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The Muppets: The Wocka Wocka Value Pack (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 11, 2012 by  



“The Muppets” is a fantastic family film that will make you laugh, make you sing and will captivate you from beginning to end.   A film that will entertain both the younger generation and the older generation who grew up with the Muppets, “The Muppets: The Wocka Wocka Value Pack” is a wonderful Blu-ray release that is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Muppets: The Wocka Wocka Value Pack

FILM RELEASE: 2011

DURATION: 103 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio), English and French 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home entertainment

RATED: PG (For Some Mild Rude Humor)

Release Date: March 20, 2012

Directed by James Bobin

Written by Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller

Produced by David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman

Executive Producer: Martin G. Baker, John G. Scotti, Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller

Associate Producer: Bill Barretta

Music by Christophe Beck

Cinematography by Don Burgess

Edited by James M. Thomas

Casting by Marcia Ross

Production Design by Steve Saklad

Art Direction by Andrew Max Cahn

Set Decoration by Trace A. Doyle

Costume Design by Rahel Afiley

Starring:

Jason Segel as gary

Amy Adams as Mary

Chris Cooper as Tex Richman

Rashida Jones as Veronica Martin

Steve Whitmire as the voice of Kermit, Beaker, Statler, Rizzo, Link Hogthrob, The Newsman

Eric Jacobson as the voice of Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Sam Eagle, Marvin Suggs

Dave Goelz as Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Beauregard, Waldorf

Bill Barretta as Swedish Chef, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, Pepe the Prawn, Bobo, Muppet Gary

David Rudman as Scooter, Janice, Miss Poogy, Wayne

Matt Vogel as Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Camilla, Sweetums, 80’s Robot, Lew Zealand, Uncle Deadly, Roowlf, Crazy Harry

Peter Linz as Walter

Alan Arkin as Tour Guide

Bill Cobbs as Grandfather

Zach Galifianakis as Hobo Joe

Ken Jeong as “Punch Teacher” host

Jim Parson as Human Walter

Eddie Pepitone as Postman

Kristen Schaal as Moderator

Sarah Silverman as Greeter

Emily Blunt as Miss Piggy’s Receptionist

James Carville as himself

Whoopi Goldberg as herself

Jack Black as Himself

Leslie Feist as Smalltown Resident

Selena Gomez as Herself

David Grohl as Animool

Neil Patrick Harris as Himself

Judd Hirsch as Himself

John Krasinki as Himself

Rico Rodriguez as Himself

Mickey Rooney as Smalltown Resident

Tyler Bunch as the voice of Foozie Bear, Thog

On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary’s girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams), from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze Muppet Studios and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds. To stage a telethon and raise the $10 million needed to save the studio, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate.

It all began back in 1954.

A high school student named Jim Henson was working at WTOP-TV and creating puppets for a children’s show known as “The Junior Morning Show”.   Henson would continue making puppets as a Freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park as the teenager would go on to create the financially successful show “Sam and Friends” for WRC-TV.  The five minute show would feature a prototype of a character known as “Kermit the Frog”.

This would lead to Henson working on a public television children’s shown known as “Sesame Street” in the late ’60s where Kermit the Frog would appear as a news reporter.

This would lead to Jim Henson creating a British/American television show known as “The Muppets” which premiered in 1976 and a total of five series were produced until March 1981 and lasting 120 episodes.  The show known for its parodies and slapstick would feature many celebrity guests and through the series, Jim Henson and Frank Oz would create additional characters to join Kermit the Frog such as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Scooter, Gonzo, the Swedish Chef, Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, the band Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, Camilla the Chicken, Sam the Eagle, Statler and Waldorf, Link Hogthrob, Rizzo the Rat and many more.

Although the television series ended, “The Muppets” would continue in the big screen with “The Muppet Movie” (1979), “The Great Muppet Caper” (1981), “The Muppets Take Manhattan” (1984), “The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992), “Muppet Treasure Island” (1996) and “Muppets from Space” (1999).

