Muppets Most Wanted
Direction: James Bobin
Actors: Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey
The always-welcome Muppets take centre stage again for this follow-up to their 2011 comeback triumph. The late Jim Henson’s beloved creations seamlessly blend with humans and live action backgrounds in a clever cross between a heist caper, prison-escape drama and song-and-dance extravaganza.
During an opening montage, Kermit the green frog (voiced by Steve Whitmire), along with Miss Piggy the pink diva (dubbed by Eric Jacobson) and the rest of the Muppets troupe perform a toe-tapping number about being stricken with sequelitis. There’s even a madcap reference to lngmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal thrown in for good measure.
The film then springs into candy-coloured spectacle with the fuzzy friends embarking on a European concert tour. But before the all’s well that ends expectedly storyline winds down, the wide-eyed innocents have to contend with their leader’s villainous lookalike (vocalised by Matt Vogel in appropriately haughty tones) and his sinister human sidekick (Gervais). Believe it or blanch, the duo plans to rob the crown jewels of England.
There’s no denying the affection which the returning director James Bobin holds for the loveable collection of creatures. His sparklingly designed lark teems with visual wit and slapstick shenanigans.
The human cast is uniformly impressive with Tina Fey a standout as the warden at the Siberian gulag where our little big hero is wrongly incarcerated.
The star-studded list of cameos includes Christoph Waltz, Salma Hayek, Lady Gaga and Frank Langella, besides Ray Liotta and Danny Trejo as an unlikely pair of musically- inclined prison inmates.
The routines tend to get a tad repetitive but there are several wondrous interludes such as Miss Piggy’s duet with singing legend Celine Dion. Muppets Most Wanted is lots of fun for the entire family.