Tags: Alan Arkin, Amy Adams, Animal, Bill Barretta, Blu-ray, Chris Cooper, Dave Goelz, David Rudman, Digital Copy, Disney, Emily Blunt, Eric Jacobson, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Jack Black, James Bobin, Jason Segel, Kermit the Frog, Kristen Schaal, Matt Vogel, Miss Piggy, Peter Linz, Rashida Jones, The Muppets, Walter, Zach Galifianakis
has an average rating of 7.6 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio
are ALL in Hi-Def with the Soundtrack
– 103 minutes
This uses 40.1GB total.
Overall Verdict – Definitely Recommended
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself was co-wrote by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, the two behind writing such previous films as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” from 2008 and the sequel “Get Him to the Greek” from 2010. However this is technically the first film the two have worked on writing together. The film was directed by James Bobin who’s previous directing credits included the TV shows “Flight of the Conchords” (2007-2009), “Da Ali G Show” (2000-2004). All the folks involved in writing and directing this film come from adult oriented comedy backgrounds as most of you can tell from those credits. So, it came as much surprise when it was revealed they would be creating the first major motion picture featuring “The Muppets” in over 12 years.
The story here involves two brothers. One brother is a human named “Gary” (played by Jason Segel) and the other is a muppet named “Walter” (voiced by Peter Linz). The two grew up watching “The Muppet Show” and Walter become the most obsessed with the characters. We get an opening narration by Walter explaining things and eventually we see him have a dream (or rather, perhaps, nightmare) that “Kermit the Frog” and the gang hop out of the television set and ask him to come join them. Walter makes a running effort straight towards the TV but cannot make it through. All of this of course is just a dream and he soon awakes, drenched in sweat next to his brother Gary in the bed opposite of his. Gary asks if Walter is OK and reminds him that today is the day that he and his girlfriend are going to Hollywood for their anniversary. Walter is excited for his brother but doesn’t think he’s coming on the trip until Gary tells him. It’s always been Walter’s dream to visit the Muppet Studios and meet his idols; namely Kermit.
The two brothers get ready by brushing their teeth and soon break into song; one titled “Life’s A Happy Song” as a matter of fact. During this musical number they slowly make their way towards the school where Gary’s girlfriend “Mary” (played by Amy Adams) works as a teacher. Eventually they all meet up with their bags packed, the musical number ends and they board a Greyhound bus. The three leave the small town (ironically named Smalltown) headed for this big city that is Los Angeles, California (a.k.a. “Hollywood”). Once they arrive in Hollywood they head straight for the Muppet Studios which is right beside the original Muppet Theater (was supposed to be). They are disappointed to find both the Muppet Theater and Muppet Studios are completely rundown, rusted and all the attractions on the studio tour are closed. However they do manage to get a tour and Walter manages to sneak into Kermit’s office. While he’s drooling over all the memories found on the wall in the form of pictures Walter is startled as someone else is coming into the office. It’s none-other than those two cranky old muppets “Waldorf” and “Statler” with a human and his two assistants. The human is a billionaire oil tycoon by the name of “Tex Richman” (played by Chris Cooper) who has plans to buy the studios; claiming to be a fan of the muppets. He later reveals that he plans to tear down the Muppet Studios and drill for oil. Walter overhears every bit of this and eventually makes a run for it; screaming like mad the whole way and quite a while afterward. Eventually once he’s joined back up with Gary and Mary he tells them of Tex Richman’s plan. They decide they should try their best to find Kermit and tell him, so he can try to save the studios.
They do some driving around Los Angeles searching but let’s just say long story short, the three eventually DO find “Kermit the Frog” (now voiced by Steve Whitmire) who informs them that he hasn’t seen “the old gang” in a very long time. They try their best to talk Kermit into getting the Muppets back together to do a telethon to raise the money they’d need to save the studios. It takes some convincing but eventually Kermit agrees to reunite the Muppets; with the exception of “Miss Piggy” who we learn he’s had a falling out of sorts with. They hop in an older model Rolls-Royce, being driven by “80′s Robot” and hit the open road in search of the fellow Muppets. Eventually they reunite with the likes of “Fozzie Bear” (voiced by Eric Jacobson), “Gonzo” (voiced by Dave Goelz), “Sam Eagle“, “Rizzo“, “Bunsen” & “Beaker“, “Scooter” (voiced by David Rudman), the “Swedish Chef“, “Rowlf” (voiced by Bill Barretta) and the members of “The Electric Mayhem” as well as countless other characters of Muppet past.
