Muppets Most Wanted

maxresdefault

2011’s reboot of The Muppets was exactly what the furry troupe needed with Jason Segel sentimental yet warmly funny script and Brett Mckenzie (of Flight of the Conchords) trademark comedy song writing we were treated to a movie which stood up to the original series and in some aspects surpassed them. It was a box office smash and now being a Disney property a sequel was inevitability. This time round Segel’s no longer on board but with a replacement human lead in the form of Ricky Gervais and more original songs from Mckenzie this crime caper adventure still held promise.

Muppets Most Wanted begins exactly where The Muppets left off, it literally begins with the ‘The End’ firework that closed the first movie and we immediately found ourselves treated to our first musical number, ‘We’re Doing a Sequel’ and from here on the laughs come thick and fast. The plot sees Gervais’ Dominic Badguy assuming control of The Muppets and offering to take them on a world tour. Little do they know Badguy is not all kosher and is in fact in cahoots with the most wanted criminal in the world and Kermit doppelganger Constantine. Together they’ve hatched a plan to switch places with Kermit seeing the friendly frog sent to stay in Gulag while Badguy and Constantine find a way to the crown jewels framing The Muppets as they go. Hot on their trail though are Sam the American Eagle and French police office Jean Paul Napoleon (Ty Burrell) who provide us with perhaps the best laughs of the film most of which come from the ridiculous stereotypes exemplified by Burrell’s delightfully over-the-top Frnechman. Similar amounts of humour are to be found in the Gulag scenes as Kermit is entailed to teach inmates, who include the likes of Danny Trejo and Ray Liotta, how to perform a Broadway musical. Though the laughs don’t stop this film does suffer from a lack of heart, that sentimentality that Segel managed to inject into part one is missing here and by the films overlong climax this does become quite apparent and unfortunately for me the last ten to fifteen minutes don’t manage to keep the momentum going.

Overall though this is a sequel that on a comedy aspect is perhaps even better than the first part, however, its lack of heart means that as a while this isn’t quite a complete piece of work. Definitely worth a watch though for some light entertainment with good jokes and some great songs.

Ponyo

So today saw me take my third excursion into the world of Hayao Miyazaki the pioneer of Studio Ghibli, it must be said that I am a complete beginner when it comes to anime and I’m still just scratching the surface of the whole culture but so far my ventures into the genre have been incredibly enjoyable, and Ponyo has served as no disappointment.

Ponyo is a little magic fish who finds herself discovered by little boy, Sosuke, what follows is a dream like adventure involving tsunamis, magic spells, villains, and a few OAP’s. One of the greatest things I’ve found with all of Miyazaki’s films is his ability to create a narrative that resembles exactly the trains of thought you found yourself on when you were about eight years old. This skill gives his films a unique charm and innocence that you’d be very hard done by to find in any Hollywood animation. The way the plot moves into more and more ridiculous territory is never questioned by characters and therefore isn’t by its audience, the only flaw coming in the slightly underwhelming conclusion.

Comparing this film to the worlds other great animation studio, Pixar, is where it becomes clear exactly what this film does right. First of all its cartoon style animation is almost more beautiful than any computer universe Pixar have created, but the biggest difference is its ability to make a film that appeals to all ages while not having to include some bits that adults will get and kids won’t and instead just focuses on being itself. Ponyo is the kind of the film that parents could take their kids to and enjoy it themselves solely because of its charm. This kind of film should be brought far further into the mainstream eye, Studio Ghibli has it’s own kind of magic.