While a musical telefilm was created in 2005 titled “The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz”, the masses have not seen “The Muppets” for a long time and the last film was back in 1999.  Many have felt the characters have run its course and it was over, while others felt that without Jim Henson (who passed away in 1990), it would be difficult to continue “The Muppets” legacy.

In 2008, actor Jason Segel (“How I Met Your Mother”, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) and writer/filmmaker Nicholas Stoller (“Fun with Dick and Jane”, “Get Him to the Greek”, “Yes Man”) wanted to bring back the Muppets and so the two pitched the concept to Walt Disney and next thing you know, the film would be greenlighted and filmmaker James Bobin (“The Flight of the Conchords”, “Da Ali G Show”) would directed, while Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller would be responsible for writing (Segel would also star in the film).

Cast alongside Jason Segel would be Amy Adams (“The Fighter”, “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”, “Julie & Julia”, “Enchanted”) and Chris Cooper (“American Beauty”, “The Bourne Identity”, “Adaptation”) as the antagonist.  The film would also feature talents such as Jack Black, Rashida Jones, Alan Arkin, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Jim PArsons, Kristen Schaal, Eddie Pepitone, Sarah Silverman, Donald Glover, Emily Blunt, Leslie Feist, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Neil Patric Harris, Judd Hirsch, Kohn Krasinski, Mickey Rooney and more.

The film would receive positive reviews from film critics and would be a success at the box office making over $158 million.  And now, “The Muppets” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in March 2012.

“The Muppets” is set in a smalltown where two brothers, a muppet named Walter and his human brother Gary (played by Jason Segel) grew up.  For Gary, because of his size, he was always captivated by “The Muppet Show” in his youth and not only was he a big fan, he was inspired by them.

But as time went on and the show had ended, Walter continued to watch the show and collect the merchandise.  But where his big brother Gary would grow and go on to own his own business, Walter didn’t grow as tall and he would often be ridiculed by others for his love for “The Muppets”.

But no matter what, his big brother Gary was always there for him and even watch the series on old VHS tapes.

Meanwhile, Gary and his girlfriend Mary (played by Amy Adams) have decided to celebrate their tenth year anniversary in Los Angeles and Walter feels his big brother is so lucky because that is where “The Muppet Show” was made.  But Gary surprises his brother with an extra ticket, so they can visit the old Muppets theater.

And while the trip will be fun, for Mary, she was hoping the vacation would be just she and Gary (as he tends to bring Walter everywhere they go), but Gary tells her that it’s only for a short time in order for his brother Walter to see where “The Muppet Show” was made.

And so the three are off to Los Angeles and when they arrive at the old Muppet theater, it’s old and has not been maintained.  No one is still around and this is a big surprise for Walter.

As Walter goes inside the studio, he hides and overhears a conversation and meeting between oil tycoon Tex Richman and muppets Statler and Waldorf who are planning to sell the theater to him.  Tex tells him that his goal is to create a “Muppets” Museum.  Waldorf explains that if the Muppets can raise $10 million by the end of the week, they can repurchase the theater.

When Statler and Waldorf leave, Tex Richman tells his henchman, Bobo the Bear and Uncle Deadly that his motivation for owning the property is that the theater is on top of an oil field and he plans to destroy the theater.

No way “The Muppets” theater should be destroyed and now Walter along with Gary and Mary find Kermit the Frog and tell him the bad news.  Kermit tells Walter that he has not seen any of the Muppets in many years and has not stayed in touch with them.  But seeing how “The Muppets” show has inspired Walter, Kermit the Frog tells them that he will reunite the Muppets if Walter, Gary and Mary help him.  The three agree and off to find the Muppets they go.

