Muppet Mayhem (Part 2): the Great Muppet Caper

The Muppet Movie and the Great Muppet Caper are in many ways the same movie. They have the same characters, the same humour, similar music, and a very similar look (despite the switch from the more natural locations to urban ones in the Great Muppet Caper). That being said, the Great Muppet Caper has a much more involved story and a lot less celebrity cameos (John Cleese does make an appearance, though, which makes me very happy).

The film centres around someone trying to steal Lady Holliday’s Baseball Diamond and three reporters, Kermit, Fozzie (who are supposed to be identical twins in the film), and Gonzo travel to England to try to interview her in order to save their job (as they are somewhat terrible at their jobs). Kermit meets Ms. Piggy and mistakes her for Lady Holliday (and she says nothing to the contrary) and the two go out for dinner where the real Lady Holliday’s diamonds get stolen by her brother, Nick (who has the most ridiculous socks ever, seriously look at them when they are in the restaurant), and Ms. Piggy is blamed for it. It’s up to Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, and all of the inhabitants of the Happiness Hotel (the hotel where they are staying) to find the diamond and get Piggy’s name cleared.

As stated earlier, the Great Muppet Caper has a lot of similar styled humour to the Muppet Movie. The film blatantly points out their plot exposition, and the running jokes get piled on heavily, even the opening credits are a joke with Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo flying in a hot air balloon, commenting on the credits before it crashes and their is a completely random and superfluous musical number (the best kind of musical number). There are parts where the Muppets comment on each other’s acting abilities (or lack thereof) and when the Muppets break out of being the character they are playing in the film and become the characters we know and love. Despite the fact that the movie doesn’t have the same variety show style as the Muppet Movie, it actually manages to make more references to skits from the Muppet Show, such as the existence of the Newsman and the Muppet News Flash for a throwaway joke.

The music is a somewhat mixed bag. Some of the songs are great, some are mediocre, but that’s more-or-less par for the course in movies like this. The score by Joe Raposo is fantastic, though, and covers a wide variety of styles. There is some very bluegrass sounding pieces with some heavy and prevalent banjo, and some pieces that sound more jazzy, there’s even some music that sounds like it would be found in a James Bond movie. The best songs in the film are the first two, “Hey, a Movie” and “Happiness Hotel” and just like in the Muppet Movie, they are incorporated into the score for the movie in numerous sections.

The puppetry used a number of the techniques that Jim Henson and his puppeteers learned from the Muppet Movie, but they pushed the craft even farther with this newer movie. The bike riding from the first movie is back, but in a much larger capacity, as in the majority of the Muppets join in on their own bikes. The movie is much more action packed and has a significant increase in dance numbers (and even a synchronized swimming section surrounding Ms. Piggy, which ends with a spectacular that the ending of Muppet*Vision 3D was definitely inspired by).

The Great Muppet Caper is a wonderful follow up to the Muppet Movie that is just about equal in quality. You should definitely see it if you haven’t already.

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