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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Muppets Most Wanted

Production country: 
United States
Running time (In minutes): 
Student film: 
Poster of the fim Muppets Most Wanted
Production year: 
March, 2014
Film Credits
Film director: 
James Bobin
Cast 1: 
Ricky Gervais
Cast 2: 
Tina Fey
Cast 3: 
Ty Burrell
Cast 4: 
Steve Whitmire
Cast 5: 
Matt Vogel
Festival Selection, Awards...
Festival selection, awards or citation already received and other comments... :
Film reviews: 
<p><strong><u>Muppets Most Wanted</u></strong></p> <p>A franchise that probably suffered due to the committee-style of film-making, Muppets Most Wanted does have its moments. At the end of it all, though, one feels that it is a case of wasted opportunities. Too many insider jokes, too many take-offs and too many guest appearances of little consequence make the eighth Muppet outing nowhere near the best.</p> <p>A muppet is a cross between a marionette and a puppet, created by Jim Henson (died 1990), which lends itself to an interesting genre of live action+animation format. And imagine your lead muppet, the frog Kermit, in a double role! With a signature mole and a sinister smirk, the Russian villain Constantine, the world&rsquo;s No. 1 criminal, breaks out of a Siberian Gulag and uses his Kermit-like looks to infiltrate the Muppet clan. He has a partner, his No. 2, named Dominic Badguy (pronounced bad-GEE, <em>not jee</em>, as in French), played by Ricky Gervais, to switch places with Kermit and to rob a national treasure. Kermit land up in the Gulag while Constantine uses the Muppets&rsquo; world tour to trace clues about his target treasure.</p> <p>The film starts with two self-deprecating number about sequels, which peter out into excuses rather than gags. Puns and satire come to the rescue on occasion, but the levels sink low enough to sound unfunny. Cases in point are Chritoph Waltz doing the waltz, Salma Hayek in red being chased by bulls and Celine Dion caricaturing herself. Inspirations include the James Bond and Pink Panther series, as well as &lsquo;mole&rsquo; films, where an identity is established based on the discovery of a distinguishing mole on a lost character&rsquo;s face or body.</p> <p>In writing the screenplay with Nicholas Stoller, director James Bobin (Flight of the Conchords, The Muppets; Sacha Cohen collaborator) said, &ldquo;What if Kermit, the most beloved Muppet character to many, had an evil doppelg&auml;nger? We thought it was a funny premise.&rdquo; There are few minor differences in the physical appearance of the two frogs, but when Constantine switches with Kermit, he uses green makeup to hide the most obvious giveaway, the mole on his face. Much is made of the Russian accent&mdash;inspired by the 1983 James Bond spy-thriller Octopussy character General Orlov--with which Constantine speaks, not all of it being convincing.</p> <p>Ricky Gervais is too suave to convince as No. 2. He is made to a cabaret song with his boss, in which the two spar about their respective positions in the hierarchy. Ty Burrell as French Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon is no patch on Peter Sellers (Pink Panther&rsquo;s Jacques Clouseau). Not many can be. But having said that, he does raise a few laughs. Tina Fey plays the Russian Gulag commandant with a heavy Russian accent in another one of the opportunities lost. She has a lot of energy that is only partly tapped. The pig&rsquo;s voice sounds fake. Music from Academy Award-winning songwriter Bret McKenzie, is functional. The dozen-odd tracks include a version of Macarena and the voices of Lady Gaga, Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell. Sadly, not many of them will be remembered outside the cinema-hall.</p> <p>Bobin has signed a deal with HBO to make content under his own company, The Honourable Company of Gentlemen Film-makers. He is also in talks to direct the next Alice in Wonderland and expressed a desire to work with Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan. Let&rsquo;s hope that Muppets Most Wanted is just a stutter, and that he comes into his own very soon.</p> <p>Rating: **</p> <p>Watch the trailer on <u><a href=""></a><a>-wanted/videos?entryId=0_b73cqc8</a></u></p>
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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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