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James Frawley
Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt
Writing Credits:
Jack Burns, Jerry Juhl

Kermit and his newfound friends trek across America to find success in Hollywood.

Box Office:
Domestic Gross

Rated G.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
German Dolby 1.0

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 8/13/2013

• “A Frog’s Life” Featurette
• Extended Camera Test
• “Doc Hopper’s Commercial”
• Frog-E-Oke Sing-Along
• Disney Intermission
• Trailers


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Muppet Movie [Blu-Ray] (1979)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 16, 2020)

For many folks of my generation, the Muppets maintain a nice place in our memories. After all, 50-somethings like myself were among the first to be reared on these puppets.

The Muppets followed us through our lives; just when we got too old for Sesame Street, along came The Muppet Show to provide more sophisticated entertainment.

I recall feeling excited when they released The Muppet Movie in 1979. I can even recall exactly when I saw the flick, as my family and I went to a showing on Christmas Day 1979.

I loved the film so much that I quickly blew some Christmas cash on a Fozzie the Bear puppet. This meant that many cries of “wocka wocka” were heard throughout my house during that vacation.

Boy, was that a long time ago! I felt happy to check out the movie once more with its release on Blu-ray, though I also encountered a little anxiety. As I noted when I reviewed both 1974’s The Towering Inferno and 1978’s Jaws 2, it can be perilous to revisit childhood faves.

While The Muppet Movie doesn’t engender memories as strong as those I have for the other two flicks, I still remember it fondly, and I worried I’d not care for it today.

Although I didn’t adore Muppet on this latter-day screening, I still thought it was a fairly entertaining experience. The film purports to tell how the Muppets got together.

Actually, it’s a movie within a movie, as we see the gathered grouping of characters begin to watch Muppet at the film’s start. From there, it’s a mostly-uninterrupted view of the “factual” proceedings.

Early on, a talent scout (Dom DeLuise) gets lost in Kermit’s swamp, but before he departs, he tells our favorite melancholy amphibian that he’d be a natural in show biz. As such, Kermit (voiced and manipulated by Jim Henson) sets out to make his name in the world, and as he travels to Hollywood, he encounters a mix of new friends.

There’s Fozzie the Bear (Frank Oz), Miss Piggy (Oz), Gonzo (Dave Goelz), piano-playing Rowlf (Henson), the Dr. Teeth Band, and a slew of others, most of which accompany Kermit on his trip.

Not all is happy, however, as a nasty businessman pursues Kermit every step of the way. Doc Hopper (Charles Durning) owns a chain of frogs’ legs restaurants, and he wants Kermit to act as spokes-frog.

For obvious reasons, Kermit has philosophical objections to such a role, and he declines. Unfortunately, Hopper won’t give up easily, so he uses all sorts of nefarious means to get his frog.

You’ll earn no points if you guess that all will eventually end well. Actually, the movie lets you know this in advance.

Since the entire story is essentially a retelling of past events, we know that Kermit and the gang will make it to Hollywood and become big stars. It’s the journey that’s the entertaining part, and it indeed is often fun to watch the crew make their trip to fame.

As with most Muppet productions, most of the charm found in Muppet comes from the performances of the puppeteers. Henson, Oz and the others had operated their charges for many years by the time Muppet rolled around, so they clearly were comfortable in the parts. I suppose the pressure of a major motion picture may have created new demands, but they handled them well.

One nice thing about good Muppet productions is that they can be entertaining for both kids and adults. The entire event proceeds in a fairly simple, innocent manner that keeps it very kid-friendly, but the crew make sure that there’s a mild irreverence and nuttiness that adds interest for adults.

Actually, one of the film’s nods to the adult audience becomes a burden during Muppet. You’ll find a stunning roster of talent via cameos.

Brace yourself, for here they come: Edgar Bergen, Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, James Coburn, DeLuise, Elliott Gould, Bob Hope, Madeline Kahn, Carol Kane, Cloris Leachman, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Telly Savalas, Orson Welles, and Paul Williams. Of course, many of these names were bigger than others, but that’s still an insanely long list of stars to pack into this brief feature.

Some of them genuinely add to the film. Martin’s bit as a snide waiter seems fun, and some of the others bring decent bits as well.

However, the entire enterprise becomes a bit tiresome after a while. This blunts the impact of the cameos, as virtually anytime we see a Muppet request the attention of a human, we’d then view a person with his/her back turned to the camera.

After that, the human makes his/her identity known, and we’d go wow! Orson Welles! Or whoever. This seems interesting for the first few cameos, but after that, I really begin wish that the celebrities would disappear from the project.

