There's bad movies, good movies and great movies. The great ones usually come across as a labor of love for everyone involved. "The Muppets" manages a surprising degree of greatness, and the result is clearly a project that everyone involved pushed to make the best they could.
"The Muppets" is really a delight from start-to-finish, with a smart, all-ages script and great performances. The picture focuses on Walter, a muppet who has been the best pal of Gary (co-writer Jason Siegel). They have both gotten older, and Gary has gotten into a relationship with Mary (Amy Adams), leaving Walter feeling like a third wheel.
When Gary and Mary head out to Los Angeles, they take Walter along so that he can visit the famed Muppet Studios. However, when they arrive, they find that the studio has been abandoned - it has been bought up by a rich oil tycoon (Chris Cooper), who wants to level it.
Thus starts a quest to get the Muppets gang back together for a telethon in order to raise enough money to buy the studios back and start up the Muppets again. The "roundup" segment takes a fairly significant portion of the movie, but it's quite funny, with a terrific performance from Jack Black as Animal's overseer. Adams is also enjoyable, although it's Siegel that really steals the show, throwing himself into the role with the spirit and energy of a kid who grew up with the Muppets and is honored to be on-screen with them.
Siegel also managed to write an incredibly smart and funny script, with some terrific one-liners and humor that will appeal to both adults and children. I admittedly didn't expect a great deal from "The Muppets", but this is a tremendously charming and fun return for the characters.
This set also includes a digital copy and DVD edition. A digital soundtrack download is also offered.
VIDEO: "The Muppets" is presented by Disney in 1.85;1 (1080p/AVC) and the result is terrific. Sharpness and detail are delightful, as the picture looked positive throughout, with very nice clarity and detail at all times.
No specks or marks were seen on the print used and the presentation looked quite nice aside from a couple of minor instances of edge enhancement. The presentation remained bright and colorful, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: The Blu-Ray presentation offers a DTS-HD 7.1 presentation - while understandably not aggressive, the presentation does offer some nice, occasional surround use and wide spread across the front speakers. Audio quality is first-rate, with very nice clarity and warmth.
EXTRAS: This set is one of the more feature-rich I've seen lately, with a number of features that will delight fans, starting with an excellent commentary from Jason Siegel, James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller. All three participants do an excellent job keeping the chat going, talking about the start of the project, working with the Muppets, story and more. "Scratching the Surface" is a fun "making of" that gives a terrific overview of the production. We also get a read-through, unreleased spoof trailers, deleted scenes, intermission, blooper reel and extended song.
Final Thoughts: I admittedly didn't expect a great deal from "The Muppets", but this is a tremendously charming and entertaining return for the characters. Highly recommended.