By Roger Longenbach
Mar 24, 2012 09:10 AM EST

The Muppets Blu-ray Review

The Muppets Blu-ray Review
Purchase  Blu-ray | Digital HD
After a hiatus of twelve years since their last widespread theatrical movie, the Muppets returned to the big screen in late 2011.  From an idea hatched by Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I Love You Man) and Nicolas Stoller, The Muppets was an attempt to revive a long-running and storied franchise.  Jason Segel may have left clues that this was in process if you have seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, where his character wrote a play about Dracula starting puppets that looked very similar to the classic Muppets many people grew up with.

The movie focuses on two characters, Gary (played by Jason Segel), and his brother Walter (voiced by Peter Linz), who happens to be a Muppet.  The movie catches us up to the two of them in the present time with a quick montage of clips when the two of them were growing up and Walter discovered that there were other Muppets out there, and they were stars!  In the present time, Gary has been dating Mary (played by Amy Adams) for ten years, and they are planning to take a two week romantic trip to Los Angeles.  Unfortunately for Mary, Gary convinces her to allow Walter to come along so he can finally visit the Muppet Studios.  That is where the movie begins to both build up steam and fall apart in one respect.

Much like many other plots (actually it's very similar to The Great Muppet Caper); Walter overhears the plans of an evil oil tycoon (played by Chris Cooper) who is planning on buying the Muppet Studios in order to demolish it for the oil underneath.  So Walter enlists Kermit the Frog to try and save the Studios.  So throughout the movie we see the old Muppets get back together and perform "one last time" to try and save the Studios, all while the evil tycoon attempts to thwart them.  That part of the movie is very well done, even if the general plot has been recycled.  The secondary plot, which is the relationship of Gary and Amy, is a colossal distraction from the main story.  While the beginning of their relationship plot helps move the story to Los Angeles, it doesn't serve a purpose related to the main story.  This unfortunately drags the movie down even though this secondary plot does contribute two songs to the soundtrack.

The soundtrack is very well done, although it is light on original material.  One of those original songs, "Man or Muppet" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.  The last time the Muppets were on stage for Best Original Song was in 1981 with The Great Muppet Caper, but they are best known for "Rainbow Connection" from the original Muppet Movie, which ended up not winning that year.  "Rainbow Connection" (which happens to be the songwriter's favorite song) also makes an appearance, but it doesn't have the same charm as the version sung by Jim Henson (this version is sung by the current cast, which is also missing Frank Oz).  There is also a song for the villain that is honestly forgettable.  On the other hand, I think the strongest song on the soundtrack is "Pictures in my Head" with their mix of the slow tempo leading up to a faster beat with strong harmony.  It's also important to listen to the lyrics, as they help convey the emotions of the scene and only add to the movie.

Even with all its' flaws, The Muppets is a wonderful family friendly film.  The digital sound comes across clearly with excellent reproduction of surround in various scenes that almost makes you feel like you're in the Muppet Theatre at either Disney's Hollywood Studios or Disney California Adventure.  The HD transfer is wonderfully done on the Blu-Ray. On top of that, the Wocka Wocka combo pack is one of the best values I've seen to date. You get the Blu-Ray (including extras such as the making of, bloopers, and only a few of the parody trailers they made for it), the DVD, a digital copy, and a code to download a digital copy of the soundtrack in MP3 format.
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MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 120 minutes
Distributed By: Walt Disney Pictures

For more information about The Muppets visit the FlickDirect Movie Database.

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About Roger Longenbach

FlickDirect, Roger  Longenbach

Since he was very young, Roger has enjoyed going to the local theatre and seeing a good film on the big screen. Starting with the lines for The Empire Strikes Back, Roger has especially enjoyed the Star Wars franchise, culminating with his attendance at the Washington, D.C. premiere of Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace. He enjoys movie music, especially those from most Disney animated features. Read more reviews and content by .

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