In celebration of just short of a 35th Anniversary, the original Muppet Movie is being released on high definition Blu-ray. After years of success with The Muppet Show, Henson finally brought the gang to the big screen in 1979 with The Muppet Movie. It seems less likely that this release has to do with an anniversary, and more probable that this is merely a marketing ploy to get these loveable puppets into the minds of young audience members prior to the latest addition in the film franchise, Muppets Most Wanted (2014). Even if that is the case, I welcome any reason to return to this incredible first entry into the world of film for Jim Henson’s wonderful creations.
The Muppet Movie takes us to the imaginary beginning of all of the legendary characters, and how they found their way into show business. It is a magical film that manages to escape seeming at all dated, even with a few tunes that are apparently influenced by the times in which the film was made. Mostly it is a fun and enjoyable film that has plenty for adults and children alike to enjoy. A perk for adults will be all of the great cameos by huge stars, staying true to the formula which made the television such a success. Among the most memorable are Steve Martin as an irritated waiter and Mel Brooks as a mad German scientist.
The movie is set up as a movie within a movie, so it begins with all of The Muppets gathering in a studio screening room to watch the film they have just finished about the very beginning of The Muppets. The audience is then brought back to the beginning, when Kermit the Frog was just a frog on a log in a swamp. It isn’t until a
Hollywood agent just happens to pass
by in a canoe and tell Kermit that he should be in show business that Kermit
decides to leave the swamp. As he travels towards Hollywood,
he finds himself meeting all sorts of other animals and creatures that also
have a dream in ,
so they form a group as they make their way. The group gets larger and larger,
and Kermit is also being pursued by a fast food mogul who wants Kermit to help
promote his fried frog leg chain. Hollywood
With danger, dancing, show business and songs, The Muppet Movie is filled with entertainment. Kermit has a very sophisticated sense of humor, and he often tells one-liners directly to the audience. Many of the jokes are incredibly sophisticated and only adults are likely to understand them, but there is plenty of other stuff for the children to enjoy as well. It was also incredible how some of the scenes were done with the puppets at the time the film was made, and to a certain extent the same remains true today. There were not the easy digital solutions which would be used today, so it is all about camera tricks and great puppetry.
The Blu-ray release of this classic film is highlighted by the enhanced audio and visuals, but it also has some exclusive new special features which were not included in any previously released DVD. Though one of the features from the previous DVD is now released as a Classic Bonus feature, all the rest are new. There is a Disney intermission feature which is similar to others from Disney, with a special Muppet touch. There is also a karaoke feature, allowing a sing-along option for the famous songs. There is also a technical featurette, with never-before-seen footage of the first outdoor camera test of the famous puppet characters.
Entertainment Value: 9.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 9/10
Historical Significance: 10/10
Disc Features: 8/10