1 The Muppet Mindset: THE MUPPETS Blu-ray/DVD Review

Mar 19, 2012

THE MUPPETS Blu-ray/DVD Review

THE MUPPETS
Wocka Wocka Value Pack - Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy/Soundtrack
Available everywhere March 20th 

Ryan Dosier - The Muppets are back. We all know that's true. Since November 2011 when The Muppets rocked the big screen it's been a big wave of Muppet goodness. I'm thrilled to say that goodness continues with the release of The Muppets on Disney Blu-ray and DVD. Not only is the film presented in gorgeous high definition picture and sound, but it comes with more bonus features that you can hurl a bowling ball at. Being the first Disney release of a Muppet movie on Blu-ray, this is no surprise--Disney always provides tons of great content for their major films, and it's great to see that they consider The Muppets a major film.

I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of the "Wocka Wocka Value Pack" from the fine folks at Walt Disney Home Entertainment. I really can't thank them enough and I'm thrilled to be giving you a review of it right now. First and foremost I have to praise the unbelievably gorgeous high definition transfer of the movie on the Blu-ray. The picture is crisp, defined, and beautiful. You can see each of Gonzo's feathers, the beautiful details of Kermit, the rich colors of Animal, and you can spot some of the more well-hidden Muppets in the numerous crowd scenes. The picture is only half the high definition amazement. The sound on the movie is so wonderful and immerse that I found myself hearing things that I missed in eight viewings of the movie in theaters. I really can't praise the picture and sound quality highly enough.

But what you probably care about is the bonus features. I love, love the bonus features, even the main menu for the disc is awesome. It features the Muppets sitting in theater seats waiting for the movie to start. It's a lot of fun to watch--and even Thog is there! I could enjoy only the menu for quite a long time (I'd be lying if I said I haven't). The main bonus feature, which you're sure to notice anytime you pause the movie, is Disney Intermission. When you pause the movie, the intermission begins and the Muppets take over the screen. Statler and Waldorf provide off-screen commentary, Kermit guides you through what's going on, and they host random dance parties and show off some tricks. It really is a lot of fun and gives you something to do if you need to pause the movie for whatever reason.

My favorite bonus feature on the release is Scratching The Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney's "The Muppets." This behind the scenes making of featurette offers a look at many aspects of the movie. There are some incredibly hilarious bits in this, including Walter listing Jason Segel's roles on the film, Droop (yes, DROOP) making a joke, and Uncle Deadly being awesome, plus a whole lot more. There's so much to love in this feature. I've watched it multiple times and I still adore it. It's loosely hosted by unit production monster named J.G. He's a green Frackle and I'm not sure who he's performed by... but he's pretty funny throughout. I don't expect to see him past the features here though.

The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think) is one of the best things about this Blu-ray. Holy frog is it funny. There are so many magnificent flub-ups and goofs and a chicken joke that is so long and hilarious and groan-worthy that... well, it's perfect. Uncle Deadly, Walter, Rowlf, 80s Robot, Scooter, and Bill Barretta all shine brilliantly in the bloopers. It's so wonderful how much the Muppeteers say in character. It really just blows me away. And yes, I believe it really is the longest blooper reel in Muppet history... but I haven't checked to make sure.

The next feature on the Blu-ray is A Little Screen Test on the way to the Read Through. It's a very odd little feature which could have been so much more. It follows Jason Segel, Walter, Kermit, Scooter, Fozzie, Rowlf, Gonzo, and Rizzo as they do a camera test before the script read through... and then we never see the read through! As soon as they're all gathered around the table to read, it ends. It's very strange. What is here is funny, but knowing that footage of the actual read through for the movie exists with Muppeteers and Muppets reading their parts and not having it here is sort of heart breaking. Maybe on the five year anniversary Blu-ray?

Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song is the extended, subtitle free, much improved version of Tex Richman's rap "Let's Talk About Me." It features the entire song, which can be heard on the soundtrack, and shows a flashback to Tex's 10th birthday party where he was ridiculed for not being able to laugh at the Muppets. It explains his hatred for them so much better... and it really isn't that much longer than what's in the movie. This is one of few deleted/extended scenes that I wish would've stayed in the movie, if only to explain more of Richman's motivations and inability to laugh.

The Deleted Scenes are glorious as well. There are nine scenes presented here, most of which were understandably removed from the final film. There are a couple, however, that would've added another glorious layer to the movie. These include Gary, Mary, and Walter arriving on Hollywood Boulevard (with a Walter whistling moment that would've easily explained his talent), the Muppets in jail, the Muppets hosting a fake Oscars to wrangle a celebrity guest, and an incredible extended moment after "The Muppet Show Theme Song." The final deleted scene is just wonderful and I really wish it would've been in the movie... but it's so great to have it on the Blu-ray. Cameos in the deleted scenes include Rob Cordry, Sarah Hyland, Sterling Knight, Billy Crystal, Ricky Gervais, Kathy Griffin, Wanda Sykes, and Danny Trejo--almost as many as were actually in the movie!! In fact, the fake-Oscars scene would have been a brilliant opening for the actual Oscars. That's a missed opportunity right there.

The Blu-ray also includes all of the awesome Spoof Trailers that got us so incredibly excited for the movie, including two that were unreleased that parody Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the Fast and the Furious movies. There's really not too much to say here since we've seen these before, but it's such a treat to rewatch them and have them available in one convenient place.

