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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
James Bobin
Cast:
Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones, Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, Alan Arkin
Writing Credits:
Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller, Jim Henson (characters)

Tagline:
Muppet domination.

Synopsis:
Muppet domination continues with a hilarious new movie from Walt Disney Studios. Jason Segel, Academy Award(R) nominee Amy Adams and Academy Award(R) winner Chris Cooper join everyone's favorite Muppets and an all-star celebrity cast in a comic adventure for the whole family. While on vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world's biggest Muppet fan, his brother Gary, and friend Mary uncover the diabolical plot of a greedy oil millionaire to destroy the Muppet Theater. Now, the Muppet-loving trio must reunite Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and their friends to stage the greatest Muppet telethon ever and save their beloved theater. The gang is back together again in a must-own movie full of irresistible music and family fun. Bring home the biggest Muppet adventure ever on Disney Blu-ray(TM) and DVD!

Box Office:
Budget
$45 million.
Opening Weekend
$29.239 million on 3440 screens.
Domestic Gross
$88.355 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Video 2.0
French DTS-HD MA 7.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $49.99
Release Date: 3/20/2012

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Actor Jason Segel, Director James Bobin and Writer Nicholas Stoller
• “Disney Intermission” Feature
• “Scratching the Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of The Muppets” Featurette
• “The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History)”
• “A Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read-Through”
• “Examining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song”
• 8 Deleted Scenes
• 7 Theatrical Spoof Trailers
• Sneak Peeks
• DVD Copy
• Digital Copy
• Downloadable Soundtrack


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Muppets [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 9, 2012)

Though the characters had appeared in some video releases over the years, 2011’s The Muppets represented their first big-screen release since 1999’s Muppets from Space. And this might qualify as a glorious return, as Muppets earned consistently excellent reviews and decent box office receipts; while its $88 million didn’t set the world on fire, it marked a good comeback after all that time.

As someone who literally grew up with the Muppets – I was two when Sesame Street debuted and nine when The Muppet Show aired – I felt anxious to see how well the characters would translate to the 21st century. Walter (voiced/puppeted by Peter Linz) lives a pretty happy life with his brother Gary (Jason Segel). Extremely close, Gary plans to take Walter along when he travels to LA for a vacation with girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams).

A huge fan of the Muppets, Walter wants to visit their studio, which he discovers has seen much better days. The Muppets themselves abandoned it, and oil magnate Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) buys it to exploit the resources that reside underneath the location.

If the Muppets can raise $10 million in a brief period of time, they can repurchase the studio. However, they all went their separate ways years earlier, so this will be no easy task. Walter endeavors to reunite the Muppets and find a way to generate the bucks to save the hallowed grounds.

Prior to the film’s release, fans worried that Segel – co-writer of the flick and best-known for “R”-rated fare like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I Love You, Man - would take a path that would be pure mockery. The Muppets always embraced acerbic humor that worked just as well for adults as for kids, but some feared that Segel would go too far and desecrate their beloved characters.

None of these concerns need to have existed, as they turn out to be totally unfounded. Like me, Segel grew up with the Muppets – though not as “first generation”, since he’s 13 years younger - and he developed the project as a labor of love. That comes through with virtually every frame of Muppets, which walks a fine line between parody and loving homage but always stays on the right side.

If asked to use one word to define Muppets, I’d opt for “charming”. The film oozes sweet charm from beginning to end; even when it opts for more violent or barbed humor, it never develops into the mean-spirited mockery fans feared.

Instead, it feels like a perfect part of the Muppet world. The only sign that this comes from the post-Jim Henson world stems from the voices. Steve Whitmire does a good Kermit but I never forgot that Henson was gone. Eric “Not a Relative Though I Do Have a Cousin By That Name” Jacobson covers Frank Oz’s voices pretty convincingly, though some slips still emerge. (Oz remains firmly among the living but declined to participate in Muppets.)

While I miss the original voices, I find the high quality of the film more than suffices. Honestly, I can find next to nothing about which to complain here, as the movie just zings from start to finish.

Though you clearly must buy into its absurdity right off the bat or you’ll not go anywhere. When I saw Muppets theatrically, I liked it a lot, but I admit it took a while for me to get into it. I think a lot of that came from the presence of Walter and the weirdness of his story. He’s a Muppet but no one ever recognizes that; he and the firmly human Gary are brothers without any comment. Inside the wild and wacky Muppet world, this makes some form of warped sense – indeed, it’s quite “Muppetian” for the film to totally avoid acknowledgement of the puppet/human confusion – but it still can be a bit off-putting at first.

Just at first, though, as once you allow yourself to become immersed in the Muppet world and suspend disbelief, the film comes to life. It actually works even better on second viewing. Muppets packs its running time with so much cleverness and mirth that it takes a couple of screenings to soak it all in – there’s more fun per minute here than in any other flick in recent memory. Where else can you find an Oscar-winning dramatic actor do an 80s-style rap? The Muppets provides a gleeful triumph.


The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio A-/ Bonus B

The Muppets appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was a terrific visual presentation.

From start to finish, sharpness looked immaculate. Not the slightest hint of softness affected the image, as the film looked concise and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws – well, other than the intentional specks that pop up during the opening “fake home movie” snippets.

