A Frog with a Musical

People want music, not shootings. So suggests a scummy Broadway producer to the Muppets crew, but maybe he’s right, scam artist or not.

Muppets Take Manhattan feels a little autobiographical, in that Jim Henson’s original idea for his Muppet Show and Sesame Street were likely met with similar quizzical looks from executives, much as the Muppets themselves trying to sell their stage show. Pigs, frogs, bears, and rats march into office spaces, desperate to secure funding, and are turned away each time. To be fair, it all seems a bit eccentric at first glance.

Borrowing a bit from the first Muppet Movie, the story is a similar one

A bit out there or not, Muppets Take Manhattan splits the Muppet gang, sending them into the real world where success is rarely found. That drives the core theme of never giving up on one’s dreams, a perfect summation of the Muppet brand itself that cannot and will not stop finding a home in pop culture.

Borrowing a bit from the first Muppet Movie, the story is a similar one. Then, the cast tried to find a way into Hollywood (literally too since it was their first movie). By 1984, Hollywood was off the table and Broadway became the goal.

The antics do admittedly feel familiar by this third Muppet movie. Ingrained into Muppet lore, Kermit must fear Ms. Piggy, Gonzo must take a beating, and Fozzie must tell awful, pun-laden jokes. Deviating from that means losing the characters as much as tradition, a difficult spot for any screenwriter, or three in this case, including director Frank Oz.

Littered with brief star cameos and delightfully difficult puppetry at times, Muppets Take Manhattan doesn’t lose any of the joy in these characters. Icons or not, they remain unchanged as they should; their formula is remarkably successful, routine or not. Every character holds a distinctive personality that comes through even as they fight for crowded screen time. By the end, with all of the flashy costumes, music, and theatrics, Muppets Take Manhattan has completely engorged itself on dopamine. It works. All of it does.

Video

The color… it’s full of color. Muppet skin (or fur? fuzz?) shows incredible density and vividness. The saturation is marvelous. Kermit’s green, Fozzie’s brown, Scooter’s orange; all of it looks splendid. In some cases, maybe even too much.

This does challenge the encode, warding off chroma noise considering the saturation’s intensity. For the most part, it’s a success, with but a few hiccups during the busiest scenes. Whatever the lapse, it’s brief and Muppets Take Manhattan recovers. With the available resolution, detail can thrive. Fozzie’s fur and Animal’s loose hair all define down to individual strands. Thick grain stays consistent throughout, and again, challenges the encode to keep pace.

Muppets Take Manhattan doesn’t miss an opportunity to show intense brightness. Lights shine and shimmer, whether on stage or elsewhere. Peak nits are remarkable and aggressive for a catalog title. New York at night has rarely looked better on film than it does here. Add in the perfect, pinpoint black levels and Muppets Take Manhattan doesn’t miss.

Audio

The songs drive this remastered Atmos track, spreading the soundstage wide and with a splash of low-end. It’s enough to create space, splitting the stereos and rears widely. Overheads seamlessly integrate.

When in the city, ambiance jumps in, surrounding the characters. Generally, the track remains centered.

Extras

On the UHD, Sony includes director Frank Oz’s commentary and a trailer. The Blu-ray then plays host to a Jim Henson interview and clips from a few Muppet characters.

The Muppets Take Manhattan
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

Embracing the wackiness and infinite pun-based humor, Muppets Take Manhattan is an impossible to movie to hate.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 39 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


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