The Muppets, that wonderful band of entertainers who have spent years making us laugh, cry, sing and dance, are back with their new film Muppets Most Wanted. The reviews were good, but what about the films before it? The Muppet film series is one of the best family franchises of all time, and here, we’re going to rank them from worst to best!
This list will only be including the seven theatrically released films before Muppets Most Wanted, so that no means no Muppet's Wizard of Oz and A Very Merry Muppet Christmas (They’re crap anyway).
Kicking off our list was the last film before the 2011 reboot, Muppets from Space. It may be ranked as the worst on this list but it’s certainly not a bad film. It offered a good premise, and finally reveals that Gonzo is in fact an alien, after years of questioning what he was supposed to be, but unlike the other films in the series, it’s not a musical which takes away a lot of the fun and heart of The Muppets films, and its humour isn’t to a great standard. Nevertheless, Muppets from Space is a decent watch, especially for kids.
Next up is a classic tale that has been Muppetised, and that would be Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Tim Curry and Kevin Bishop take on the famous roles of Long John Silver and Jim Hawke, whilst a whole host of Muppets dress up as pirates for a swash buckling tale. The humour is decent and the sense of adventure is wonderful, however it has the least memorable songs of any Muppet film. But hey, at least it actually had original music.
Rising in quality now with the second theatrical film, The Great Muppet Caper. Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo play reporters who travel to England to interview a fashion designer after a devastating robbery of her jewels. This sequel is a laugh a minute film, with an excellent cameo from John Cleese, and leaves you in a good mood (as do the next four films). The only thing about this one is that it’s not quite as heartwarming as its predecessor/successors, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t have heart. It’s obvious from the frankly beautiful “Couldn’t We Ride” sequence as Kermit and Miss Piggy take a bike ride through the park with all their Muppet friends. It’s a beautiful song, and the true highlight from this second film.
Taking up the next spot is the 2011 reboot, which stars Jason Segel as he takes his brother Walter, a diehard Muppets fan, on a trip with his girlfriend (Amy Adams) to L.A., where they discover that an evil oil tycoon (Chris Cooper) wishes to destroy the Muppet Theatre. They go to Kermit, and together they get the Muppets back together for a telethon to raise money to save the theatre. What a phenomenal experience this was, a big wonderful mix of hilarity and heartbreak with easily the best range of songs of the all the films. As it starts with the sensationally delightful “Life’s a Happy Song”, moves on to the soul crushing “Pictures in my Head”, and later asks the big questions in the Oscar winning song “Man or Muppet”, the lyrics are absolute perfection. The film injects a huge dose of happiness, but at the same time, breaks your heart. It might get a bit teary, but the teary scenes are some of the best in the film. A truly magnificent movie, and the perfect comeback for the perfect team of entertainers.
At number three, we’re taking it all back to the start as we’re told the story of how The Muppets came to be. Kermit the Frog decides to pursue a career in show business and sets off to L.A, meeting several Muppet friends along the way and avoiding Doc Hopper, who wishes to use Kermit as the spokesperson for his new French friend frog legs restaurant. It’s an interesting story, seeing how all of our favourite Muppets came to be friends, and the humour is top notch, perhaps the funniest of all the films. But what really puts the icing on the cake is the opening scene in which Kermit sings Rainbow Connection, in my opinion one of the greatest songs of all time, and to this day, no one has done it better than that frog. How it didn’t win at the Oscars is a mystery.
Another literary classic, but this time, the Muppet version is an improvement. Not that there’s anything wrong with Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale, but this film does it to perfection. You all know the plot, same standard thing, except with excellent music and humour. Gonzo and Rizzo play excellent narrators to this chilling story, with Michael Caine taking on the coveted title role of Ebenezer Scrooge. The music is fantastic, from Statler and Waldorf’s “Marley and Marley” to The Ghost of Christmas Present’s “It Feels Like Christmas”, there isn’t a better film to inject that big dose of Christmas cheer that we all love to feel during the festive season. The warm feelings inside, the constant happiness etc. you can get it all from here. The Muppets Christmas Carol is not only the second best Muppets film, but it’s also one of the best Christmas films of all time.
Yes, there’s only one film left, and it’s The Muppets Take Manhattan that sits at number one. Not only is it a fantastic Muppets film, but a fantastic film in general. After graduating college, The Muppets travel to Manhattan to try and get their musical on broadway, but suffer many failed attempts. With the play not being picked up, The Muppets go their separate ways whilst Kermit desperately tries to figure out what’s wrong with his script. It’s certainly the most dramatic and emotional of the films. The storyline of Kermit losing his memory killed me when I was younger and still kills me today. But that’s what sets it apart from the other films in the series. That’s what makes it more than a Muppet film, more than a kid’s film, and makes it considerable as a serious film. But that doesn’t mean that the humour and the music are not on top form, and it still leaves you full of happiness. The Muppets don’t make bad films often, but they set the bar pretty high with this one and they’ve yet to reach it. But as long as the quality is always good, they’ll never need to.
What Do You Think?
Find out for yourself, as the film is out on DVD and Blu-Ray now.
Do you agree with our list? What’s your favourite Muppets film?
Let us know in the comments!