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DVD Shopping Bag: The Muppets

It wasn’t for kids.

By Robert T. Trate     March 20, 2012

 

It's time to play the music: It's time to light the lights: It's time to meet the Muppets: On the Muppet Show tonight ...” Words that many of us lived for week after week growing up. I personally was one year old when The Muppet Show premiered in 1976. I obviously did not get a lot out of it but my parents tuned in with me every week. Thankfully, there were crazy floppy things dancing all around to grab my attention. Imagine my surprise in watching the first three seasons on DVD. The jokes were crass and packed with sexual innuendos. I am still surprised how many slipped in (see review of Season 3 here on Mania). In retrospect, what was truly amazing about The Muppet Show were the guest stars. The show had everyone from Steve Martin to Christopher Lee. Raquel Welch to Sylvester Stallone. Yes, even the mighty Chewbacca and Luke Skywalker were on The Muppet Show.
 
The guest stars are my only point of contention with James Bobin’s latest Muppet movie, The Muppets. When Gary (Jason Segel) and Walter (Peter Linz) venture to Hollywood to see the Muppets and help them put on a show, the Muppets encounter a lot of problems. They need help finding funds and celebrities to pitch in. Granted there are several modern day celebrities who turn out and make cameos in the film, but they aren’t the problem. It is when Kermit says ”…Selena Gomez” that I came out of the moment. Not to take anything away from the main woman in Justin Bieber’s life, but this was Disney’s best attempt at trying to tie kids into the story? Zach Galifianakis, Jim Parsons, and Emily Blunt weren’t enough? This might be nitpicking and a point that would easily fall on deaf ears at Disney, however, in pointing out a celebrity by name illustrates that they aren’t really that famous. Where were the likes of Elton John, Steve Martin, and John Cleese or (for heaven sakes) Yoda (though he never appeared on the show, he should have been there)?
 
I might sound like an old man waving his cane and cursing Disney from outside the theater but I didn’t feel as if this movie was for kids. In a lot of ways it was a swan song for the Disney movies of old and a rebirth into the modern era from Jim Henson’s classic characters. I say that because the theater I was in was packed with 25-30 somethings decked out in Muppet T-shirts. Each was on the verge of tears of joy by the end of the movie. Where were all the kids? Well, they were running up and down the aisles and going in and out of the theater. Apparently crazy floppy things dancing all around on a giant screen aren’t enough to get kids’ attention anymore.
 
I’m glad the Muppets are back and I’m glad that the late great Jim Henson creation has found its way back into theaters. Much like those days of old (1976) I think the Muppets are fun for kids but, again, more for the adults watching. Perhaps Disney should have put the movie out as an app first and the kids might have paid more attention to it.
 
Top 5 Picks of the Week:
 
1. Battle Royale: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray] (see column)
2. Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Season Two, Part Two
3. The Muppets (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy + Soundtrack Download Card)
4. Letter Never Sent (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Three-Disc Combo Blu-ray / DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
 
ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS
 
A Lonely Place to Die [Blu-ray] Starring Melissa George, Ed Speleers and Eamonn Walker
 
A Lonely Place to Die Starring Melissa George, Ed Speleers and Eamonn Walker
 
Battle Royale Starring Chiaki Kuriyama and Takeshi Kitano
 
Battle Royale [Blu-ray] Starring Chiaki Kuriyama and Takeshi Kitano
 
Behind Your Eyes Starring Daniel Fanaberia, Frida Farrell, Tom Sandoval
 
Blood Guardian Starring Sallie Glaner, Liana Hubbard Jose Rosete
 
From Time To Time Starring Timothy Spall, Maggie Smith, Dominic West and Alex Etel
 
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Three-Disc Combo Blu-ray / DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy) Starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer
 