Their goal is to stop the billionaire oil tycoon from taking over the Muppet Studios by putting on one final show at the Muppet Theater in the fashion of “The Muppet Show” but they need to find a television network to air it and a celebrity to host. I won’t go into any further details to avoid spoilers but let’s just say they do their best. What you get here is a very entertaining reunion (of sorts) of all these lovable characters we grew up watching over the years as well as some new ones thrown in; both muppet and human.
“The Muppets” proves to be very entertaining and totally left this life-long fan of the Muppets 100% pleased with the final product. It’s a shame that creator Jim Henson wasn’t around to see his characters done such justice. It’s also a shame that former puppeteer Frank Oz wasn’t involved; as he did the voice to so many of these characters originally as well. Still this manages to work on so many levels with new puppeteers. There’s also some great performances and/or cameos by human celebrities such as Jack Black, Dave Grohl, Kristen Schaal, Rashida Jones, Alan Arkin, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, Emily Blunt, Whoopi Goldberg and many more!
The film cost an estimated 45 million dollars to make and according to Box Office Mojo ended up grossing over 88 million dollars (just in the United States). It received a very warm reception from both critics and moviegoers as you’ll see it carries a very solid 96% (out of 100%) on the “tomatometer” over at Rotten Tomatoes as well as a 7.6 (out of 10) rating over at IMDb. The day before the film was released on home video “The Muppets” received their very own star on the Hollywood “Walk of Fame” — as you’ll see pictured HERE. 2011 and 2012 were definitely two great years for The Muppets. It’s also worth noting that the film took home an Academy Award (“Oscar“) for best original song.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. According to IMDb‘s technical specifications for the aspect ratio this was shot digitally in 5K resolution on the Red Epic and Red One MX cameras. Simply put, things look absolutely, positively superb here from start-to-finish. The choice to shoot this film on the Red camera’s in a very high resolution translates amazingly well to Hi-Def here for the Blu-ray Disc. All the details of actual puppets (“Muppets“) themselves are done complete and utter justice. Also, the crazy vibrant colors of the Muppets are done justice as well as the wardrobe and sets via the color palette. Yes, there are some humans in this film, not just muppets, so I’m happy to report that flesh tones come across accurate as well. There’s nothing at all worth complaining about here visually, just stuff worth drooling over. This is the best we’ve ever seen “Kermit the Frog“, “Miss Piggy“, “Fozzie Bear“, “Gonzo“, “Animal” and the rest of the Muppets. They almost jump right off the screen at you; not in a “3D pop” way or the way the character “Walter” dreams about. They just really come across as bold and vibrant and very lifelike; more than they ever have before. This earns itself a well-deserved perfect “5 Star Rating” for overall video quality.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio. Things start up with the character “Walter” dishing out his opening narration which is delivered distinctly, just as the case with the dialogue later on, through primarily the front center channel speaker. While Walter is doing his narration you’ll hear Paul Simon‘s song “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” playing which gets some very nice delivery first from the two front left & right speakers and nice rear channel presence as well as LFE (bass) via the subwoofer. This film is a musical after all, so once the first real musical number starts (“Life’s A Happy Song“) you’ll see that they’ve done a wonderful job taking full advantage of the 7.1 speaker configuration in this lossless mix. Sound effects get some nice rear channel presence at times even as well as the music itself. The LFE isn’t too “over-the-top” but it definitely gets the job done here. All of the musical numbers sound great and vocals are delivered distinctly throughout primarily the front center channel — so no volume adjustments will need to be made here at all. For the type of film this is, this has a perfect lossless surround mix and it should come as very little surprise that this earns itself a “5 Star Rating” for overall audio quality. Sure it’s not the most intense lossless surround mix you’ll ever hear but it does the film and musical numbers complete and absolute justice.
Bonus Materials on this release are ALL presented in full 1080p Hi-Def (HD) video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo @320kbps sound — unless otherwise noted below.
- “Scratching the Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of The Muppets” (15:56 – HD) features Dolby Digital 5.1 @640kbps sound. This making of featurette takes a glimpse (in a jokingly, non-realistic manner) at how it was to work on the first “Muppets” film in fifteen years as well as what it was like for the humans to be working with those legendary Muppets. You’ll be served up lots of interviews with the Muppets themselves like “Kermit the Frog“, “Miss Piggy” and such as well as the human actors in the film like Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Rashida Jones. Also you’ll get a bit of a set tour by a muppet named “J.G.” (the unit production monster) as well as a bit of glimpses of the director James Bobin in both human and Muppet form. This featurette proves to be very entertaining but not-so much informative (or serious) as some folks may have liked for it to have been.
