The Muppets Take Manhattan

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Those rascals the muppets have returned once again and this time, they plan to storm Broadway and turn their small play into a smash success. The crew has just graduated from college and now want to take on the world, which starts with the bright lights of New York City. Kermit has penned a musical titled Manhattan Melodies and the gang all has parts, so they trek to New York and attempt to get a slot on the biggest stage of them all, Broadway. But they soon discover that won’t be a simple task, as they cannot even manage to arrange a meeting, let alone secure a producer for their musical show. As time passes and the other muppets start to lose faith, Kermit has to believe hard enough for all of them and make it happen, otherwise it just won’t become the smash hit he knows it can be. But can Kermit keep the others in good spirits and work hard enough to get the show made, or is it back to the minor leagues for the muppets and their musical?

This is the third motion picture with those lovable muppets and while it is more of the same antics, I don’t think it works as well as the previous installments. It is still a fun movie with some great musical numbers and a lot of laughs, but it seems to have lost some of the touch the others, especially the first film had. Frank Oz (Bowfinger, Little Shop of Horrors) supplies solid direction and other tasks, but it seems like the humor has taken a new turn here, more adult in context, though not by too much. In other words, the kids will like this one, but it seems as though the humor is more aimed at an older audience, although the movie is very much child-safe, whatever that means. The cameos are much less distracting here, with fewer of them and I also think better placement & execution. Joan Rivers, Gregory Hines, Dabney Coleman, Linda Lavin, and Art Carney top off the list, but others also appear in small roles. I think this movie is fun and has a lot to offer, so I recommend it to those interested, but don’t expect the same magic the original film had.

Video: How does it look?

The Muppets Take Manhattan is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame edition included on the disc’s flip side. I had just viewed The Muppet Movie prior to this disc and was let down by the video there, but this flick looks better, though not by all that much. The image shows much less grain than the original and less print debris, which allows for a cleaner, sharper overall picture. The colors seem rich enough and never run into problems, while contrast is well balanced and maintains a good amount of detail. This is the best this film has looked on home video, but I do wish it was a little cleaner at times.

Audio: How does it sound?

I was a little let down with the included mono track, as this is a music driven picture and of course, mono isn’t the optimal format of choice in this case. Even so, this is a stable and even handed option and in the end, I couldn’t find much to complain about. As expected, the mono limits prevent the music from being immersive, but it sounds good by mono standards, which is all we can ask for in this case. The dialogue seems crisp and never hard to understand, with no hiss present to distract the audience in the least. This disc also includes audio options in French, Spanish, and Portuguese, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, Thai, and Chinese.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes a brief interview with Jim Henson, as well as another round of “Muppetisms” short pieces.

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