The group travel all over the world in order to reunite everyone and find out that the only way they can raise $10 million is if they have a special show on television.  But can they make it happen? Especially when Tex Richman and his henchman will do whatever it takes to stop the Muppets from raising the money.  Meanwhile, as everyone is dedicated into helping the Muppets, what about Gary and Mary’s relationship.  Especially when the vacation was supposed to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

VIDEO:

“The Muppets” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1).  The film looks absolutely fantastic on Blu-ray.  You can literally see the detail in the fur of the Muppets, to the skin pores of the human talent.  The clarity, the detail and the beautiful colors featured throughout the film are vibrant and because the film utilizes a lot of color, reds and greens really do pop.  Skintones are natural and black levels are nice and deep.

I didn’t see any banding or artifacts, if anything, videophiles should be happy with the overall picture quality is flawless!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

I absolutely love how Disney is focusing on 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless soundtracks.  As expected from this film that utilizes so much music, dialogue and music is crystal clear coming through the center and front channels.  There is good use of surround channels as well from the audience of the live show to the music being utilized.

The soundtrack is absolutely immersive, especially panning from varying sides coming from the surround channels (especially during the fireworks scene). Also, the LFE is used during scenes of accidents and there is also a good amount of ambiance that utilizes the surround channels as well.  I was pretty impressed as even when the scenes are shown backstage, you can then hear the audience still in the background from the rear or surround channels, you can hear the flickering of the lights to even when one gets on the stage.

Like the video, audiophiles will enjoy this lossless soundtrack because it is equally flawless and no hissing or any audio problems were detected at all.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“The Three Musketeers” comes with the following special features:

  • Disney Intermission – Groundbreaking Blu-ray feature. Pausing a movie will never be this much fun, as the Muppets take over the screen every time you stop the disc!  Whenever you pause, you get an intermission with music, audio from the Muppets, or the Muppets themselves showing up on screen or even a theater like look at the special features.
  • Scratching The Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney’s “The Muppets.” – (15:56) Hosted by unit production manager monster J.G., the cast and crew take a behind the scenes look at making Muppet and movie history.
  • The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think) – (8:33) Featuring funny gaffs and gags from behind the scenes of making Disney’s “The Muppets.”
  • A Little Screen Test on the way to the Read Through. – (3:19) This hilarious footage follows the Muppet gang as they go to their first table reading of the script.
  • Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song -(2:38) This is the longer rap sequence featuring Tex Richman which goes into details of why he dislikes the Muppets.
  • Deleted Scenes – (10:01) Featuring eight deleted scenes: “Walter’s Nightmare,” “Life’s A Happy Song Missing Verse,” “A Hero in Hollywood,” “Credit Card Club,” “Muppets in Jail,” “Bowling for Beaker,” “The Strip Mall Awards” and “The Complete Muppet Telethon Opening & More”.
  • Theatrical Spoof Trailers – (9:00) Featuring seven spoof trailers: “Rise of the Muppets,” “Never” “Green with Envy,” “The Fuzzy Pack,” “Being Green,” “The Piggy with the Froggy Tattoo” and “Green with Envy, the Spoof Spoof Trailer.”
  • Audio Commentary with Jason Segel, James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller – A not-so-serious audio commentary by Jason Segel (executive producer/co-writer/actor , executive producer/co-writer Nicholas Stoller and director James Bobin.  The three discuss the movie but also joke around a lot during the commentary as well.  It would have been great to feature another commentary track with the puppeteers and crew, to give a more in-depth commentary on the making of the film.

