First introduced to the Muppets on Sesame Street, I’ve been a big fan ever since. However, since creator Jim Henson’s death in 1990, the franchise has seemed a bit lost. The last theatrical release in the franchise dated back to 1999 when the lackluster Muppets From Space was released. Since Disney purchased the Muppets in 2004, they’d done next to nothing with the franchise as far as film and television.
The Muppets returned to the movies in a big way, with a self-titled reboot of the franchise. For the purposes of screenwriters Jason Segel and Nicolas Stoller’s story, the Muppets have been culturally irrelevant since 1984. The felt critters were basically left to fend for themselves after the public forgot about them. While obviously a bit of a stretch, this approach allows Segel and others involved in the production to bring the franchise back to the kind of glory it hasn’t experienced since Jim Henson was at the helm.
Walter (Peter Linz) and Gary (Jason Segel) are as close as two brothers can be, despite the fact that Walter is a Muppet. Living in Small Town, U.S.A., Gary is content teacher, while Walter’s biggest source of joy is watching reruns of The Muppet Show. Gary agrees to bring Walter along on the anniversary trip he and his longtime girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) are taking to Los Angeles, casually ignoring Mary’s unhappiness with the arrangement. Walter is thrilled; he’ll finally get to visit Muppet Studios!
When the brothers excitedly arrive at Muppet Studios, they’re all shocked to find the property in shambles. Absolutely crushed, Walter is walking through Kermit the Frog’s old office when he overhears a conversation between oil baron Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) and his Muppet goons, about his plan to demolish the theater and drill for oil on the land. Gary, Mary and Walter tell the now-reclusive Kermit (Steve Whitmire) about Tex’s plan and inform him that he needs to raise $10 million in order to save the studio. Motivated, Kermit decides to bring the Muppets back together for a telethon. Mary, Gary, Walter and Kermit travel the world to persuade everyone else to join the cause, finding Fozzie Bear (Eric Jacobson) trapped in Reno, Animal (Jacobson) struggling in an anger management class, Gonzo (Dave Goelz) running a plumbing empire, and Miss Piggy (Jacobson) living the high life in Paris. While The Muppets organize the telethon, Walter deals with an identity crisis, while Gary fights to keep Mary in his life.
Admittedly, the human subplots don’t add a lot but they don’t detract much either. Director James Bobin wisely keeps much of his focus on the Muppets, who just radiate joy. If you’re an adult, these characters are just the way you remember them—childlike and innocent with a bit of a grown up edge—if you’re a child, well there’s plenty of songs, montages, and road trips to get lost in. Most of the gags are funny and on the rare occasion a joke falls flat, it’s easy to overlook because another enjoyable moment is right around the corner.
Presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, Disney’s 1080p transfer is reference quality material. Color saturation is wonderful, showcasing nice, bright colors with no evidence of bleeding. Flesh tones are perfect, with people looking positively human and the Muppets looking realistic. So much so, that the nap of the felt is clearly visible. Black Levels and contrast are spot on.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix utilizes every area of the soundfield. Sounds move freely from one area to another, no matter the volume level. Bass is given a fine workout, as the rear speakers are always in play. Additional audio options are French DTS-MA 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English DVS Dolby Digital 2.0.
English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles are available.
Along with a standard DVD and Digital Copy, the following special features are included:
- Filmmakers Audio Commentary: An audio commentary with executive producer/co-writer/actor Jason Segel, executive producer/co-writer Nicholas Stoller and director James Bobin. The trio discusses other movies as much as they do this one, and their endless jokes, and spotty overview of the production doesn’t offer much. The best parts are when the filmmakers reveal tricks of the puppeteers’ trade, unfortunately, there’s not much of that to be had..
- Scratching the Surface (HD, 16 minutes): This “Hasty Examination of the Making of The Muppets” doesn’t really cover much if any, behind-the-scenes stuff, but I loved the tongue-in-cheek interviews.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 10 minutes): Eight deleted scenes are available — “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” — even though almost all of them were wisely cut.
- Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song (HD, 3 minutes): If you wondered why Chris Cooper’s rap sounded a bit incomplete, that’s because it was. Hear the full diddy here.
- The Longest Blooper Reel Ever. At Least In Muppet History… We Think (HD, 9 minutes): A blooper reel that’s actually kind of funny.
- A Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read-Through (HD, 3 minutes): Kermit, Fozzie, Walter and the rest of the gang make their way to an afternoon read-through of the film’s script.
- Theatrical Spoof Trailers (HD, 9 minutes): All the funny spoof trailers are here: “Rise of the Muppets,” “Never” “Green with Envy,” “The Fuzzy Pack,” “Being Green,” “The Piggy with the Froggy Tattoo” and “Green with Envy, the Spoof Spoof Trailer.”
- Full-Length Original Soundtrack: The film’s full soundtrack album is included via a digital download code.
