Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 11/11/99
Muppets From Space
1999 (1999) - Columbia
review by Bill Hunt,
editor of The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A-/B+
Specs and Features
88 mins, G, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, full
frame (1.33:1), dual-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case
packaging, "live" audio/video commentary (with Kermit the
Frog, Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat, and director Tim Hill), Shining
Star music video by The Dust Brothers (featuring Jeymes),
theatrical and teaser trailers (plus 3 preview trailers for The
Dark Crystal, Labyrinth,
and The Storytellers), 19
outtakes, crew bios, film-themed menu screens, scene access (28
chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0), subtitles:
English, Close Captioned
was fun! Way to get down with your bad selves!"
All right... let's just all fess up now. How many of you, like
myself, grew up on Sesame Street
and The Muppet Show? You
remember Snuffleupagus, right? Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem?
The two old guys in the balcony who bitch and moan all show long
(Statler and Waldorf)? To this day, I can still sing practically
every one of the songs from both shows: "One of these things is
not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong..."
or "Why are there so many songs about rainbows...?" I look
back at my childhood, and find that these characters are as familiar
and welcoming as Mr. Rogers' comfy shoes. I mean, let's face it...
Muppets kick ass. So what could be more fun than Muppets on DVD?
Muppets From Space is an
engaging and light-hearted romp with most of our old friends, made
fresh and new. The story here, is that Gonzo's feeling a little down
in the dumps. Kermit's a frog, Fozzie's a bear, but Gonzo's a...
whatever. He's getting a little lonely, and he'd like to figure out
what he is and where he's from (given the title, can you guess?).
Suddenly, he starts receiving mysterious messages from above and
beyond - his extraterrestrial family is on the way. And that doesn't
sit too well with the Government's top secret COVENET, which is
charged with defending the Earth against alien attack. So Gonzo is
kidnapped by COVENET for testing, and it's up to Kermit and friends
to save him in time for the big reunion.
Kids will have a great time with this movie, and the walk down
memory lane factor is more than enough to engage adults. The film's
first big musical number, as the Muppet house wakes up and gets
ready for breakfast, is great fun (set to Brick
House by The Commodores). There are some very funny (and
sly) jokes and references that only the older crowd will get (the
newspaper Kermit reads is The Hensonville
News Observer - a nod to late Muppet creator, Jim
Henson). The Bits' own Frank
Ortiz and I sat down to watch this movie, and we were thoroughly
entertained. And there's a new character that I don't remember from
the series, that consistently had us in stitches: a little
shrimp-like guy named Pepe ("I am not a shrimp... I am king
prawn!!"). Throw in some great cameos by F. Murray Abraham,
Andie MacDowell, Josh Charles and David Arquette (just to name a
few), and you've got a fun film for the whole family.
So how's the DVD? It's excellent, plain and simple. The anamorphic
widescreen video is crisp and clear. Note that full frame video is
also provided (on the disc's flip side) for those who prefer it.
Color saturation and accuracy is excellent, and there is very good
contrast and black level detail. The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
sound is also very good, and is surprisingly active. The dialogue is
centered and natural, and there's good bass. And the film's
soundtrack is a delight, featuring the aforementioned Commodores,
The Dust Brothers, James Brown and more. All in all, this is very
good DVD quality.
And the extras are pretty cool. As with the Ghostbusters
DVD, you get a "live" commentary track, using the subtitle
feature to include full-motion video along with the audio. The
commentary features director Tim Hill, along with Muppets Gonzo, and
Rizzo the Rat (Kermit the Frog also makes an appearance or two).
This is offbeat stuff - definitely not your typical commentary, and
well worth watching and listening to. Also included on this disc,
are the film's theatrical and teaser trailers, as well as trailers
for The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth,
and The Storytellers. And you
get a slew of funny outtakes - 19 in all - where the Muppets blow
lines and the like. Finally, there are crew bios, and a music video
for Shining Star by The Dust
Brothers (featuring Jeymes... whoever that is).
Okay, so this isn't The Muppet Movie
- which, by the way, REALLY ought to be on DVD by now thank you very
much - but it's still good fun for all ages. And Columbia TriStar
has delivered a fun disc, that's definitely worth a spin. Don't miss