The Audio Commentary with Jason Segel, James Bobin, and Nicholas Stoller is mildly disappointing. Throughout most of it the trio just joke around with each other, not talking too much about the movie--at least not as much as obsessed fans like you or I would like. There are some very, very interesting moments, usually from James Bobin, but mostly it's just the three of them being silly, which is fun but not very interesting. It is an unbelievable shame that audio commentary with the Muppeteers wasn't recorded. Imagine hearing insights from Steve Whitmire, Dave Goelz, Eric Jacobson, Bill Barretta, Peter Linz, Matt Vogel, and David Rudman... yeah, that would have been awesome.

In fact, that brings me to my only major complaint about The Muppets on Blu-ray: Where are the Muppet performers?! There is literally only one moment in a blooper where you can scarcely make out Bill Barretta's head and a group shot of the crew where you can see some of them, but they aren't interviewed one single time in any of the bonus material. That's not cool with me. These ultra talented performers deserve the spotlight in bonus features where people expect to hear from them. It's a real shame that their voices are denied here. I want to hear them talk about their characters! Who doesn't?

But really, that's the only improvement I would make to this Blu-ray. Everything else here is absolutely incredible and a true treasure to have. Owning The Muppets in high definition would have been enough for me, but the insane amount of high-quality, amazing, hilarious bonus features just adds an entirely new level to everything. It adds so much to the experience of The Muppets, which was already an amazing experience to begin with. There is no reason not to own this brilliant release. You get to bring home a wonderful movie and a boat load of bonus features that you can enjoy time and time again.

So, basically, I'm saying... Go buy The Muppets on Blu-ray/DVD! You will not be disappointed!
PS - I know some of you out there are not pleased with the decision to place most of the bonus features on the Blu-ray and not the DVD, but this is by no means a new practice. For the past few years Disney--and every other company everywhere--has been releasing its films on Blu-ray with the bulk of the bonus features being exclusive to the high definition release. This isn't a senseless grab for money, it's the only way for Disney to keep up with its competition. Expecting Disney to change their Blu-ray release policy for The Muppets is not plausible.







The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

12 comments:

  1. Sorry, but your last paragraph sounds like you're a shill for Disney afraid of upsetting them because you've built a relationship where they're sending you blurays.

    Your review gushes and GUSHES about how awesome these bonus features are...that they're essentially what MAKES the release...and they're not available to everyone. Just because this isn't the first movie release to do so doesn't excuse it or make it right, ethical, or acceptable(dare I start sounding like my mother? "If all your friends jumped off a cliff...?)

    Protest this irresponsible practice by tweeting #UpsetMuppetFans

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your constant negative anonymous postings here are growing tiresome. I am not a shill for Disney. I'm positive and supportive about the release of a movie that I'm passionate about. Your posts have verged on the insulting and if they continue they will be removed. You're welcome to voice your opinion as much as I am, and that's what my review is: my opinion. Agree or disagree all you'd like, but I see calling me a "shill" and "afraid" as thinly veiled insults. Your complaints are about the entertainment industry as a whole. I suggest you take it up with them rather than constantly bringing down my posts with this anonymous negativity.

      Delete
    2. Hey man, leave Ryan alone! He does a great job of reporting on the Muppets on his own time and his own dime. Disney isn't paying him for any of this, he does it out of the love of his felt-covered heart like a true Muppets fan. How about you link us to your Muppets fan page and then we can compare?

      Delete
    3. Wouldn't it be nice if Disney DID pay you for it though? That'd be a pretty sweet deal.

      Delete
    4. I would pay ryan to be my shrill if he ran my fansite. :)

      Delete
  2. Ryan,

    This may seem like a dumb request but can you link to the exact version you have on Amazon or something? It just seems like there are so many special versions and I'd love to make sure I got *this* one specifically that you enjoyed so much.

    Thank you!
    Hill aka Muppetfreak

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gladly! Here's the link to the Wocka Wocka Value Pack on Amazon...
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006JTS5OO/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d9_g74_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=02A2J744G91MS2M0EQ6S&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

      But I would highly recommend buying it from Best Buy as part of their exclusive pack, which comes with an exclusive lunchbox!
      http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Muppets+%28Best+Buy+Exclusive%29+-+Blu-ray+Disc/4855211.p?id=2393700&skuId=4855211&st=the%20muppets&lp=6&cp=1

      Hope this helps!

      Delete
  3. Just an FYI, The features on the Wocka Wocka pack and the Blu-Ray DVD combo pack are the same. The only difference is in the wocka wocka pack you get a code to download the soundtrack (if you don't already own it) and, if you get it as Best Buy, the wocka wocka comes with a lunch box as Ryan mentioned. But all the movie features mentioned above are the same for those two versions.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Received mine today from Disney.com. The free lithographs are glorious and wonderful! Can't wait to watch everything on the disc. So great!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think J.G. might be Jason Segel... wasn't there a photo with him and the character up his arm on the set? Hmmm...

    ReplyDelete
  6. There was a picture of that. Based on the photo, I would guess he was playing J.G. in the scene where Wayne and Wanda are caught kissing. I would guess it's Jason for this stuff as well... maybe.

    The only thing that disappoints me about the disc, aside from the lack of Muppeteers, is the bowling deleted scene is only half there. Where's the Gonzo half? Otherwise, this is one of the best Muppet dvds ever!

    ReplyDelete