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.