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Blu-Ray : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: August 16th, 2011 Movie Release Year: 1984

The Muppets Take Manhattan

Overview -

Fresh out of college, Kermit, Fozzie and the entire cast of Kermit's musical "Manhattan Melodies" head for the Big Apple with plans to turn their small play into a big hit! All they need now is someone to produce their show! But when no one in town will even meet with them, it's up to Kermit to believe hard enough for all of his friends that the show WILL go on! Family entertainment has never been more fun than in this comedy marking Frank Oz's solo directorial debut.

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/AVC MPEG 4
Length:
94
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Audio Formats:
Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles/Captions:
English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hindi, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Russian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish
Special Features:
Muppetisms: Pepe
Release Date:
August 16th, 2011

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

The 'Muppet' movies can get away with their silly, sometimes completely clichéd plots, because… well, they're the Muppets! When I stuck 'Muppets Take Manhattan' into my Blu-ray player I wasn't expecting a strong, engaging plot that would keep me guessing, or push my emotional buttons. I wanted to see another example of why Jim Henson was so damned good at what he did. 'Muppets Take Manhattan' does exactly that.

Watching a Henson/Muppet production has the uncanny ability to transport you back to childhood. To make you laugh at obvious jokes that you wouldn't normally laugh at. 'Muppet' movies are simply one of a kind.

'Muppets Take Manhattan' was released in 1984. Kermit and the gang have just graduated college and would like to take their stage show on the road to Broadway. The only problem is that New York City is a tough town, and when they try and break into the Broadway scene they're met with resistance and general nincompoopiness from just about everyone they meet. Those poor Muppets. They're always getting a raw deal just because they're made of felt.

Kermit gets a job at a local diner while the others head off across the United States to try and find jobs they'll be good at. Ralph tries working at a dog grooming store, Gonzo attempts to create an out-of-this-world ski jumping routine complete with a team of Muppet chickens, and Fozzy tries his hand at hibernating.

It's fun to revisit the old crew and laugh along with them. I guess it was inevitable that we'd finally see these past 'Muppet' films released on Blu-ray since the new movie 'The Muppets' is coming out later this year.

Jim Henson and his team of puppeteers were truly great at creating movie magic. There are scenes in here, like the wedding, where you just have to wonder how many puppeteers were hidden behind those puppets. The way Henson and Frank Oz were able to seamlessly insert Muppets into everyday life is certainly one of the best aspects of the movies. People never seem to question why a rat is serving them food in a diner or why a frog would like a job at an advertising agency. It's all part of the random, glorious fun that comes from watching the Muppets do their thing.

'The Muppets Take Manhattan' is a must have for any Muppets enthusiast. It's a light-hearted, breezy walk through New York with the Muppets as your guide. They run into famous cameos here and there, get into shenanigans, and flail about at any chance they get. It's a 'Muppet' movie. Have fun with it. Reminisce about the good old days, and how Henson simply had no equal. The magic he created with his movies and his puppets will live on for generations. Long after kid's entertainment of today has died out.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

'The Muppets Take Manhattan' is a Sony Combo Pack release that contains both the DVD and the Blu-ray. It's housed in a standard Blu-ray case and appears to be region free.

Video Review

Ranking:

Yes, you can tell pretty easily that this footage is from the early eighties, having said that, the 1080p transfer of 'The Muppets Take Manhattan' looks as good as it can. It probably won't be used for demo material any time soon, but people who purchase it won't be sorry.

Colors are a little flat due to the source material's age, but the Muppets and their felt pelts are still pretty flashy. Kermit's green, Piggy's pink, and Gonzo's blue are all accurately represented here. Textures of the different material used on the Muppets is intricate and visible. I especially enjoyed making out the different curled hairs that make up Ralph's body.

Human faces do tend to look a little waxy, but it isn't too bad. There isn't much facial detail at all for the movie's human characters. There are times where haloing becomes an issue along with strong white light bleeding into other colors. Like I said you won't be disappointed in this presentation, but it does show its age.

Audio Review

Ranking:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentation holds up rather well. The songs of the Muppets take front stage as line after line of bubbly lyrics are belted out succinctly and clearly. Fidelity is good, and I never noticed any hissing or popping even during the higher notes.

Dialogue is always intelligible. Rears work well with busy activity of New York streets and restaurants. There's good prioritization here which is exemplified when Animal goes chasing after a woman in an auditorium yelling "Woman! Woman!" The screams echo nicely through the sound field, but don't overtake the main dialogue being given by Kermit onstage.

This is a serviceable soundtrack that accurately produces the hilarious musical talents of all the Muppets. It won't disappoint.

Special Features

Ranking:
  • Jim Henson Interview (SD, 14 min.) — The interview is split up into a few different sub-heads, fourteen in all. The interviews include "Directing vs. Acting," "Kermit & Jim," "Magic," "Expanding the Character's Role," "Kermit Comes Alive," "Experimenting," "Filming in New York City," "The Art of Puppetry," "The Kitchen Scene," "Director Frank Oz," "Singing in Character," "Kermit's Voice," "A Team Effort," and "Cameo Roles." I liked hearing Jim talk about how much he liked to act when he was playing Kermit because he liked Frank Oz's writing so much. Many of the segments are very short, but the whole interview is pretty revealing in such a short period of time. It's always a treat hearing him talk about the art of puppeteering.
  • Muppetisms (SD, 2 min.) — There are three different Muppetisims you can choose from, or you can just select the Play All feature. They include Muppetisms from Fozzy Bear, Miss Piggy & Kermit, and Pepe. Fozzy performs some terrible stand-up comedy, Miss Piggy complains about not being treated like a star, Kermit tries to calm her down, and Pepe the shrimp tries to catch a basketball.

Final Thoughts

I've always been a fan of the Muppets, and I think I always will be. They're timeless entertainment icons. A wonderful slice of Americana. 'Muppets Take Manhattan' is fun, airy, and can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. Even though it was made in the 80s, younger generations now can still find it funny and endearing. These characters will be around forever, and so will their movies. Recommended.