Despite that issue, I still find The Muppet Movie to provide a generally enjoyable experience. The movie lacks great depth or humor, but it becomes largely witty and compelling, as the gentle irreverence of the Muppets remains a solid source of entertainment. Other Muppet programs top it - such as the terrific “Muppetvision” show at DisneyWorld - but this nonetheless turns into a charming ride.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C+/ Bonus C

The Muppet Movie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Given the nature of the source, this became a strong presentation.

Sharpness usually appeared positive. At times it became a little fuzzy and ill-defined, but it generally manifested a positive level of clarity.

I saw no signs of moiré effects or jagged edges, and edge haloes remained absent. With plenty of grain, I suspected no egregious use of noise reduction, and the flick lacked print flaws.

With a natural palette and characters that boasted their own vivid hues, the colors of Muppet Movie looked very good. The film showed these tones in a lively, full way that satisfied.

Black levels seemed solid, with dark tones that appeared deep and rich, and shadows looked appropriately defined. I felt very happy with this solid transfer.

Though not bad, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Muppet Movie seemed mediocre, and the audio presented a fairly limited soundfield. Activity stayed pretty firmly oriented toward the front channels, and the center speaker dominated the affair.

Music and ambient effects spread acceptably to the sides at times, but these were never very involved partners in the affair. I heard some decent panning on a few occasions, such as when a car would cross the screen, but these elements didn’t seem impressive.

As for the surrounds, they added little to the track. On a few occasions they demonstrated loud outbursts - such as an explosion early in the film - but for the most part, they were passive partners in the experience.

Audio quality felt dated but decent. Speech remained intelligible but could lean tinny and thin.

Music seemed similar, as the songs and score lacked much range. Though not distorted, these elements didn’t show a lot of punch, and bass response seemed boomy.

Effects fell in the same pattern, with elements that came across as adequate but unmemorable. At least the effects didn’t suffer from much distortion, but they also failed to display a lot of clarity. This seemed like a pretty mediocre mix, even for a movie from 1979.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD from 2005? Audio seemed fairly similar, as the lossless BD track felt a little more natural, but only a bit, for it couldn’t do a lot with the dated source.

Picture quality became a more pleasant improvement, as the Blu-ray showed superior colors, definition and cleanliness. This’ll never be a visual showcase, but the Blu-ray made it look about as good as I could hope.

The Blu-ray mixes old and new extras. Pepe Profiles Presents – Kermit: A Frog’s Life runs six minutes, 34 seconds and is “hosted” by the strange prawn Pepe as he chats about Kermit’s success and legacy.

He yaks with Kermit himself and we also get some praise from Muppets like Fozzie and Miss Piggy along with “C”-list celebs such as David Hasselhof and David Alan Grier. The short offers some mild amusement at best.

Frog-E-Oke Sing-Along lets you croon with three songs: “Rainbow Connection”, “Movin’ Right Along” and “Can You Picture That”. It offers the usual mix of movie clips and on-screen lyrics, though it gives us some fresh animation as well. It does nothing for me, but others may enjoy it.

With Jim Frawley’s Extended Camera Test, we find a 17-minute, 53-second piece. It shows a series of shots that appear to be meant to demonstrate how well the filmmakers could integrate the Muppets into exterior shots.

Muppeteers Jim Henson and Frank Oz are along as well, and they operate Kermit (Henson) and Fozzie and Miss Piggy (Oz) in scenes together. Mostly we find Muppets in nature, but there are also shots of Kermit and Fozzie in a car.

It’s a fun little piece, mainly because Oz and Henson improvise some interesting dialogue between their characters. Make sure you stay to the end to see them deal with some friendly cows.

Note that this version is “extended” because it runs about four minutes longer than the feature on the original 2001 DVD.

Doc Hopper’s Commercial goes for one minute, three seconds and lets us see the movie’s TV ad in its entirety. It serves as a fun addition.

In addition to two trailers. the disc includes Disney Intermission. If you activate this feature, every time you pause the movie, you’ll get one of the three “Frog-E-Oke” tracks found elsewhere. That’s a pretty dull addition, especially since the “Disney Intermission” on 2011’s Muppets brought a clever version of this feature.

The disc opens with ads for The Little Mermaid, Iron Man/Hulk: Heroes Unlimited, and Mary Poppins and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Sneak Peeks adds promos for Super Buddies and Return to Neverland.

More than four decades after its release, The Muppet Movie generates a great deal of goodwill. It brings a generally charming and entertaining flick, though it suffers from some slow moments along the way. The Blu-ray provides appealing picture quality with mediocre audio and a few bonus materials. In the end, The Muppet Movie is a fun film that will entertain many.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of MUPPET MOVIE