THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL
"It's Not Easy Being Scrooge" Special Edition 20th Anniversary Blu-ray
Available wherever DVDs/Blu-ray are sold and on Amazon.com
Ryan Dosier - Today saw the release of not one, not two, but three exciting new Muppet-related DVDs: Sesame Street Old School Volume 3, A Special Sesame Street Christmas, and, of course, The Muppet Christmas Carol on Blu-ray. Today we're reviewing the latter release, with reviews of the other two later this week. The "It's Not Easy Being Scrooge" Blu-ray release comes in honor of the classic film's 20th anniversary and is newly remastered and packed with bonus features new and old.
Obviously you all know this movie well, and there's not much I should really have to say about it... other than I can't believe the film is 20 years old. It's wonderful that Disney is finally releasing a classic Muppet movie on Blu-ray, and having it out for the 20th anniversary makes a lot of sense. I just hope we'll see releases of The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, and Muppet Treasure Island released on Blu-ray very soon as well.
Anyway, on to the review! The high definition Blu-ray transfer of the film is absolutely gorgeous. The details and the vibrant colors add so much to an already wonderful film. The details on the Muppets are so great in Blu-ray high definition. The sound quality on the movie is also vastly improved. The musical numbers sound so great and you can hear quite a bit of funny background dialogue much more clearly than on previous releases. While the video quality doesn't look nearly as incredible as The Muppets Blu-ray released earlier this year, it still looks great. This is understandable because The Muppet Christmas Carol is such an older movie... but again, it really looks great.
The things that really shine on this Blu-ray release are the new bonus features. There is a brand new audio commentary track from Kermit, Gonzo, Rizzo, and some surprise guests that I will assert is worth the price of the entire release. I can't tell you how much I guffawed at Gonzo and Rizzo's ridiculous commentary on the movie. Rarely do they shine any light on what's going on in the movie, but who really expected them to? It is such a joy to experience the hysterical Gonzo and Rizzo relationship again, but the best part is just having Rizzo back at all. He has been sorely missed these past few years and he steals the entire show during this commentary. Honestly, commentary does not get much better than this.
As with The Muppets Blu-ray, this release includes Disney Intermission, a fun new feature that pops up on screen every time you pause the movie. For The Muppet Christmas Carol, we get a Christmas-themed Intermission with fun, funny musical interventions from the Muppet rats, chickens, penguins, and the Swedish Chef. It's hysterical to watch the rats croon their way through "Jingle Bells," or the chickens cluck "Joy to the World," or the Swedish Chef provide a Christmas reading with chicken back up. The only issue I have with the Disney Intermission feature on this release is that it's so much fun that wanting to pause it distracts from the actual movie. But... that's more of a praise of the feature than a problem with it.
The other features on the Blu-ray were available on the 2005 DVD release and they include Audio Commentary from director Brian Henson, "Frogs, Pigs And Humbug: Unwrapping a New Holiday Classic" which is a behind the scenes look at the making of the movie, the hysterical blooper reel, Pepe Profiles Presents - Gonzo: A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Weirdo, and "Christmas Around the World" with Gonzo and Rizzo. It's a wonderful selection of the best features made for the various releases of the film.
My only major issue with the release is the completely unnecessary lack of the song "When Love Is Gone." Yes, the song was removed from the theatrical version of the film, but the fact that Disney could not merely include it as a bonus feature is ridiculous. The song is three minutes long and putting it in as a bonus feature or "deleted song" would have taken up very little space on the disc. It's a real shame that we don't have this part of the film's history available on the most recent release. But please don't let that prevent you from buying this Blu-ray. My recommendation to Muppet fans is to buy the release and send an email to Disney's video release department (firstname.lastname@example.org) letting them know how glad you are it has been released, but express clearly how disappointed you are that "When Love Is Gone" is... well, gone.
In the end, The Muppet Christmas Carol on Blu-ray has a lot more than it's lacking. It is a wonderful restoration of a fantastic film with some magnificent bonus features included as well. My favorite being the new audio commentary with Gonzo and Rizzo. Honestly, this new commentary is so funny and so charming that I would say it's worth buying the movie again only for that. It really is spectacular. Head out and get this Blu-ray and spread some Muppety Christmas cheer (about a month and a half early)!
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, email@example.com