- “The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History)” (8:33 – HD) features Dolby Digital 5.1 @640kbps sound and is self-explanatory by its title and subtitle. This proves to be pretty funny, “Wocka Wocka“, with an ongoing chicken joke that co-star Zach Galifianakis has a very hard time of getting.
- “A Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read-Through” (3:19 – HD) features Jason Segel and “Walter” eventually meeting up with “Kermit the Frog” and gang to eventually have a script read-through. This proves to be pretty entertaining and I’m assuming did actually serve as the initial screen test for the film.
- “Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song” (2:38 – HD) gives us all of Chris Cooper‘s character’s rap song. This is some pretty silly stuff.
- Deleted Scenes (10:01 – HD) feature a total of eight. You’ll see some cameos here that didn’t make it to the film from folks like Rob Cordry, Wanda Sykes, Danny Trejo, Ricky Gervais, Kathy Griffin and last but not least Billy Crystal. These all prove to be very entertaining.
- “Theatrical Trailer Spoofs” (9:00 – HD) feature seven total; including TWO that were previous UNRELEASED.
- Audio Commentary with Jason Segel (star, co-writer, producer), James Bobin (director) and Nicholas Stoller (co-writer) proves to be very enjoyable for us adults who grew up watching “The Muppets” and serves as a serious “making of”, of sorts.
- An “EASTER EGG” (0:48 – HD) featuring the muppet “J.G.” (unit production monster) is hidden here. To access it you’ll want to select “bonus features” on the main menu and hit right on the directional pad of your Blu-ray Disc Player’s remote control, then hit the “ENTER” button once the egg appears.
- A DVD of the film in Standard Definition with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is also included in this “combo pack” style Blu-ray Disc release. The gag reel mentioned above is the only bonus material included on this disc.
- A Digital Copy of the film is included on its very own DVD-ROM (not the DVD listed above). A paper insert in the packing includes the redemption code. This is compatible with both iTunes and Windows Media portable devices, as well as both Mac and PC. You can also stream the film straight from Disney on your computer as part of the Disney Movie Rewards. This is ONLY available with the “Wocka Wocka Value Pack” (combo pack).
- The Entire Soundtrack of The Muppets, 30 tracks in total, is included via a redeemable URL and code on a paper insert. This is ONLY available with the “Wocka Wocka Value Pack” (combo pack). The track listing for the soundtrack is listed below. Tracks in quotations are clips of dialogue from the film.
- – 01. The Muppet Show Theme
- – 02. “Muppet Studios, I Can’t Believe It”
- – 03. Life’s A Happy Song
- – 04. “I Haven’t Seen the Old Gang”
- – 05. Pictures in My Head
- – 06. “We Drive”
- – 07. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
- – 08. “That Spells Reno”
- – 09. Rainbow Connection (Moopets Version)
- – 10. “Welcome Back”
- – 11. We Built This City
- – 12. “Party of One
- – 13. Me Party
- – 14. “We Humbly Ask”
- – 15. Let’s Talk About Me
- – 16. “The Answer is No”
- – 17. “Are You A Muppet or A Man?
- – 18. Man or Muppet
- – 19. “Down at the Ole Barbershop”
- – 20. Smells Like Teen Spirit
- – 21. “Princesses of Poultry”
- – 22. Forget You
- – 23. “It’s Time for Our Song”
- – 24. Rainbow Connection
- – 25. “Get Out There and Help Those Guys”
- – 26. The Whistling Caruso
- – 27. “How Charming, A Finale
- – 28. Life’s A Happy Song Finale
- – 29. “Mary, Marry Me”
- – 30. Mah Na Mah Na
Overall the bonus materials here in terms of quality are great, but in terms of quantity and runtime they may leave some folks disappointed; as they only total up to roughly 50 minutes in length for the featurettes (not including the audio commentary). The addition of a DVD and Digital Copy of the film (on separate discs) is very nice as well as the entire Soundtrack to the film in MP3 redeemable online. However that soundtrack is an EXCLUSIVE to the “Wocka Wocka Value Pack” version and is not included on the standard Blu-ray release. The digital copy of the film is also an exclusive to that combo pack. All and all, this proves enjoyable but feels like it’s still lacking something. I wish they would have included BD-Live so they could add stuff from the Muppet Studios in the future.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Please be patient with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.