Friday, November 18, 2011

The Great Muppet Caper

I have little to no memory of The Great Muppet Caper as a child.  My memories of the bicycle scene tell me I saw it,  but it's not one I watched very much and therefore don't really have any nostalgic feelings for.

The movie starts out really fun.  Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo are all riding in a hot air balloon, and Fozzie asks why.  Kermit explains it's because they needed something for the opening credits.  The three of them continue to joke while the credits go by - my favorite part being how Gonzo is very excited at the idea of the balloon coming down for a crash landing.

When they do eventually land, they're on a movie set made to look like New York City, and  the song "Hey, a Movie!" begins.  It's a lot of fun and catchy and shows off the self awareness and fourth wall breaking we are in for for the rest of  the film.  Unfortunately, once the plot begins, the movie screeches to a deafening halt.  I'm guessing that after the origin story of the first film, they weren't quite sure what to do for a sequel.  Unfortunately I can't approve of their choice.

Kermit and Fozzie are playing identical twins for some reason, and the two of them are reporters along with Gonzo as their cameraman.  They get fired because they didn't report a diamond being stolen so they decide to win their jobs back by figuring out who stole it.  Because that's how that works, right?  Along the way they run into Miss Piggy pretending to be the rich woman whose jewels were stolen, and all the other Muppets are conveniently living at a cheap hotel in London together.  Piggy gets framed for the theft, and it's up to the gang to prove her innocence.  They do this by breaking into the place where an even bigger diamond is being stolen, supposedly to catch the thieves red handed.  Piggy breaks out of jail to also stop the thieves.  Even though this would all logically look like they were guilty, somehow they win the day anyway.

Don't get me wrong, a little nonsense never hurt anyone.  But I've never seen the Muppets act this stupid before.  While there are great one liners scattered throughout the film, the plot really ruins it.  The movie is very low on cameos and Charles Grodin and Diana Rigg don't make for good human leads in the movie either.

The main highlight of the film, in my opinion, is the cycling scene.  To this day, it is still amazing to watch the Muppets on bicycles all by themselves, and to be completely honest with you, I'm not sure I want to know how they do it.  Much like a magic trick, learning the technique would probably take away a lot of the wonder of this moment.  The song playing here, "Couldn't We Ride," is also the only other worthwhile one of the film besides "Hey, a Movie!", in my opinion.

I wonder if Miss Piggy fans get a lot more out of this movie than I do.  I find my favorite Miss Piggy is giddy Miss Piggy.  We see her here when Lady Holliday offers her a job, but for the rest of the film she's either Diva Piggy or "Hiiiiyah!" Piggy.  I do enjoy the latter, but once again she doesn't act that way until close to the end so it's hardly worth it.  Also, the idea that Charles Grodin's character basically falls in love with her at first sight is just very weakly handled and uninteresting.

Fortunately, a much better Muppet movie was on its way after this one, The Muppets Take Manhattan.  I'll see you on Monday for that one.

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