When I was little, I would watch The Great Muppet Caper like other people eat candy. I watched it CONSTANTLY. That, along with Empire Strikes Back, were on steady rotation in my household from ages 5-10, ending when Tim Burton’s Batman was released.
Thinking about what I love about The Great Muppet Caper, I realized that it was the way the Muppets were treated within the film. They were not treated as Muppets, but as people. What I mean is, it didn’t matter that Kermit, Fozzie, and Miss Piggy were these fantastic creatures. The Great Muppet Caper treated them as real people, and they just happened to BE Muppets.
Another way to look at it, if you took all the Muppets in The Great Muppet Caper and replaced them with humans, you would still have the same movie – a group of friends, through a series of circumstances, are able to foil the exploits of a jewel thief. The fact that they were Muppets is what made the movie transcend from normalcy into magic.
As we fast forward to 2014, we see the release of Muppets Most Wanted. While I really enjoyed the movie (even though it has one of the WORST uses of green screen I have ever seen J ), it was missing the magic that The Great Muppet Caper had.
The movie poster for Muppets Most Wanted gave me hope that this film would push the Muppets into the forefront, since in the 2011 The Muppets they seemed to be secondary characters. After having seen the film, my observations were mixed.
Muppets Most Wanted took the first step into improving the series. The Muppets were the main characters, and I enjoyed some of the silly humor that I enjoyed in the earlier films. The cameos in this movie were very reminiscent of the older movies as well, with actors playing characters and not themselves.
Now, while the Muppets were the main focus of this second film (technically seventh or eighth, but that’s really splitting hairs at this point), the fact that they WERE Muppets was a main focus of this film as well. That’s where the magic goes away. While the cameos, humor, and general silliness were all included, the magic of the Muppets being treated as the norm was missing. If this movie was portrayed by 100% humans, it would not make any sense. That’s where the magic of the Muppets got me hooked when I was a kid. The fact that we were to treat and react to these characters just as real as the rest of us.
While I see Muppets Most Wanted as a great step in the right direction, I hope they are able to find and reintroduce the device that made me a big fan of them in the first place.