EXTRAS:

“The Muppets: The Wocka Wocka Value Pack” comes with a Blu-ray, DVD version of the film, Digital Copy and a code to download the film’s soundtrack online.  The soundtrack includes the following tracks (duration: 39:57):

The Muppet Show Theme    1 of 30    0:51    The Muppets & Joanna Newsom
“Muppet Studios, I Can’t Believe It”    2 of 30    0:04    Walter
Life’s A Happy Song    3 of 30    4:30    Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Walter, Feist & Mickey Rooney
“I Haven’t Seen The Old Gang”    4 of 30    0:20    Kermit & Jason Segel
Pictures In My Head    5 of 30    2:36    Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, Swedish Chef & Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem
“We Drive”    6 of 30    0:11    Kermit & Walter
Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard    7 of 30    2:42    Paul Simon
“That Spells Reno”    8 of 30    0:18    80’s Robot & Amy Adams
Rainbow Connection (Moopets Version)    9 of 30    1:03    The Moopets
“Welcome Back”    10 of 30    0:20    Kermit, Fozzie, Walter & Dr. Teeth
We Built This City    11 of 30    4:54    Starship
“Party Of One”    12 of 30    0:09    Sarah Silverman & Amy Adams
Me Party    13 of 30    1:53    Miss Piggy & Amy Adams
“We Humbly Ask”    14 of 30    0:09    Kermit & Chris Cooper
Let’s Talk About Me    15 of 30    2:33    Chris Cooper & Nathan Pacheco
“The Answer Is No”    16 of 30    0:07    Chris Cooper & Kermit
“Are You A Man Or A Muppet?”    17 of 30    0:08    Amy Adams
Man Or Muppet    18 of 30    2:58    Jason Segel & Walter
“Down At The Ole Barbershop”    19 of 30    0:07    Kermit
Smells Like Teen Spirit    20 of 30    2:24    The Muppet Barbershop Quartet
“Princesses Of Poultry”    21 of 30    0:06    Kermit
Forget You    22 of 30    2:29    Camilla and the Chickens
“It’s Time For Our Song”    23 of 30    0:04    Kermit & Miss Piggy
Rainbow Connection    24 of 30    3:09    The Muppets
“Get Out There And Help Those Guys”    25 of 30    0:06    Jason Segel
The Whistling Caruso    26 of 30    1:16    Andrew Bird
“How Charming, A Finale”    27 of 30    0:06    Uncle Deadly
Life’s A Happy Song Finale    28 of 30    2:23    Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper & The Muppets
Mary, Marry Me”    29 of 30    0:09    Jason Segel & Amy Adams
Mah Na Mah Na    30 of 30    2:05    Mahna Mahna and The Two Snowths

I was among the many kids who grew up watching “The Muppets”.  In fact, back in junior high and my earlier years of high school, watching the show every Monday through Friday was like an addictive ritual before heading off to school.

But like many children who grew up with “The Muppets”, I got older and “The Muppets” became nothing more but a memory of my childhood and early teenage years.

So, when I first heard of “The Muppets” making a return to the big screen and that Jason Segel and Nick Stoller were involved in rejuvenating the franchise, I have to admit that I was a bit of a skeptic.

In today’s society, Saturday and Sunday morning children shows are a rarity, even during the afternoons, you can’t find anything.  Today’s children to young adult series have been replaced by real characters and if there was any form of puppetry, it has long since disappeared from television and video games and the Internet have now become sources for children’s entertainment.

“The Muppets” have become nothing more but a memory for those of us who were able to watch the series while younger.  So, I had no idea what I would think about the film.  Especially having seen a variety of shows that I grew up with such as “The Transformers”, “G.I. Joe”, “The Smurfs” all receiving movie adaptations, “The Muppets”…how can they attract today’s audience?

So, I watched this film with my nine-year-old son.  His familiarity with Kermit the Frog would probably be from our Christmas ritual of watching “Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas” (and due to licensing, Kermit the Frog has since been removed from later DVD releases) but together we watched and I was touched by the storyline of Walter.

The character represents the child inside many of us who grew up and was captivated by these characters, but unlike Walter, I stopped watching the series and for the last 20-years, I forgot about them.

