MY WEEK (September 4, 2014): The Muppets are right – a sequel is never quite as good

Muppets Most Wanted
Muppets Most Wanted

It’s always refreshing to arrive back at work after a couple of weeks away.

I walk into the office and its clear that the time off has done its trick as I fire up the computer, brimming with energy and ready to tackle whatever my job has to throw at me.

That feeling usually lasts about five minutes as I realise just how much work I need to get through to meet my four weekly deadlines.

Taking this holiday was worth it though, especially for the days I spent in Bruges. If all goes according to plan, I’ve got a great travel feature lined up. I’ve also got some interviews sitting on my netbook. These are with Hebburn writer Jason Cook, stand-up comedian Tom Stade and jazz singer Claire Martin.

I got my Axis of Awesome interview finished in time for this week’s paper (page 51) but I’m still catching up, which meant I didn’t have time to see a show this week. So I picked up a copy of Muppets Most Wanted, which I’d been meaning to review for a while.

Here’s my verdict:

In 2011 The Muppets returned to the big screen with a heartwarming and hilarious tale about the gang getting back together to put on a new show.

It had a happy ending, of course, complete with a fireworks display, and Muppets Most Wanted picks up literally seconds after this event with Kermit and his pals trying to figure out what they should do next.

Realising that the cameras are still rolling they launch into a jaunty musical number ‘We’re Doing a Sequel’, with wry lyrics pointing out that sequels are never quite as good. I wish this observation wasn’t true, but most of the time it is and, sadly, Muppets Most Wanted isn’t an exception to the rule.

The story revolves around an evil Kermit lookalike called Constantine, who gets the real Kermit thrown into a Siberian gulag so he can take his place on The Muppets’ European tour. His ultimate goal is to steal England’s Crown Jewels with his henchman Dominic Badguy, played by Ricky Gervais.

It sounds like fun but separating Kermit from the other Muppets nearly deals this film a fatal blow and the usually wonderful Gervais just doesn’t seem to fit into the Muppetverse.

That said, it’s not a bad film. The gag rate is pretty high with some decent cameos by James McAvoy, Danny Trejo and P Diddy. Miss Piggy singing ‘My Heart Will Go On’ and a ridiculously laid back Interpol officer are a couple of treats in store, while Constantine’s musical seduction of Miss Piggy is just great. The villain actually smears Vaseline on the camera lens to make himself look dreamy.

Overall then, Muppet fans should enjoy this flick. It just lacks the magic of the gang’s 2011 comeback.