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The Muppets - Blu-ray Movie Review

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The Muppets - Movie Review

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5 Stars

With a new creative zest and the same loveable spirit that guided Jim Henson and company through five seasons of The Muppet Show and a venture into feature films, director James Bobin (HBO’s Flight of the Conchords), actor/writer Jason Segal and co-writer Nicholas Stoller have done what many said would be next to impossible: they have created a modern day Muppet movie that recaptures the love, the joy, and the absolute anarchy that made the original incarnation of everybody’s favorite talking socks so cute and so inanely memorable.  The Muppets, from beginning to end, will make you an enthusiastic fan of all things Muppet all over again.  It will also make you laugh and cry and laugh some more.  It’s a movie that, whether young or old, will appeal to everyone and should have a great pair of frog legs that will have it hopping richly into the New Year.

Allow me this moment to tell you how much in awe of this film I am.  It’s bold, fresh, fun, and, without pushing its PG rating limits, is consistently engaging for all ages.  No one thought – after the lackluster Muppets from Space – that this film would be possible.  All I can say is that, “they’re baaaaack” so relax that worried mind of yours.  And I mean it.  Relax.  Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat, Dr. Teeth, Beaker, Uncle Death, Rowlf, Scooter, Lew Zealand, Animal, Floyd, and the Swedish Chef are all returning in this epic sing-along release from Walt Disney.  They star alongside Jason Segal, Amy Adams, and a new Muppet named Walter (essentially Segal as a Muppet) in what is possibly my favorite ever Muppet movie.

Yes, Virginia, it is that good.

After catching wind of Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), an evil oil tycoon, and his plan to destroy the original Muppet Theatre in his insatiable quest for oil, The Muppets takes a new Muppet and fellow enthusiast, Walter (performed by Peter Linz), Gary (Segal) and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to Hollywood in an effort to get America’s favorite sock-band back together.  The Muppets, having gone their separate ways a long time ago, are hardly on speaking terms.  Gonzo is a plumer.  Fozzie works Reno in a show called The Moppets.  Miss Piggy runs a plus-size Vogue magazine.  Animal is in therapy.  And Kermit?  Kermit is a titan of entertainment.  Full of self-referential material and mixed with some old-fashioned charm, Kermit and the gang are reunited, respected, and rescued all in the name of staging The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever.

Full of a bazillion celebrity cameos that include Lady Gaga and Ricky Gervais, The Muppets tickles the funny bone and touches the heart with moments that refresh our golden memories of the Muppets (from repeats of “Mahna Mahna” and “The Rainbow Connection”) and forecast a bright future with songs like "Life's a Happy Song" and “Man or Muppet” which, in my estimation, is worthy of an Oscar nod for Best Song.

While stars Segal and Adams do appear in the movie, this is a Muppet film through-and-through and, behaving as such, the puppets are the stars.  Segal and Adams are the human links, but they aren’t the main characters.  They are along for the ride and what a ride they embark on.  The “we-know-we’re-in-a-movie” self-reflexive lines from Segal and Adams are delivered with earnest skill and generate the laughs needed to carry the movie on to the next set-up.  That’s not to say that Segal doesn’t perform in the movie.  His touching backstage speech to Walter, moments before the final climax, will seal both Walter, who is absolutely fantastic, and Segal in your heart forever.

There’s just a huge amount of goodwill pushing this jovial picture toward its final destination…which, ultimately, is your heart.  Every Muppet cliché is acknowledged, celebrated, and outmatched with a willingness to monopolize the movement that is the Muppets.  From the small screen to the silver screen, the Muppets are a force who have – after a few minor setbacks – have found new footing in the present thanks to the care and the craft of Segal, Stoller, and Bobin.

Essentially, their time, which was once a part of my childhood, is for the immediacy of now and I will wholeheartedly celebrate this picture – an absolute triumph - with today’s children.  Adults will love it, too.  The appeal of the Muppets cannot be stopped.  The Muppets is that film that will deliver them from the past and straight into the dorm rooms of the future.

Let the lifelong obsession with all things Muppets continue!

{2jtab: Film Details}

The Muppets Blu-rayMPAA Rating: PG for some mild rude humor.
Director
: James Bobin
Writer: Jason Segal
Cast:
Jason Segal; Amy Adams; Chris Cooper; Rashida Jones; Bill Baretta
Genre
: Family | comedy | Musical
Tagline:
They're closer than you think.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Nope! The Muppets are as one-dimensional as they've always been!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Home Video Distributor:
Disney / Buena Vista
Official Site:
www.imdb.com/title/tt1204342/officialsites
Theatrical Release Date: November 23, 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 20, 2012

Synopsis: When Walter, the world's biggest Muppet fan, and friends Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze the Muppet Theater, they help Kermit reunite the Muppets to stage The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

The Muppets - Movie Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

5 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
5 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - March 20, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region A

Disney’s 1080p/AVC-encoded treatment of The Muppets is wonderfully riddled with texture, strings, fuzz, and a clarity that astounds the senses.  Kermit is leafy green and Miss Piggy is pristine pink.  Color levels are splashy and true to life and sky-high blue.  This is pixilated perfection.  Flesh tones are fully realized and fleshed out by detailed lines that are never abnormal.  Every edge and every piece of fabric crackles with definition.  Interiors are sharp and exteriors are beautifully replicated.  The black levels are deep and keep their depth in and out of the sunshine that kisses this transfer.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track is equally blazing with sound and stuffing.  The music matches the on-screen shenanigans without missing a beat and thumps its glee-filled message of happiness with thumping bass levels and a hefty use of the rear channels.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Provided by executive producer/co-writer/actor Jason Segel, executive producer/co-writer Nicholas Stoller and director James Bobin, the commentary is as joke-filled as it is trivia-filled.  Little time is actually spent on covering the production of the film.  Not to worry, though.  These three do have a great chemistry and the track is worth a listen.

Special Features:

It’s a short collection, but it does entertain.  While the special features are amazing in that they actually cover so very little of the production of the film, they do entertain with Muppet antics and some great interviews.  The deleted scenes - "Walter's Nightmare," "Life's A Happy Song Missing Verse," "A Hero in Hollywood," "Credit Card Club," "Muppets in Jail," "Bowling for Beaker," "The Strip Mall Awards" and "The Complete Muppet Telethon Opening & More" – while interesting, obviously were cut for a wise, wise reason.  The full version of Tex Richman’s song is a good inclusion because it gives us the reason why he has it out for the Muppets in the first place.  It’s also pretty good.  The Muppets rule at blooper reels and the one included is no different.  Also included in the disc are the spoof trailers the Muppets did that were so warmly received.

  • The Longest Blooper Reel Ever. At Least In Muppet History... We Think (9 min)
  • A Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read-Through (3 min)
  • Theatrical Spoof Trailers (9 min)
  • Full-Length Original Soundtrack Download
  • DVD Copy

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