The last Muppets film successfully revived the franchise on the back of a fantastic soundtrack, and Muppets Most Wanted looks like it might manage to continue that revival.
I’ve had concerns about the film since the plot (which sounds a bit too much like The Great Muppet Caper) and the stars (Ricky Gervais, basically) were announced, but the soundtrack is promising.
While losing superfan Jason Segel as actor and co-writer was a blow, the other main players behind the scenes are back, and that includes Bret McKenzie providing the songs.
Of course, hearing a soundtrack to a musical before seeing the film is always a tricky one, as you’ve got no context for them, but there’s no doubting that there’s some great tunes here.
We’re Doing A Sequel is pretty much what you’d expect from the ever self-aware Muppets, singing a song about sequels that’s packed with self referential jokes (like a reminder that it’s actually the seventh sequel to the original Muppet Movie) and cultural references (‘it can’t be any worse than The Godfather Part III’). It still refers to the film as The Muppets… Again! so I can only guess they make a joke of that in the film itself.
It’s also catchy as hell and genuinely made me chuckle more than a few times, and the same can be said for My Name First ____ Your Name, a duet between the evil frog Constantine and Gervais. Even the name (and significance of the spaces) is funny.
The highlight for me though is Interrogation Song, with Ty Burrell and Sam The Eagle interrogating various Muppets, and the lyrical puns fly fast and furious. It’s not all great, of course, and the overblown Something So Right falls into the usual Miss Piggy ballad trap of being almost unlistenable. And includes Celine Dion.
If you wanted to criticise Muppets Most Wanted’s soundtrack (and, potentially the film), it’s that it follows the formula of the first VERY closely. There’s even the finale reprisal of a famous song from an old film, this time being Together Again from Muppets Take Manhattan.
And there’s the comedy versions of pop songs, with Scooter and Pepe doing Moves Like Jagger and Miss Piggy doing the Macarena. These are a bit hit and miss, but will probably work better with visuals.
Interestingly, there’s demo versions of most of the songs included, where you get to hear McKenzie performing his songs and doing pretty decent Muppet impersonations. It’s certainly a nice addition to the soundtrack, as is the suite of Christophe Beck’s score.
Obviously, it’s hard to fully judge a soundtrack to a film you haven’t seen, but I can genuinely say that I’m more excited about seeing Muppets Most Wanted after hearing its songs. And I’ve still got We’re Doing A Sequel in my head…