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Kermit and Fozzie are newspaper reporters sent to London to interview Lady Holiday, a wealthy fashion designer whose priceless diamond necklace is stolen. Kermit meets and falls in love with her secretary, Miss Piggy. The jewel thieves strike again, and this time frame Miss Piggy. It's up to Kermit and Muppets to bring the real culprits to justice. Written by
Kevin Ackley <email@example.com>
Not as good as the film that started the Muppet movie franchise, but still a fun family comedy
All the films in the original Muppet movie trilogy, done with their late creator, Jim Henson, were made before I was born, but I first started listening to the soundtracks of the first two, "The Muppet Movie" and "The Great Muppet Caper", around the mid-nineties, and it wasn't long before I saw both films for the first time. I was within my last few years before adolescence at the time, and may have liked both movies equally when I first saw them. I've watched both of them again twice in recent years, and don't recall ever having an opinion on which one was better before those viewings. I now think the first one, from 1979, is the stronger of the two (I think most Muppets fans would agree), but this 1981 follow-up is still an impressive family movie.
Kermit and Fozzie are reporters for the Daily Chronicle, and Gonzo is their photographer. One day, they are out on the street trying to get a good news story, when jewels are stolen from English fashion designer Lady Holiday! This happens when they aren't looking, so they don't notice, and instead write an article on Kermit and Fozzie as twins joining the newspaper staff, which they are fired for. The three of them then travel to London, England in the cargo hold of a plane to interview Lady Holiday. They stay at Happiness Hotel, a decaying building with free accommodation! When Kermit goes to meet Lady Holiday in her office, she isn't there, but he meets her new receptionist, Miss Piggy, instead. Trying to impress him, Miss Piggy lies and says she is Lady Holiday, and they quickly fall in love. However, she obviously can't keep her secret for long, and the jewel thieves are trying to frame her!
If you ask me, the main thing that makes "The Great Muppet Caper" inferior to its predecessor is the set of songs. None of the songs can match "Rainbow Connection" and certain other memorable ones from "The Muppet Movie", and two of the songs here, "The First Time It Happens" and "Miss Piggy's Fantasy", make for two fairly lacklustre and tedious sequences. This second Muppet movie also doesn't have the same poignancy and meaningfulness as the first one. However, there's still a lot to like. The songs generally aren't bad, and of course, there are the same lovable Muppets in the movie. They also didn't forget about the humour, as the film definitely is funny, even if it's not usually hilarious. There are celebrity cameos here (though not as many as there are in "The Muppet Movie"), including one from John Cleese, of Monty Python fame. He helps make the part where Miss Piggy sneaks into 17 Highbrow Street a comic highlight. The plot also works well for a lighthearted family movie like this.
Jim Henson's Muppets made an excellent silver screen debut in 1979, in a film that's still widely admired after just over thirty years. I guess it's no surprise that this 1981 follow-up is inferior, since that's often the case with franchise movies. However, overall, "The Great Muppet Caper" is a very good family comedy adventure, and is still much better than "Muppets from Space", the last theatrical movie featuring the famous puppet characters, released in 1999. I saw that one for the first time over a year ago and had never been so disappointed by anything featuring the Muppets! Anyway, kids could really enjoy this second installment in the franchise, and as usual with these films, it's not just for them. There's enough to make it worth watching for adults who still like the Muppets as well. Just because it's not as good as its predecessor doesn't mean it's not another noteworthy accomplishment.
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