So, I was touched by seeing the character of Walter wanting to reunite the Muppets but also captivated once again by the camaraderie and the music.  From the opening song of “The Muppet Theme” and even hearing “Rainbow Connection”, I had nothing but a smile on my face because it was like returning to the days of my youth.  I admit, I probably laughed much more than my child because of my familiarity with the characters but we both enjoyed this film immensely and the additional cameos also added to the excitement.

Also, Jason Segel and Amy Adams brought a warmth to this film that was enjoyable, humorous and so much fun!  Sure, the musical segments may seem corny to some, but in the sense of how things relate to “The Muppets” and the quirkiness and craziness of the show, the musical numbers were perfect.  In fact, I have to say that I really enjoyed the music and the overall soundtrack.  For me, having grown up with the film, just to hear “Rainbow Connection” was quite sentimental as I have not heard Kermit the Frog sing that song since I was a child.

Also, another positive that I found with this film is that it’s a childrens film that doesn’t have to utilize the latest in technology.

In this day and age of CG graphics and technology, despite the characters being puppets, each character still retains their personality and watching them today, it still hasn’t grown old to me.  I’ve read that Pixar helped out in the storyline department, and if that is indeed the case, you do get some of that Pixar-style sentimental scenes included in the film.  From brotherly relationships, dysfunctional relationships and of course, those who may have wondered what happened between Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy is featured in this film.

And while Jim Henson is no longer with us, nor is Frank Oz involved in voicing the characters any longer,  it does help that the voices today don’t sound too different from the original voices.  Eric Jacobson, David Goelz, Bill Barretta, David Rudman and Matt Vogel do a wonderful job with the voice acting for this film.

But everything came together for this film, a script that touches upon nostalgia but also an appealing, captivating story for the young and old and a wonderful film that will entertain the multiple generations who experienced “The Muppets” on television and film.

As for this Blu-ray release of “The Muppets: The Wocka Wocka Value Pack”, you get a Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy plus a downloadable soundtrack.  But for Blu-ray enthusiasts, this film looks absolutely fantastic in HD, and the immersive lossless audio soundtrack is equally impressive.  This is a magnificent Blu-ray release if you are fans of “The Muppets”.

Overall, “The  Muppets” is a film that I enjoyed a lot.  For so long my friends have told me to watch it, but part of me rolled my eyes and felt, it was a part of my life a long time ago and I don’t know if I can get into talking puppets ever again.  I was wrong.

I watched this film with my son and we both enjoyed it a lot.  For him, it was because of its crazy characters, the crazy antics and storyline.  For me, deep inside…I was happy because I can easily remember those times of watching “The Muppets” everyday and it was one thing for me to enjoy this as a child, but now to enjoy it as a father with my children and knowing friends who are also sharing it with their children or grandchildren makes me happy, because it’s one thing from our past that a newer generation of fans can enjoy.

“The Muppets” was definitely a crazy, entertaining and fun film.  The musical elements, the characters and the overall storyline worked perfectly.  Was there anything I didn’t like?  Not really, but aside from the quacking chickens to the music of Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You”, I felt the film was entertaining and fun!  Granted, It all depends on one’s appreciation for “The Muppets”, otherwise if you never liked them to begin with, not sure if that’s going to change your opinion today.

While I don’t know what will happen to “The Muppets” from here on in, I will say that the James Bobin, Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller got this film right.  Looking back at the past Muppets films, a lot of them were kitsch and really going downhill.  Because the familiarity of the Muppets are primarily with its older viewers, Segel and Stoller realize that, as they are fans themselves and wanted a film that can appeal to both young and old, like Pixar films.  And they succeeded.

So for those who are wondering about this film, what I can tell you is that “The Muppets” is a fantastic family film that the younger generation and the older fans can really appreciate. And with this awesome Blu-ray release with wonderful PQ, AQ which is bundled with plenty of enjoyable special features (plus the Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy) plus an entertaining soundtrack, makes the “The Muppets: The Wocka Wocka Value Pack” release worth owning.

“The Muppets: The Wocka Wocka Value Pack” is highly recommended!






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