November 22, 2013

It’s Not Easy Being Mean: Analyzing the Muppets Most Wanted Trailer

Filed under: Commentary,Feature — Tags: , , — Ryan Roe @ 12:46 pm

Unless you’ve been living inside someone’s belly button for the past two days, you know that there’s now an actual-for-real trailer for Muppets Most Wanted. In fact, you’ve probably already watched it at least eleven times.  Here, watch it again:

Now that we’ve all watched it at least twelve times, let’s break down the most notable elements.

MMW trailer It's not easy being mean

More Constantine!
We already knew what Constantine looks like (of course), but as far as I know, this trailer is the first time we’ve gotten to hear him say an entire line. We’ve gotten confirmation from a reliable source that Matt Vogel plays Constantine, and he sounds suitably menacing. We also get a few glimpses of his sinister plan in action — switch places with Kermit, get Kermit thrown in prison, infiltrate the Muppets. By the way, I just realized how brilliant the whole “Kermit’s evil doppelganger” concept is. By creating a character who looks almost exactly like Kermit, Disney can sell twice as many frog dolls — all they have to do is stick a mole on a Kermit doll, and boom! Instant Constantine!

MMW trailer Kermit on TV

“Hi-ho, Kairmeet the Frog Hyeer”
In one moment of the trailer, Constantine gets ready to realize his scheme by doing what I do every Friday night: Watching video of Kermit the Frog.  But wait — is he watching a Sesame Street Newsflash?! Yep, and over on our forum, Tough Pigs’ own Jogchem Jalink has already identified it as the “Little Miss Muffet” sketch.  We tend to have this image of Disney and Sesame Workshop glaring at each other from their own separate tree forts, but the inclusion of this clip in the movie is a pleasant reminder that that’s not really the case.

MMW trailer cows

“You Guys Have All the Freedom You Want”
For whatever reason, Constantine-as-Kermit gives the Muppets free rein to do whatever they feel like doing as part of their traveling show, which is a premise ripe with possibilities. In the trailer we see Gonzo’s “indoor running of the bulls” — and now we know why Salma Hayek looked so freaked out in the teaser trailer from a while back.

MMW trailer Gervais and Muppets

Introducing Dominic Badguy
Ricky Gervais plays a character who’s in cahoots with Constantine. In this trailer, we get an idea of their dynamic as Constantine reminds Dominic who gets top billing, and dances on his head. Also, Dominic corrects a roomful of Muppets on the pronunciation of his name. Hey, have you visited Dominic’s website yet? You really, really should.

MUPPETS MOST WANTED

The Russian Gulag
We see more of the prison Kermit gets tossed into, including some funny stuff from Tina Fey as a guard.  I like the idea of Kermit meeting a whole cast of eccentric characters while Constantine is out impersonating him. Also, I had never heard of a guy namede Hornswoggle before this movie, but apparently he’s a WWE wrestler, and he’s the small-statured guy next to Fey in this shot.

mildred

Mildred’s Magnificent Comeback!
One of the few recognizable Muppet Show characters (well, recognizable to us, anyway) who didn’t appear in The Muppets was Mildred, everyone’s favorite purple bird-like lady. Well, she’s in this trailer — and if you watch really closely, you can catch a glimpse of Annie Sue a second earlier. Does this mean I should get my hopes up for an appearance by Miss Mousey?

MMW trailer tiny Interpol car

A Frenchman and an American Eagle
The other prominent human/Muppet pairing in this movie is that of Sam the Eagle and Modern Family star Ty Burrell’s Jean Pierre Napoleon as Interpol agents.  Those who were lucky enough to attend Disney’s D23 convention had already seen Burrell drive his hilariously tiny car around, but now the rest of us can see how it plays on film. The bit with Sam and Napoleon comparing badges is another great, cartoony gag. You know, some folks had doubts when it was announced that Jason Segel wouldn’t be involved with this movie, but I think it’s in great comedy hands with Nick Stoller and James Bobin.

MMW trailer Diddy
A Heap o’ Celebrities
Celine Dion! Tom Hiddleston! Ray Liotta! Zach Galifianakis (returning as Hobo Joe!) Diddy on a train with Pepe! And hey, look at Danny Trejo:

MMW trailer Danny Trejo

That fellow appears to be dressed as Fozzie Bear! When you see that, plus the letters reading “SHOW” on the sign behind him, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that Kermit and his fellow prisoners recreate The Muppet Show in the Russian prison.

MMW trailer helicopter

Helicopter Escape!
I don’t know exactly what’s happening in this scene, but it looks exciting. This could be the most action-packed Muppet movie since Muppet Treasure Island, or even The Great Muppet Caper. I just hope that helicopter is strong enough to carry Sweetums.

 

As if all this wasn’t exciting enough, the UK version of the trailer has some shots that are not seen in the American one.  We see the Newsman reporting on the arrest of “Constantine,” a pair of froggy flippers moonwalking, Constantine triggering an explosion which he proceeds to walk away from, and a quick rundown of the European locations the Muppets travel to in the film.

I’m trying to remember if I was this optimistic at this same point in the process of waiting for The Muppets to be released. I know I was excited, but there were a lot of things we weren’t sure about. This time we already know the writers, the director, and the composer work well with Muppets, and it looks like this movie shines an even brighter spotlight on the Muppet characters themselves. How can we possibly wait until March?

MMW trailer Constantine smushed

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by Ryan Roe – Ryan@ToughPigs.com



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