say without getting into spoilers. In true Muppet fashion, there are a ton of cameos in this film, and a third star in Tina Fey as the head guard of the Gulag who develops a special fondness for Kermit. The human cast is a riot, especially in doing brilliant Bret McKenzie songs. The Muppets are in great form as well, a few oddly sounding voice replacements aside (really, that was Janice? Anyone can do a good Janice! Who was that supposed to be?). I'm still getting used to the new Piggy voice, though for most of the film she was better here than in the last one. I also feel like Fozzie Bear has been waaay stupider lately than he used to be under Henson. I kinda miss the old, not really THAT stupid Fozzie, who was just not really very good at telling jokes and a bit naive. Ever since Treasure Island he's had a severe mental disability. But, the previous film had these issues too, and they are not worth dwelling on in the grand scheme of things (though the powers that be SHOULD take note of and address them). The movie itself is fantastically funny, even if the European crime caper plot is one the Muppets have tackled before, making it a bit of an odd choice when there are so many other genres they could have gone with.
So, you may be wondering why so many people find this people lacking. Well, this can be as simple as a flawed sense of humor in the viewer, or just a hatred for sequels or certain specifics of the film or cast. I mention these points purely because I can only see one noticeable issue that any longtime Muppet fan should have with this film, and that's the simple fact that it is pure comedy. Don't get me wrong, it has its sentimental and emotional moments, but they are in the style one would expect in a pure comedy. They aren't lingered on and they are still made light of. This is a bit different from most if not all the previous Muppet films, in which when things get emotional, it's done in a serious, makin' ya misty eyed sorta way. That adds a weight to a film that makes it more than a comedy. However, is this really a flaw? Not when what you are trying to make is a pure comedy. But, people are used to Muppet films being more well-rounded rather than just being pure comedy 100 percent of the time, hence the complaining. So, basically, this is a great film, but there you have it: It is purely a comedy. Watch it to laugh, but not to get as sentimental as you might watching the previous Muppet films. This movie is out to crack you up, and if you have a sense of humor, it really should!
Now, as for the bonus features in the blu-ray edition, which naturally looks and sounds fantastic, this is where one finds the release of "Muppets Most Wanted" more lacking than the film itself. Disney pushes this as a "Unnecessarily Extended" Edition. This means that the film comes with two versions: The theatrical cut and the extended cut. Some prefer the theatrical cut, but really, I might prefer the extended cut. It is simply a bit more jokes and stuff, and it's as good as the rest of the film and seamlessly integrated, so really, there is no reason not to opt for watching the longer version. If I hadn't seen the theatrical version in a while, I could easily believe they were one in the same. There are a few scenes where you might catch that you've never seen them before, but that's about it. The funny thing is, the ads for this release brag that there are three versions of the film. The third is a very brief joke, not a full version of the film. It skirts the label of false advertising. Aside from that is a blooper reel, a short comedy bit of Rizzo the Rat writing a fake fan-letter to the filmmakers to complain about not being in the previous film (he and Robin get a nice if sad and brief acknowledgement this time around, and this little bonus carries on that note), and finally, there is a music video of one of the funniest songs in the film (though they are all very funny), "I'll Get You What You Want", performed by Bret McKenzie. The last bonus feature is great for Flight of the Conchords fans. Still, this isn't a very long roster of extra features, and the way I've seen this pushed in commercials, I can't help but wonder why. There are no behind the scenes interviews, there's no commentary, no trailer, no Monsters University short (Party Central, which played before the film in theaters), and still no "Muppets at Walt Disney World" 80's TV special, Disney! It's... not as spectacular a release as toted, but it's still got some stuff, and sometimes with Disney it's a surprise to get much of anything, so I'm not complaining too much, but a few of those things shouldn't be missing. Feel free to pick and choose which yourself. As for the included DVD of the film, that only includes the McKenzie music video and the theatrical version.
Regardless of whether or not the amount of extras satisfies you though, I highly recommend picking "Muppets Most Wanted" up. Despite what people say, as a musical comedy, it is fantastic and probably holds more laughs than most of the Muppet films people say are superior (I love all those films too, but people get carried away when they get on a nostalgic soapbox and are always a bit hard on sequels). As a pure comedy, this is a different style of film than those before it, and maybe there is a tradition there that shouldn't be broken, since the core fanbase is probably a very essential aspect of the Muppets' survival. But this is still a great film and those McKenzie songs matched with so many great personalities, human AND Muppet, are a HUGE part of the reason why.
on March 3, 2016
Muppets Most Wanted picks up where The Muppets (2011) left off. Fresh off their great stage show in the US, they are told to take their schtick on a World Tour.
Rickey Gervais becomes their Tour Manager, and a switcheroo lands Kermit behind bars and a super criminal leading the Muppets in what turns out to be a Jewel Heist. This movie is loaded with celebrities, some playing themselves-Christoph Waltz, Lady Gaga, Tony Bennet, Usher; some acting as Russians-Ray Liotta & Jemaine Clement, and Ty Burrell as a French Interpol Officer. The cameos are great, the Muppets are real puppets (not CGI).
Video-wise, the colors are vibrant when needed a clear picture quality. Audio is fine, lots of singing. The extras add some more laughs, love the old guys (Waldorf & Statler) and Gervais laughing is a riot, and let’s not forget Bret McKenzie’s great music video.
I thought this was a fun movie. There are plenty of things kids will like and plenty adults will laugh at. If you like The Muppets, you’ll enjoy this movie. Stay through the end as the credits roll, there are a few gags until the end.
“are you havin’ a laugh?"
on September 9, 2014
Although the movie sort of shows up to be relatively entertaining for the whole family, I found I had to watch it in doses, as I couldn't sit through the entire movie without getting very bored, then coming back to it later. I am a big pixar type movie fan.
I did find some of the humor funny, (Josh Groban hidden scene) it was too few and far between. I remember the muppets from being a kid and raising kids and I think they miss the mark by trying to make a drama within what should just be chaos and skits... It just makes for an uncomfortable ride.
They need to really go back to basics with these characters and play to the randomness that was their magic from the past.