Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Video review: "The Muppets"

The Muppets are back, and now they're Oscar-winning Muppets!

The successful reboot of the dormant puppet franchise of Jim Henson is a joyous walk down memory lane for Generation X kids like me who grew up on Kermit, Missy Piggy, Fozzie Bear and the rest of the gang. Now they can bring their own moppets to see the Muppets, and the cinematic circle of life is competed.

The film even picked up an Academy Award for best song (though I am compelled to point out it only had one competitor, in one of the weakest contests in Oscar history).

Jason Segal and Amy Adams are the human stars, though they're mostly just hanging around to set up the Muppets and their antics. (Segal also co-wrote the screenplay.) The running gag is that the Muppets are washed up and forgotten, until their old theater in Los Angeles is scheduled to be demolished by an evil oil tycoon (Chris Cooper), who thinks there's black gold underneath it.

The new character is Walter (voiced by Peter Linz), a Muppet who grew up with humans and thinks he is one, too. He's always been obsessed with Kermit & Co., and gets a chance to track down his old heroes and bring them back together for the proverbial One Last Show.

Director James Bobin goes for a blend of high and low humor -- pratfalls and silliness for the kiddies, and wry puns and breaking of the fourth wall for their parents. It's a good mix, and it's good to see the old gang again.

Video extras are quite good, though you have to ante up for the Blu-ray combo edition to get most of the best stuff. The DVD comes with a single featurette, dubbed "The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made."

Upgrade to the DVD/Blu-ray combo pack and you gain several more featurettes, including the full version of the rap song sung by villain Tex Richman. You also get deleted scenes, Easter eggs and audio commentary with the director and screenwriters.

Go for the three-disc "Wocka-Wocka Value Pack," and you add the musical soundtrack.
The feature that's the most fun: when you pause the Blu-ray, the Muppets take over the screen for a special "Disney intermission."

Movie: 3 stars out of four
Extras: 3 stars

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