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara
 
Jarring Starring Alejandro Cure
 
Pimp Starring Robert Cavanah, Billy Boyd, Danny Dyer
 
Private Eye Starring Jeong-min Hwang, Dal-su Oh, Deok-Hwan Ryu and Ji-won Uhm
 
This Is Not a Movie [Blu-ray] Starring Edward Furlong, Peter Coyote and Edi Gathegi
 
This Is Not a Movie Starring Edward Furlong, Peter Coyote and Edi Gathegi
 
Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy (2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) Starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch
 
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Starring Gary Oldman and Colin Firth
 
What You Dont See Starring Frederick Lau
 
ANIME
 
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Seven Starring Stephanie Nadony, Sean Schemmel and Don Brown
 
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Seven [Blu-ray] Starring Stephanie Nadony, Don Brown and Sean Schemmel
 
ef: A Tale of Melodies - Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
 
Ef: A Tale of Melodies Complete Collection
 
Fairy Tail: Part 4 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Todd Haberkorn, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Jamie Marchi
 
CARTOONS
 
The Adventures Of Tintin: Season Two Starring Colin O'Meara, David Fox and Wayne Robson
 
Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Season Two, Part Two Starring Diedrich Bader, John Di Maggio, James Arnold Taylor
 
Hop Starring James Marsden, Kaley Cuoco and Russell Brand
 
Hop DVD Combo Pack (DVD + Digital Copy) Starring James Marsden and Gary Cole
 
Hop Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Copy) Starring James Marsden and Kaley Cuoco
 
CLASSICS
 
Blessed Event Starring Lee Tracy, Mary Brian, Dick Powell and Allen Jenkins
 
Dangerous Starring Bette Davis, Franchot Tone, Margaret Lindsay
 
Lost Keaton: Sixteen Comedy Shorts 1934-1937 [Blu-ray] Starring Buster Keaton
 
The Steel Trap Starring Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright, Jonathan Hale
 
Thirteen Women Starring Irene Dunne, Ricardo Cortez, Myrna Loy and Jill Esmond
 
Untamed Starring Joan Crawford, Robert Montgomery and Ernest Torrence
 
COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style
 
The Muppets Starring Amy Adams and Jason Segel
 
The Muppets (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy + Soundtrack Download Card) Starring Chris Cooper and Jason Segel
 
The Muppets (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Amy Adams and Jason Segel
 
Criterion Collection
 
Letter Never Sent (Criterion Collection) Starring Tatyana Samojlova, Yevgeni Urbansky
 
Letter Never Sent (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Tatyana Samojlova, Yevgeni Urbansky
 
The War Room (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring James Carville, George Stephanopoulos, Bill Clinton
 
The War Room (Criterion Collection) Starring James Carville, George Stephanopoulos, Bill Clinton
 
HORROR
 
Claustrofobia Starring Carolien Spoor
 
Creature Starring Mehcad Brooks, Serinda Swan, Aaron Hill and Sid Haig
 
Deliverance From Evil Starring Angel Aviles, Jose Rosete and Victor Miller
 
Funeral Home Starring Lesleh Donaldson
 
The Hills Have Eyes: Part 2 (Remastered Edition) [Blu-ray] Starring Michael Berryman, Penny Johnson, Tamara Stafford
 
The Hills Have Eyes: Part 2 (Remastered Edition) Starring Michael Berryman, Penny Johnson, Tamara Stafford
 
Museum Of Wonders Starring Lucia Batassa. Lina Bernardi Elda Alvigini
 
Resurrection County Starring Dayton Knoll, Adam Huss, Kathryn Michelle and Robert Miano
 
The Ritual Starring Anne Reiss, Brinke Stevens
 
Russell Mulcahy's Tale of the Mummy [Blu-ray] Starring Christopher Lee, Jason Scott Lee and Louise Lombard
 
Satan's Slave (uncut editon) Katarina's Nightmare Theater Starring Michael Gough, Katarina Leigh Waters, Martin Potter
 
Season In Hell: Evil Farmhouse Torture Starring George Prekel, Carl Restivo, and Kevin Healy Elliot Passantino
 