In terms of colors, the movie featured a natural palette that favored a slight golden tone. Across the board, the hues looked positive. They showed nice clarity and breadth and came out well. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I thought the movie consistently looked great.

Given its comedic nature, I didn’t expect a ton from the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack. However, it worked surprisingly well and delivered a lively soundscape. With its musical numbers and many moments of shenanigans, the audio opened up the various settings in a broad and engaging manner. Elements popped up from all over the room and created a vivid, involving setting with plenty of unique audio from all the different channels. These pieces meshed together in a smooth way and ensured a concise soundfield.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This was a fine soundtrack that worked well for the film.

Expect a nice set of supplements here. We open with an audio commentary from writer/actor Jason Segel, director James Bobin and writer Nicholas Stoller. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast and performances, sets and locations, editing, story and characters, working with the Muppet puppets, music and production numbers, and a few related areas.

Though we learn a decent amount about the movie, the commentary never becomes especially informative. That’s because the participants tend to fool around too much of the time. Actually, Bobin does much of the heavy lifting and gives us the majority of the movie details. On the other hand, Segel prefers to make faux sincere remarks about cast members and Disney; he kids around so much that it’s often tough to know what “facts” are accurate and which are jokes. It’s a moderately enjoyable piece, but it doesn’t deliver enough meat to really work.

Irony alert: at the start of “Man or Muppet”, the guys continue a running time travel gag and joke about “Oscar-winner Bret McKenzie”. Of course, McKenzie actually did win an Oscar for that song, so the remark doesn’t seem quite so goofy now.

For something unusual, we go to Disney Intermission. If you activate this feature, every time you pause the movie, you’ll see various instances of Muppet silliness. I didn’t test this to see how long it’d take to find “reruns”, but it seems to include quite a lot of unique content. It’s a fun addition that qualifies as a clever extra.

Next comes a featurette called Scratching the Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of The Muppets. It runs 15 minutes, 56 seconds and offers notes from Segel, Bobin, executive producer Martin G. Baker, actors Rashida Jones, John Krasinski, Sterling Knight, Ken Jeong, Sarah Hyland, Neil Patrick Harris, Kristen Schaal, Selena Gomez, Rob Corddry, Wanda Sykes, Amy Adams, Whoopi Goldberg, and Emily Blunt, and various Muppets.

Do you learn anything about the movie’s production here? Nope, not really, though it doesn’t promise anything more than a silly time. It tells us it’ll be a shallow examination, and that’s true – it’s firmly goofy and tongue in cheek. While not a hilarious show, it’s amusing and likable.

The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History) goes for eight minutes, 33 seconds. It shows some of the standard goofs and giggles, but we also get a lot of improv bits and even some outtakes from the behind the scenes interviews. This becomes a better than average collection.

With A Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read-Through, we get a three-minute, 18-second piece. It shows a sketch with Segel and various Muppets as we see some fake behind the scenes footage. It’s a weird but amusing piece.

An elongated sequence from the movie shows up via Examining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song. It fills out the tune to two minutes, 38 seconds as it lets us see all of Chris Cooper’s performance in his big scene. While I’m happy to check out the longer rendition – which also explains Richman’s hatred of the Muppets – I think the abbreviated one works better; this makes for a good extra but would’ve rambled in the final flick.

Eight Deleted Scenes fill a total of 10 minutes, one second. These include “Walter’s Extended Nightmare” (1:57), “’Life’s a Happy Song’ (Missing Verse)” (0:33), “A Hero In Hollywood” (1:41), “Credit Card Club” (0:25), “Muppets In Jail” (1:02), “Bowling for Beaker” (0:37), “The Strip Mall Awards” (2:14) and “The Complete Muppet Telethon Opening and More” (1:32). Nothing major pops up here, but we find plenty of amusement – and a slew of cameos that don’t make the final cut. “Strip Mall” fares the best, as it throws in some big stars and is quite funny in its own right; I’m surprised it got the boot.

We wrap with seven Theatrical Spoof Trailers. This collection occupies nine minutes and features “Rise of the Muppets (Unreleased)”, “Never (Unreleased)”, “Green with Envy”, “The Fuzzy Pack”, “Being Green”, “The Piggy with the Froggy Tattoo” and “Green with Envy Spoof Spoof Trailer”. These did a lot to sell the movie and offer some clever Muppet-based parodies. “Spoof Spoof” is the best of the bunch, though “Tattoo” is also pretty great.

The disc opens with ads for Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3, Brave, and Secret of the Wings. These also show up under Sneak Peeks along with promos for ANT Farm, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, The Aristocats and Planes.

A second platter brings DVD version of the film with one extra: the blooper reel. We also find a separate digital copy of Muppets and get a certificate to download the film’s soundtrack.

Many viewed the prospect of The Muppets with trepidation, but fans needn’t have worried. It’s an enormous success, as it delights from beginning to end. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio as well as a pretty good collection of supplements, though the commentary isn’t as I’d hoped. If 2011 produced a movie more fun than The Muppets, I didn’t find it; this is a total delight.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.7 Stars Number of Votes: 10
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main