Jan 30, 2013


The Muppets and I go way back.  I have many a fond memory of the various Muppet movies as well as the singular experience that was The Muppet Show.  Muppet Babies was a constant presence in my younger days and it's a shame the series is not (and likely never will be) available on disc due to a slew of copyright issues.  Hell, my wife bought me a Muppet of my very own for Christmas a few years back and I immediately put it use in the short film I was writing.  His name is Fitzy!

It always seemed a travesty that the characters were allowed to fade to irrelevance at the turn of the century, so you can imagine my excitement when Jason Segal and Nicholas Stoller rescued my old felt friends from the pop culture dust bin back in 2011.  Watching that movie was an emotional experience.  I never cry at movies, but every time it gets to that scene right after Kermit sings "Pictures In My Head" where Segal says, "It's time to light the lights," and Kermit plunks out the last few notes of The Muppet Show theme on that old piano....Niagra Falls, Frankie Angel.

That said, the movie did suffer from a few weird story issues.  Chris Cooper's character never really gels, partially because of a cut scene that explains why he's incapable of real laughter.  (The scene appears in the full version of his rap song on the movie's soundtrack.)  Also, the ending is seriously odd and abrupt.  Rumors persist of an original finale that saw The Muppets come up one dollar short of their fundraising goal, only to have cranky old balcony patrons Waldorf and Statler throw down the last dollar, declaring the show to be "not half bad."  If true, I'm curious why it was changed, as that feels like a much more organic and satisfying ending.

Anyway, this is all by way of saying that Kermit and friends will be returning to theaters next year, with Jason Segal and Amy Adams being replaced by Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey, along with Ray Liotta and Modern Family's Ty Burrell.  The official title is currently The Muppets...Again! although I wouldn't be surprised if that title doesn't make it to the finish line.  (The last movie was originally and hubristically called The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made.  Yeah.)

Along with the above and below official stills, we also have an official synopsis, which tells of the Muppets enjoying their rediscovered popularity by going on a world tour.  However:

"Mayhem follows the Muppets overseas, as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine—the World’s Number One Criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit—and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two, portrayed by Ricky Gervais."  

I actually dig that description.  It reminds me of The Great Muppet Caper, but with Gervais in the Charles Grodin role.  Plus the idea of a crime/heist movie certainly lends itself to a little more structure than the shaggy dog, getting-the-band-back-together plot of their last outing.

Most importantly?  We'll once again be treated to original music by Oscar-winning Flight Of The Conchords singer Brett McKenzie.  Huzzah!

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