Once again, the review is about another movie still in theatres, so I’ll try to avoid spoilers as much as possible.
March turned out to be movie-filled for me, as I managed to catch several in the theatres. The first three, The LEGO Movie, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and Veronica Mars were all adaptations. The last movie, Muppets Most Wanted, falls into an odd designation.
I’ve reviewed Muppet movies in the past, with The Muppet Movie and The Muppets. Muppets Most Wanted is a sequel, the eighth of The Muppet Movie as Bunsen Honeydew points out in the movie, and all of them coming from The Muppet Show. Muppet movies fall under one of three types. The first type is where the Muppets play themselves. The best example is The Muppet Movie, where it was sort of how the Muppets came together. The second type is where the Muppets play characters based on themselves*. The Great Muppet Caper is a good example of this second type. The third type is where the Muppets play completely different characters, usually in an adaptation. Muppet Treasure Island shows that the Muppets can be both themselves and another character in this third type. Both The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted are of the first type of Muppet movie. This is where it gets difficult to figure out whether the lastest film is a sequel, an adaptation, or a bizarre hybrid out of Bunsen Honeydew’s labs.
Muppets Most Wanted picks up right where The Muppets ended, with the sets being struck, the props being returned, the extras going home, and even the cameras being put away. All the cameras, but one, which is still rolling. The Muppets don’t just break the fourth wall; they shatter it, twist it, and turn it into origami. After a song about making the sequel, they are convinced by Dominic Badguy**, played by Ricky Gervais, to take The Muppet Show on a world tour. The origami crane that was once the fourth wall is now a Moebius strip. Meanwhile, the new number one criminal, Konstantine, who looks very similar to Kermit, has escaped. And the camera is still rolling.
There is no doubt that the movie is well worth seeing. Danny Trejo in a song and dance number alone is worth admission. Psycho Drive-In has a full review of the movie. The question, though, is Muppets Most Wanted a remake, reboot, or adaptation, or is it just a sequel? To even try to answer that question, I had to examine the details. First, Muppets Most Wanted happily calls itself a sequel to The Muppets, which was a reboot of Muppet movies that owed its existance to The Muppet Movie. At the same time, the latest film couldn’t exist without The Muppet Show. While the rest of the movies wouldn’t exist, at least in their existing forms, there’s always a possiblility that Muppet movies would happen. Muppets Most Wanted needs The Muppet Show for the plot. Indeed, the movie shows the backstage shenanigans that happen when Kermit is removed from managing the show.
Yes, Muppets Most Wanted is an adaptation. The form is of a documentary of The Muppet Show on tour with a criminal genius using the ensuing chaos for his greatest crime, except for being a documentary. All the hallmarks of both The Muppet Show and previous Muppet movies – zaniness, camoes, self-deprecating humour, Miss Piggy trying to woo Kermit, severe damage to the fourth wall – are on display. The Muppets themselves are as people remember. Thus, Muppets Most Wanted is not only a sequel of The Muppet Movie, but an adaptation of The Muppet Show, one that has raised the bar on expectations of Muppet films to come.
Next week, Miami Vice.
* I know the Muppets are puppets, but bear with me. Each Muppet has a distinct personality that has been shown for up to fifty years.
** Pronounced Bad-zhee. It’s French.