With a new Muppets movie coming in November, it’s nice to see some of the original movies come to life on Blu-ray for the first time. The Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppets From Space are two films that get a high-definition release this month courtesy of Sony Pictures. In an odd twist, these two Muppet films are the only ones in the franchise not to be owned by Walt Disney. Although not necessarily the strongest of the Muppet films, The Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppets from Space are now priceless in their new 1080p presentations – and like all Muppet shows, there’s singing, dancing and comedic fun for the whole family.
In Frank Oz's solo directorial debut 'The Muppets Take Manhattan,' Kermit and his friends go to New York to get their musical on Broadway only to find it's a more difficult task than they anticipated. After a successful run at a college theatre, Kermit and the gang cannot find backers to bring their variety show smash hit to the big city, so the Muppets are then forced to take jobs and go their separate ways. After several mishaps and much confusion, things begin to come together for them.
Highlighted by outstanding songs and grand sing-along productions, Muppets Take Manhattan is an excuse to be a kid all over again. Kermit and The Gang are mesmerizing to watch and the story is pure family fun. It’s also the debut of Rizzo the rat, who works at the New York restaurant where Kermit gets his NY waiter job.
Down the road in the zany sixth film in the franchise, “Muppets From Space,'' the search for Gonzo's past gets underway. On a quest with buddy Rizzo to find his real family, Gonzo discovers that his long-lost relatives are actually aliens from a distant planet. After announcing to the world on Miss Piggy's talk show, “UFOMania,'' that he is living proof that “we are not alone in the universe,'' Gonzo becomes the target of paranoid government operative K. Edgar Singer (Jeffrey Tambor). In the end, Gonzo must not only escape the Singer compound, but decide to either board the mother ship and join the family that he has always wanted, or stay on Earth with the friends that he has always known and loved.
Although produced long after Jim Henson’s death, Muppets From Space has pretty much all the elements of a true Jim Henson production, with the exception of songs. Appearing not as full of song as the other movies, Muppets From Space concentrates more on telling the story of Gonzo’s past than it does singing about it. However, the grand production at the end with Gonzo’s family is a true Muppet musical moment.
The 1080p transfer of these films is fantastic and brings out the vibrant colours. The clearer the picture gets with Muppet shows, the more the Muppets come to life. Although the extras as sparse in these Blu-ray’s, there are a couple good ones as Muppets From Space features more than 20 quirky and very raw outtakes. Also, a true joy is the interview with Jim Henson featured on The Muppets Take Manhattan. Henson is the mastermind behind the Muppet universe and his imagination has created universe and universe of magic and wonder. He’s true genius and a treasure to see in this candid interview before his death.
Get these movies now before I have to get angry with you… Hiiii-Yah.