BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Muppets
Kermit, Piggy, and crew return for an awesome experience on home video...
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If you were born anytime in the last 60 years, you've probably heard of the Muppets. While they've maybe not been as "front and center" over the last decade as they were when I was growing up, that all changed recently thanks to comedic writer/producer/actor Jason Segel, Walt Disney, and the talented puppeteers and voice actors who bring to life Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzy Bear, Gonzo, Rizzo, Beaker, Animal, Rowlf, and every other fan-favorite Muppet. Now, The Muppets has hit home video in a very special "Wocka Wocka" Value Pack chalk full of fun, excitement, and entertainment for the entire family!
The Muppets itself is spot-on for what you'd expect and thanks in no small part to Jason Segel, who both produces, writes, and stars in the film, the story plays out at a steady pace that's engaging, entertaining, and fun. The film follows Gary (Segel), who's taking his fiancee Mary (Amy Adams) to Hollywood for a supposed romantic interlude. However, Gary of course invites Walter, his muppet brother who has no greater wish than to meet the Muppets. Of course, the trio come to realize the Muppet's former theater is now in dire straights and, if the wealthy Tex Richman has anything to say about it, will be torn down soon. Thus, the group of three set off to reunite the Muppets in a last ditch attempt to save the theater and create entertainment magic.
Of course, The Muppets is just as silly, creative, and hilarious as one would expect. Thanks to the introduction of Walter - the starstruck fan-turned-accepted friend (and Muppet), viewers now have a perspective from which to realistically relate to the Muppet characters. Walter is not only original, he's meaningful. We as viewers understand Walter's plight and want him to succeed, if only so we can envision ourselves in his stead. After all, who among us hasn't wanted to get up on that stage and rock out with the Muppets?
While some fans might consider the humor here a bit old fashioned, I personally thought it's spot-on. This is The Muppets for crying out loud; it's supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, laugh out loud humorous in every sort of way imaginable. Kermit the Frog a depressed Hollywood insider? Check. Miss Piggy a fashion editor for Vogue? Check. Gonzo a plumber? Check. Animal in a celebrity anger management rehab center? Check.
Almost every gag, every bit, and every punchline infuses a room with laughter and is addictive to watch. Enjoyable and at the same time revealing in an authentic story that'll have viewers both bent over laughing and shedding a tear or two, The Muppets makes us physically engaged and emotionally invested. We feel the desire and the need for the Muppets to succeed...if only to make us feel as if our own childhood memories of these fan-favorite characters are still relevant today.
The film's video and audio are gorgeous and make you want to stand up and sing along, dance along, and simply be a part of the experience. The colorful 1080p hi-def video jumps off the screen. Colors are crisp, bright, and tight throughout and there's no issues visible. Likewise, the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track rocks, injecting the pitch-perfect fun of every line of dialogue and every chorus of every song into viewers' home theaters. The dynamic range is captured perfectly with each and every field playing its precise part. Again, The Muppets is about as engaging an experience as it gets.
As for special features, the three disc set includes the film on blu-ray hi-def, standard definition DVD, and a load of special features throughout, including a filmmakers audio commentary with executive producer/co-writer/actor Jason Segel, executive producer/co-writer Nicholas Stoller and director James Bobin. The three chat about everything from inspirations and production info to Muppet facts, fun on the set, and more. Fun, but somewhat lackadaisical, the commentary is a bit too informal for most looking to gain any type of education out of the experience. Other special features include a 16-minute short "Scratching the Surface," which is the set's "making of" and is way too short, but plenty entertaining.
Other special features include the 3-minute "Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song," expanded Richman's backstory and is much better than the shorter version in the movie; a 9-minute "The Longest Blooper Reel Ever. At Least In Muppet History... We Think" short, which includes some hilariousness with - you guessed it - Muppets! A few more special features include the 3-minute "A Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read-Through," featuring Kermit, Fozzie, Walter and friends as they prepare for a read-through of the script; 9 minutes worth of mock theatridal trailers, including "Rise of the Muppets," "The Fuzzy Pack," "Being Green," "The Piggy with the Froggy Tattoo" and more. Also included are 10-minutes worth of deleted scenes (8 scenes total) provide fans with a look at what was left on the cutting room floor. Lastly, for fans who enjoyed the film's soundtrack, a digital download code is provided so you too can rock out with the Muppets anytime, anywhere.
As I said, anyone who was born in the last 60 years probably knows who the Muppets are; sadly, that doesn't mean they really know the Muppets. Thankfully, there's always time to get to know them and there's no better place to start than with this newly released masterpiece. The Muppets is fun for all ages, exciting, and entertainment at its best. The Muppets will make you laugh and cry, sing and dance, and simply fall in love all over again with Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzy Bear, Gonzo, Rizzo, Beaker, Animal, Rowlf, and every other fan-favorite Muppet.
The Muppets is available now on blu-ray hi-def and DVD wherever fine home video is sold.
Be sure to enter the The Muppets Wocka Wocka Giveaway for your chance to win this 3-disc set!
- Jess C. Horsley