After a string disappointing films that were released a little over a decade ago, Jim Henson’s beloved characters finally make their way back to the silver screen in grand fashion withThe Muppets, their first theatrical release in over a decade and easily the best since the original films of the 80s. Audiences agreed, making their return both a critical and commercial box-office surprise, triggering a renewed interest in Kermit & Crew for a whole new generation. There’s plenty of catchy songs and great comedy for fans and newcomers to enjoy in a movie that Jim Henson himself would undoubtedly approve of.
Fellow reviewer Chris Pandolfi didn’t find their return as joyous as some, as he felt it was as if two different movies were fighting for the same space, with the Muppets shortchanged in the process. Here’s a snippet of what he thought back then, and you can check out his full review by clicking right HERE:
“The Muppets plays the music and lights the lights, but it’s not sensational, inspirational, celebrational, or even muppetational, and that’s the most disappointing thing of all. What we have are two movies vying for the same space, neither emerging victorious because they’re not handled particularly well. On the one hand, we have a soppy, innocuous love story between Jason Segel and Amy Adams, which is occasionally interrupted by musical numbers that have plenty of singing and dancing but hardly any life. On the other hand, we have the Muppets themselves, which would be fine except that they’re almost completely reduced to background scenery and aren’t given anything much to do. For all the effort that was put into the sets, the costumes, the special effects, and of course the puppetry, the film lacks the imagination and heart that made most of the previous Muppet films so enjoyable.”
While I can agree with some of the criticisms Chris had with the movie, especially the reliance of nostalgia over story, I still found it to be an enjoyable film. Maybe it was just my love of the Muppets and seeing them back in action for the first time in awhile that made me enjoy it, but I’m sure a soundtrack’s worth of catchy songs and zany Muppet humor didn’t hurt. Good luck getting “Life’s A Happy Song” or the Academy Award-winning “Man or a Muppet” songs out of your head after you hear them. And yes, “The Rainbow Connection” is back, only like you’ve never heard (or seen) it before. A nice treat packed in the “Wocka Wocka” Edition is a special code where you can download the digital copy of the entire soundtrack, which is something you’ll want to do, trust me.
Seeing them on Blu-ray was also a treat in itself, as the video transfer is fantastic, almost to the point of being a little too clear. You can see great details such as every strand of hair on Animal’s face, to not so great details like the moles and freckles all over Jason Segel’s face and neck (no offense Jason ^_^). The 7.1 DTS-HD audio track featured here is right on point, easily making sure that every funny line and catchy musical number rings in with crystal clarity.
Disney did a really great job with the special features here, and even threw in plenty of neat bonuses. One of the most brilliant has to be the feature that lets you pause the film, causing an intermission curtain to appear and some of the Muppets telling jokes and doing other hilarious things until you unpause. Other great features include audio commentary with writer/executive producer/star Jason Segel, writer/executive producer and Nicholas Stoller and director James Bobin. You can tell when listening that the guys really love the Muppets and were glad to revitalize the franchise. “Scratching the Surface: Hasty Examination of the Making of The Muppets” is a funny mockumentary about the film’s creation hosted by Muppet manager monster J.G. who interviews some of the cast and crew.
“Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song” shows off the entire three-minute version of the rap song Chris Cooper’s villain character does in the movie, “The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made” shows off about nine minutes worth of crazy bloopers, and even the seven popular movie spoof trailers that appeared online for the movie that poke fun at some of last year’s most popular films.
The Muppets may not be the ultimate return-to-form for Jim Henson’s beloved characters that it could have been, but it succeeds in all the right places, and brings our old friends back for a new generation to appreciate and enjoy. Hilarious and heartfelt, Jason Segal and crew honor the true spirit of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and the rest with a one of the most satisfying and entertaining films of the year, one that can be enjoyed by longtime fans and newcomers alike. The songs are infectious fun, the jokes come mile-a-minute, and the whole thing is designed to make you smile and feel good. If this sounds like something you’re looking for, you’ll want to “Mah-na Mah-na” yourself a copy as this is definitely one Blu-ray you’re sure to feel a real rainbow connection with.
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Walt Disney Studios