BURBANK, Calif., January 19, 2012 –– One of the year’s best-loved family comedies and among the best reviewed films of 2011, Disney’s “The Muppets,” starring Jason Segel, Academy Award®-nominee Amy Adams, and favorite celebrity couple Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy — debuts March 20 on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD, Digital Download and On-Demand formats. A must-own movie the entire family can enjoy, Disney’s “The Muppets” in-home release includes the DVD and music soundtrack packaged together and also offered as the ultimate Muppets experience, a ‘Wocka-Wocka Value Pack,’ which contains the movie on Blu-ray high definition, DVD and Digital Copy (three discs), plus a download card which allows fans to own all the songs from the film’s hugely popular soundtrack.
Disney’s “The Muppets” Blu-ray Combo Pack, with its flawless picture and pitch perfect sound, comes with a fantastic slate of bonus content including the laugh out loud “The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think).” The exciting release also includes the hilarious featurette “A Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read Through,” which follows Jason Segel, Kermit, The Great Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and others asthey get ready for the first day of production, and much more fun.
“Blu-ray is a great way to bring the Muppets into your home without having to worry about cleaning up after us,” said Kermit the Frog, commenting on the announcement. “And the behind-the-scenes extras are a revealing tell-all look at what it took to bring our movie to the big screen. It’s a must-see for fans of bloopers, flubs and slip-ups – which pretty much describes our act.”
Miss Piggy is equally thrilled at the movie’s Blu-ray release, “Now you can watch moi whenever you want! Ooh! Lucky vous!”
Additional fun-filled features on Disney’s “The Muppets” Blu-ray include a groundbreaking industry first — ‘Disney Intermission,’ a hilarious all-new feature that allows viewers to press Pause on their remote control and watch as the Muppets take over the screen and entertain until the movie resumes playing. The release also includes “Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song,” an extended version of the rollicking rap song by villain Tex Richman (Academy Award® winner Chris Cooper) who provides the hilarious backstory of why he hates the Muppets. Audio commentaries with screenwriter and star Jason Segel, director James Bobin and screenwriter Nicholas Stoller are also included.
With the Muppet’s signature irreverent comedy, songs and dancing, Muppet fans of all ages will cheer as the gang reunites to put on a benefit show to save the crumbling Muppet Studios from being razed by nefarious oil baron Tex Richman. New fans and long-time devotees will find the rainbow connection when they bring Disney’s “The Muppets” into their very own homes.
3-Disc ‘Wocka-Wocka Value Pack’
(1-Disc Blu-ray + 1-Disc DVD + Digital Copy + Soundtrack Digital Download Card)
- The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think) – A laugh out loud look at the actors’ funny gaffs and gags from behind the scenes of making Disney’s “The Muppets.”
- Disney Intermission – Groundbreaking Blu-ray feature. Pausing a movie will never be this much fun, as the Muppets take over the screen every time you stop the disc!
- Scratching the Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney’s “The Muppets.” Hosted by unit production manager monster J.G., the cast and crew take a behind the scenes look at making Muppet and movie history.
- Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song. Rapping his way through the story of his miserable life, Tex tells audiences why he turned out to be such a rotten guy.
- A Little Screen Test on the way to the Read Through. This hilarious footage follows the Muppet gang as they go to their first table reading of the script.
- Eight Deleted Scenes
- Audio Commentary with Jason Segel, James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller
- The Combo Pack also comes with the popular theatrical spoof trailers
- The Complete Soundtrack
2-Disc Combo Pack (1-Disc Blu-ray + 1 Disc DVD)
- The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We think).
- Disney Intermission
- Scratching the Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney’s “The Muppets”
- Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song
- A Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read Through
- Deleted Scenes
- Audio commentary with Jason Segel, James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller
- Hidden Easter Eggs
1-Disc DVD + Soundtrack Digital Download Card
- The longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think)
- Complete Soundtrack
- The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think)
Digital Bonus Exclusive
- Inside Walter’s Trailer. Take a peek inside Walter’s star trailer as he prepares to play his big role.
DreamWorks | 2009 | 105 mins | Rated R
Once in awhile, along comes a genuinely stupid movie that’s just too funny to hate. You know the kind; dumb premise, little plot but along the way they provide so many laughs, you can’t help but enjoy them. Further, to your astonishment, what you thought seemed like a terrible film at first, turns out to be one of the best comedies you’ve seen in a long time. Confusing I know, but that was my experience with I Love You, Man. For some reason, the trailers I’d seen in the theaters didn’t appeal to me, so I never went to see it. As a result, I popped the blu-ray into my player not expecting much but hoping for something bearable. What I got was an original story and lots of laughs.
March 19, 2008 (New York, NY) — When the cast and crew of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother were informed that Britney Spears was slated to do a guest stint on the show, no one knew what to expect.. “I kept saying, ‘You’re serious? She’s going to do it? She’s not going to back out?’” Mother costar Neil Patrick Harris (Barney) says in this week’s cover story of TV Guide magazine (March 24 issue; on newsstands March 19). Spears not only showed up on time for her first day of work, but she was early–and by accounts a consummate professional; there were no outbursts or diva antics or outrageous demands.