Snow White: Deadly Summer Starring Shanely Caswell and Maureen Mccormick
 
Splintered (DVD / Bluray Combo) Starring Stephen Walters, Holly Weston, Sacha Dhawan
 
Splintered Starring Stephen Walters, Holly Weston, Sacha Dhawan
 
Strip Nude for Your Killer [Blu-ray] Starring Edwige Fenech, Nino Castelnuovo, Femi Benussi
 
TV LAND
 
Kojak: Season Three Starring Telly Savalas
 
Lexx: Complete Season 4 Starring Brian Downey, Eva Haberman and Michael Mc Manus
 
Lexx: Complete Season 3 Starring Brian Downey, Eva Haberman and Michael Mc Manus
 
Lexx Season 3 & 4 Starring Brian Downey, Eva Haberman, Michael McManus
 
Scarecrow and Mrs. King: The Complete Third Season Starring Kate Jackson and Bruce Boxleitner
 
That '70s Show: Season One [Blu-ray] Starring Ashton Kutcher, Topher Grace, Wilmer Valderrama
 
BOX SETS
 
Battle Royale: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray] Starring Beat Takeshi and Chiaki Kuriyama
 
Robert Trate writes three weekly columns for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 6 of 6
1 
jppintar326 3/20/2012 4:46:31 AM

I liked The Muppets but I didn't love it.  The script has more than its share of slow spots and some of that old fashioned Muppet mayhem, such as what was seen on The Muppet Show and the first two movies.  Also, Frank Oz was missed doing Miss Piggy and Fozzy.  The new guy they have doing them is okay, but he is not Frank.  He gave both of those characters the right attitude that is missing.

eelbonjack 3/20/2012 6:29:04 AM

 I took my friends' 8-year-old daughter to see "The Muppets" and she loved it. That was gratification enough. As for what I felt, I didn't know what to think. I don't know if it's because I'm older, it's the 21st Century, or Jim Henson's dead, or all of the above. Watching the old-school Muppet show at my grandma's house on a black and white TV over 30 years ago.....can't beat those memories. It's a 20th Century phenomenon that can't be quite replicated today.

karas1 3/20/2012 9:56:07 AM

I was visiting a friend and he had The Muppet Show on in the background while we played cards.  I saw the episode with Sylvester Stallone and he looked like he was about 19.

ChadDerdowski 3/20/2012 10:38:51 AM

It's a shame your theater experience was such a bad one, Bob.  My daughter sat on my lap the entire movie absolutely enthralled by the story (a pretty mean feat for a 3-year old).  When we left, the adults were drying their eyes and reminiscing about their youth while their children sang "Manah manah" all the way to the car.  It was truly an ALL-AGES show and you're actually the first person I've heard of who didn't have this same experience.

Now, a large part of my kid being so into it is the fact that my wife and I "prepped" her over the course of the previous year, watching the old movies as well as our Muppet Show DVDS (which admittedly, was as much for our enjoyment as hers).  I can't speak for the other parents but they must've done the same.

I won't deny that the movie was more for us than our kids though.  A friend of mine called it "a love letter to our childhood".  I think that's a pretty apt description.

redhairs99 3/20/2012 7:56:23 PM

I thought the movie was a great homage to the old show and movies and I really enjoyed the flick.

My one question is simply this...Where's the other seasons to The Muppet Show?  I have 1-3, but those came out years ago and it makes me wonder why they didn't re-release all the shows and movies either when the movie hit theaters or now that's on Blu-ray?  For an industry built on double, triple, etc.-dipping the American public, it seems a very odd move.

greasepump 4/3/2012 3:17:13 AM

 Aren't you supposed to review the Blu-Ray or DVD? I don't care to read about your theories or hear about your movie-going experience. I want to read a review of the Blu-Ray or DVD to find out if it's worth purchasing. 

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