The Muppets [Blu-Ray] James Bobin

The Muppets [Blu-Ray] James Bobin
Not only did James Bobin, Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller knock out a wild success with their revival of Jim Henson's beloved, droll puppet troupe, ably handling the franchise's meta-humour, unabashed optimism and clever juxtaposition of innocent charm and sly truth telling, they created an equally thoughtful, respectful, witty and hilarious Blu-Ray package that fully revels in the Muppet spirit. Multiple language options upfront lead to the expected trailers, but with a mini-menu that allows you to start the movie directly or go to the main menu, which is definitely recommended. It's telling of the neglect and laziness of most home movie packages that this is the best and most appropriate original background loop material ever created for a menu, taking the crown from 2004's Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Once the story of Walter (the boy who didn't fit in because he's a Muppet) and big brother Gary, a man who has trouble reconciling good-hearted but childish pursuits and the adult responsibilities of his relationship with long-time girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams), gets going, prepare to smile and laugh your way through a charming and expertly paced comedy that embraces the key qualities that make the Muppets such enduring characters: positivism, absurdity, heart and honesty. If the need should arise to pause this wonderful feature, any impatient companions will be entertained by yet more bonus content woven into the very fabric of the home viewing experience. An "Intermission" curtain appears and between jeers from everyone's favourite geriatric hecklers (Statler and Waldorf), Muppets pop in and out to see what the hold up is, eventually screening a preview of some of the behind-the-scenes content for Fozzy to watch while waiting for the viewer to restart the movie. Getting to the "actual" special features, "Scratching the Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making Of The Muppets" is a fully produced mockumentary of what we've come to expect from a "Making Of." It's narrated like a BBC nature documentary and includes statistical graphs on how much screen time in all of film history the Muppet movies comprise and how many actors will work for halibut. The set tour is conducted by a Muppet production assistant who has a caffeine drip patched through his headset, and all of the usual cast and crew interviews are subjected to puns and gags that never break the reality of the Muppet world, including a lot of straight-faced celebrity cameos (a bit between Emily Blunt and Miss Piggy is especially well played). "The Longest Blooper Reel Ever in History (Muppets History, that is. We think)" lives up to its cheeky title, with an abundance of on-set shenanigans, faux-outtakes and a plethora of comedic performers committed to the infectious absurdity of it all. Continuing to poke fun at the notion and common presentation of bonus content, "A Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read Through" sees Jason Segel talking down Walter's nerves about a table read as the rest of the gang joins them, discussing what's needed for a camera test while it's happening around them. Further highlighting the extremely incisive pop culture deconstructions this writing team adheres to and contemporizes to the Muppet standard, nearly the entire brilliant marketing campaign of self-referential spoof trailers that sold the film so well are collected, along with two that never aired ― the very funny Rise of the Muppets and a less successful lampooning of Fast Five. "Explaining Evil" is the full Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) song, which features a pretty funny operatic bridge illuminating his Muppet hatred and lack of humour; it provides a better understanding for an intentionally one-dimensional character, but was wisely cut for pacing purposes. The same can be said for the majority of the deleted scenes, but there may have been a way to incorporate a very funny scene where the Muppet gang try to lure celebrities, including Kathy Griffin and Ricky Gervais, into hosting their telethon by giving them fake Oscars, much to Billy Crystal's outrage, but at least it's preserved here. Finally, the creative team pull back the curtain to speak candidly about the mechanics of shooting puppets, jokes born of actual budget constraints and the many, sometimes misguided (nobody wants to see a Muppet die of old age) drafts they wrote of the script in a frequently goofy and informative feature commentary. Delightful and entertaining every step of the way, The Muppets and the characters' return to pop cultural awareness is very succinctly summed up by Whoopi Goldberg: "It can't ever be a bad idea to bring goodness back into the world." Some would say, "amen." As one who identifies with the Muppet inside, I say, "waka waka." (Disney)