HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Muppets Most Wanted
HTS Overall Score:86
Sequels are almost never as good as their predecessors and “Muppets Most Wanted” jokes about that right off the bat, as the film literally picks off the second the 2011 “Muppets” movie ends. I was just as surprised as everyone else when the 2011 ‘Muppets” movie was a smash hit. I had thought with the demise of Jim Henson, and the spiraling quality of the later works (I don’t think I want to even REMEMBER “Muppets Wizard of Oz” ever again) that we would get another Muppets movie that actually was GOOD. However a breath of fresh air was breathed into the dying franchise and allows for children (and adults of course) to have another chapter in their favorite puppets lives.
Set not 2 seconds after the events of the “Muppets”, Kermit and crew and winding down from the filming and ready to just relax, work on their material and get ready for another production. This all changes when a slick talking manager, named Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), decides to butt in and sweet talks the Muppets into taking a grand world tour right off the bat. While the Muppets may be excited about a new world tour it seems that our resident manager has some plans of his own. It appears that he’s working in conjunction with Constantine, the most dangerous frog in the world, to use the Muppets as front while they plan a gigantic heist of the Crown Jewels of England. The duo even go so far as to replace Kermit with Constantine (who has a mole on the side of his face that he covers up with green paint) and sends Kermit off to the Siberian Gulag prison to rot.
As the two jewel thieves start an international incident as they try and find the clues to a missing pirate treasure that alone holds the key into getting in unseen to the crown vault, A French Interpol agent (Ty Burrell) and a stuffy CIA agent in the form of Eagle butt heads as they try to find out why museums and banks are being broken into everywhere the Muppets go. All is not well on the Muppet home front though. While Kermit has been replaced by Constantine, not everyone is completely convinced of the switch. Walter has his suspicions about the validity of “Kermit’s” actions and digs a bit deeper only to find out the truth. Narrowly escaping with his life, Walter, with the help of Fozzie and Animal, go on a trek to the Siberian Gulag in an effort to break Kermit out and stop the wedding of Constantine (disguised as Kermit) and Miss Piggy.
As I mentioned above, “Muppets Most Wanted” is a step down from “The Muppets”, but it is still an entertaining ride nonetheless. The story ambles a bit, and adds just a bit too many song and dance numbers to the mix to try and compensate, but can’t quite seem to grasp that charming mix of Muppet and human interaction that the last chapter captured so well. Ricky Gervais does a good job as Dominic, but the real “star” of the villainous crew is Constantine and Miss Piggy’s interactions. Even Tina Fey seems a bit underutilized as the Siberian prison warden, and is left with not a lot of screen time to work her magic. The real fun comes with Eagle and Ty Burrell as Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon. The riffs and gags over European culture had me rolling on the floor as the American eagle and French Interpol agent stab and jab at each other verbally the entire investigation. Eagle has always been a favorite of mine, but giving him the role of a CIA agent is absolutely perfect, as his stuffy nature and bull headedness give ample opportunity for laughs.
I have to say that even with it suffering from sequelitis, “Muppets Most Wanted” serves as good quality entertainment for fans of the Muppets everywhere, as it is still head and shoulder above the last few outings before the 2011 restart of the series. Kermit and Miss Piggy are still the stars, and Kermit is given plenty of time to shine, but Miss Piggy had been getting WAAY too much limelight in the latter entries into the series and was becoming annoying. Here they limited here just a bit and her over the top antics were no longer annoying or grating because they were in just the proper amount. As they say, too much of a good thing can be bad. The one thing that always makes a Muppet movie a Muppet movie is the sheer amount of cameos, and we have no shortage of cameos in the film as it ranges from, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ray Liotta, Jermaine Clement, Danny Trejo, Tom Hiddleston, James McAvoy, Tony Bennett, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Josh Groban, Selma Hayek, Zack Galifianackis, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Rated PG for some mild action
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=24521[/img]“Muppets Most Wanted” is released on Blu-ray with a fabulous 1.78:1 AVC encode, one that literally sparkles with clarity. Detail just pops off the screen and you can see all the little bits of texture and seams on the Muppet’s bodies. Even the little facial imperfections on the live actors face are well replicated. Black levels are very strong, although they do show a little bit of softness in a couple scenes that are really dark, and there is no sign of digital manipulation to be seen anywhere. Colors are rich and very bold, especially since a lot of the Muppets are colored with strong primary colors, especially that granny smith apple green of our favorite amphibian. Contrast levels are very good and skin tones look natural. Even in the Siberian Gulag where I would have expected them to put a more drab color tone to the picture. I have nothing to really complain about and I have to say that this is one of the best looking Muppet films, picture wise that I have ever seen, even topping the 2011 version. Bravo Disney, well done.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=24529[/img]Strangely enough, Disney has decided to forgo the standard 7.1 DTS-HD MA lossless track and replace it with a 7.1 DTS-HD HR lossy track at a static 2.0 mbps. The disc isn’t crammed full to the brim with extras or sporting an incredibly long runtime and there’s room to spare, so the exclusion of the lossless track is rather puzzling. The good thing is, that a 2.0 mpbs DTS-HD HR track is pretty much transparent to the source (similar to how a 1.5 mpbs Dolby Digital + track is transparent to a Dolby TrueHD track) and you will HARD pressed to tell the difference between this lossy track and a lossless one. It is simply superb in every way. The Muppet films have always been strewn with singing and dancing and here is no different as the soundstage lights up with the singing. The surrounds are incorporated with ease and are full of music, soft ambient sounds and pretty much everything you could wish for in an immersive track. LFE is strong and bold, with many a moment of deep impactful explosions and resonating low end support. Dialogue is clean and locked to the center channel and the dynamic range is nothing to sneeze at, giving us a very realistic sounding audio track. I DID notice a couple of audio dropouts during the film, very split second type of ones, but switching the player to output LPCM instead of bistreaming fixed the issue. I know this is an issue with their 7.1 Dolby TrueHD tracks, but I’d never experienced this before on a DTS-HD track.
• The Statler and Waldorf Cut
• The Longer Longest Blooper Reel in Muppets History
• Rizzo’s Biggest Fan
• "I’ll Get You What You Want" Music Video Performed by Bret McKenzie
“Muppets Most Wanted” isn’t as fantastic as the 2011 “Muppets” movie, and they even joke about that fact at the beginning of the movie, but it still is solid entertainment for those who love the talking puppets. Once the plot kicks off into full gear, the heists and songs start to pull you back in and put that big smile on your face, for even weaker Muppet movies are still better than a lot of other movies out there. The audio and video are simply spectacular, as always, and while there isn’t a whole lot of extras, that shouldn’t deter the Muppet fans from picking this one up from Disney. Definitely recommended.
Starring: Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell
Directed by: James Bobin
Written by" James Bobin, Nicholas Stoller
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD HR 7.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1, English DD 2.0 Descriptive Services
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Blu-ray Release Date: August 12th, 2014
Buy Muppets Most Wanted Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
More about Mike