The often-praised big screen return of Jim Henson’s lovable felt characters in “The Muppets” comes home this week, available in a variety of formats including the most enticing: the Wocka Wocka Value Pack. This release features copies of the film on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital formats as well as including a code to download the film’s Oscar-winning soundtrack.
When “The Muppets” first hit theaters in November 2011, many welcomed actor and co-writer Jason Segel’s take on bringing the all-nonsense crew back. My review was certainly a glowing one, entertained by the hilarity of Kermit and the gang but also surprised by the amount of heart packed into the film that follows Gary (played by Segel), Mary (played by Amy Adams), and Walter (played by… Walter, a new Muppet).
The movie’s plot is a bit of a cliche, with the trio on a quest to reunite the Muppets and rebuild their famous theater while an evil rich man (complete with last name Richman) tries to stop them. But the plot isn’t as important as the antics that occur throughout, with many of the musical numbers (especially the Academy Award-winning “Man or Muppet”) stealing the show.
At home, “The Muppets” plays exactly the same as it did in theaters, minus the popcorn-munching, text-messaging, seat-kicking, loud-mouthing teenagers. (That is, unless your household has a few of those – in which case, I’m sorry.) The transfer to Blu-ray looks and sounds great, offering just as much mayhem as in movie theaters.
The bonus features included on the Blu-ray release offer just as much humor as the movie itself and are worth the purchase price alone.
Disney Intermission is the most entertaining of the extras and one of the best Blu-ray bonus feature ideas to come around. Disney even calls it “groundbreaking” and I have to agree. Upon pausing the movie, rather than a freeze frame, viewers are presented with the famous Muppet Theater red curtains which offer a gateway to new Muppetational entertainment. A series of quick gags unfolds on the screen, different with each pausing of the film. From a dance routine featuring all the film’s main stars (Jason Segel included) to one-liners, the Muppets now do their best to entertain both while the movie is running and when it isn’t. Between new gags, the release’s other bonus features are also shown from behind the curtain, often with new Intermission-only twists.
The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think) provides genuine bloopers and outtakes from the filming of “The Muppets.” These aren’t staged bloopers but actual mishaps that happened on set, featuring both Muppet and human actors. Expect plenty of slapstick and flubbed lines handled with comedic perfection.
Scratching The Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney’s “The Muppets” is a mockumentary about the creation of the film “hosted” by Muppet unit production manager monster J.G. who interviews the cast and crew, who each have prepared schtick. It’s not a legitimate behind-the-scenes featurette, but far funnier.
Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song finally explains just why the film’s bad guy hates the Muppets so much. The rap song performed in the film by Richman (played by Chris Cooper) is one of the movie’s less entertaining moments and this extended version of it is no better. Its only value is to understand the motivations behind the maniacal laughter (or lack thereof).
A Little Screen Test on the way to the Read Through provides viewers a chance to see what filmmakers saw before beginning full production on “The Muppets,” ensuring the look and feel of the movie would be exactly as they’d planned by shooting a series of test scenes through a variety of settings and shots, woven together in a short film. It’s not particularly funny, but it is interesting.
Eight deleted or extended scenes are included and like most deleted scenes, these shots were cut for a reason. They add little to nothing to the movie and didn’t really need to be shown off here either.
Also included are audio commentary with Jason Segel, James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller and the popular theatrical spoof trailers that led up to the film’s release, including a pair that weren’t offered online. Again, the Wocka Wocka Value Pack also includes a download code for “The Muppets” complete soundtrack.
Anyone who enjoyed “The Muppets” as much as I did (which is most people) will love this release, not only presenting the film in the best available format but also enhancing it with plenty of entertaining extras.
We’re giving away a copy of “The Muppets” Wocka Wocka Value Pack in a contest, which ends tomorrow, March 20, 2012 – the official U.S. home release date for the film.
“The Muppets” Wocka Wocka Value Pack is available for pre-order on Amazon for $29.99, including the soundtrack. The movie hits store shelves across the United States on March 20, 2012.