For nearly 60 years, Kermit and his motley crew of freaks, geeks, and weirdos have been entertaining generations of people. They have graced the silver screen, and the small screen. They have been live action, and animated. They have been the source of one of the most disturbing romances in the history of cinema (with the possible exception of Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl in "Knocked Up"). And quite frankly, I adore them. When they put out "The Muppets" back in 2011, it was one of my favorite movies that came out that year. When I got my new Blu-Ray player, the first movie I watched on it was "The Muppets" followed closely by "The Muppet Movie" and then "The Muppet Show: Season 1". Granted that last one wasn't on Blu-ray, but... meh.
When they announced that there was a sequel planned, I was over-joyed. I thought that "The Muppets" was the best Muppet movie since "The Muppet Movie", and the idea that it would get a sequel was a wonderful thing. Naturally, I was there opening day to see the latest Muppet offering, and what did I think? Well... It was the Muppets.
But before we dive in, I have to say, it was a pleasant surprise to have a Pixar short show before the film. If you were a fan of the Monsters Inc films, then the opening cartoon alone is worth the price of admission.
The above video is a trailer-ized version of the opening number. Why would I include this in my review? Well... It really sets the mood for the movie, and helps to re-establish the Muppets complete disregard for the 4th wall. It contains a decent amount of self-referential humor, and even offers up the first in the movie's long line of cameos, and guest stars. Or perhaps, because at the end of the video Danny Trejo says "Wakka wakka" and I find that to be hilarious.
The movie offers up the Muppets' standard blend of puppets and singing, all while revolving around the show, and manages to fit in several additional genre's. There is a Jail Break, a daring heist, and a prison sequence that casts Danny Trejo and Tina Fey as key players. The movie references it's previous iterations, Unlike the previous film, the Muppets feel like the focus of this film, rather than an incidental addition. That is a very good thing.
The song numbers can be toe-tapping, but mostly lack the joy felt in "The Muppets". This is not to say that they are bad songs. There are some stand out pieces, that will have people laughing hysterically. Constantine's song to Miss Piggy, for example is downright hilarious. This movie's soundtrack just wasn't an immediate purchase for me... It took me at least 20 minutes of debate to decide I wanted it.
All in all, it was a good movie. Not great, but definitely a watchable addition to the Muppet franchise. A part of me very much expects to see a third film coming in the not too distant future.
RECOMMENDATION: Are you a Muppet fan? Do you enjoy a good comedy? Have you recently had knee surgery? If you answered yes to all three questions, then you are probably me, and you should get back to writing and stop talking to yourself. If you answered yes to the first two, then this movie is right up your alley. Go out there, watch and enjoy!
IS IT THEATER WORTHY: This is a more difficult question, and it honestly has a lot to do with whether or not you enjoy movies in the theater. If you like the experience of being surrounded by like-minded individuals who have been united in one place by their love of the Muppets, see it in the theater. If you don't like theaters, or are a hopeless shut-in, or if you just can't afford it right now... I don't think the movie itself will be in any way diminished by being seen on Blu-ray.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This is definitely a sequel. While not quite as good as the previous Muppet movie, it is still a fun romp, full of familiar characters. These are the characters many of us grew up with. We've watched them through the years, and honestly, I hope to continue seeing them up on the big screen for years to come!
FINAL SCORE: 8 out of 10