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Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper(1981-1996)
Kermit, Gonzo and Fozzie are reporters who travel to Britain to interview a rich victim of jewel thieves and help her along with her secretary, Miss Piggy.
For more about Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper and the Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper Blu-ray release, see Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on December 24, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Steve Whitmire, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Tim Curry, Jim Henson
Directors: Brian Henson, Jim Henson
This Blu-ray release includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:
Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper Blu-ray Review
"Beware lads! Beware!"
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, December 24, 2013
The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island may seem like strange bedfellows, but they're both leading members of the Muppet feature film B-reel; not as clever, breezy or funny as the best Muppet movies, and not as stale, flat or tedious as the Muppets on their worst days. The former, released in 1981, marks the only Muppet feature to be directed by Jim Henson, which makes it a special case no matter the end result. The latter, released in 1996, six year after his death, was helmed by his son, Brian Henson, who took up the reigns of the beloved Jim Henson Company enterprise. Neither film lives up to its predecessor, though -- in the case of Caper, The Muppet Movie (1979), and with Island, The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) -- and neither one has found much of an audience outside of the most dearly devoted Muppet fans. Still, The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island are by no means unworthy entries in the series canon, and still hold plenty of joy, laughs and fun for those willing to shrug off each film's flaws and follow Kermit and the gang on whatever adventure... or misadventure they stumble across.
The Great Muppet Caper: Jim Henson, never one to repeat himself or past efforts, goes against the grain a bit with The Great Muppet Caper, putting together a more traditional movie -- with the Muppets as actors playing various roles (albeit retaining their names) -- rather than delivering a second autobiographical Muppet outing a la The Muppet Movie. The subsequent film is riddled with ups and downs, though, and sometimes feels more haphazard than it should. It actually works better as a string of loosely connected sketches building toward a comical heist than a fleshed out feature, and the Muppets are forced to double time the humor to pick up the structural slack. Still, it's hard not to crack up, bust out laughing and grin ear to ear at some point along the way, and Caper at least boasts an infectious enthusiasm harkening back to the television show that started it all. Had Henson managed to infuse a deeper undercurrent of spontaneity into the proceedings, Caper might be routinely listed alongside The Muppet Movie or other classics. Instead, it bolts ahead then limps, bolts ahead then limps, all the way to the credits. Perhaps Muppets Most Wanted will finally realize Henson's lofty Muppet Caper dreams. Until then, there's more than enough here to warrant the attention of an hour and a half of your life.
Muppet Treasure Island: With Dickens' "Christmas Carol" behind him, Henson the Younger decided to tackle another literary classic, this time Robert Louis Stevenson's 19th century children's novel, "Treasure Island". More tweaks and alterations are made to the source in Muppet Treasure Island than in The Muppet Christmas Carol, but Henson and screenwriters Jerry Juhl, Kirk Thatcher and James Hart's adaptation remains a relatively, often surprisingly faithful adaptation; one that at least offers a great deal of amusement and pirate-y frivolity in the liberties it takes. (Although the tug of war between the straight and broad bits makes for an uneven tone.) The Muppet players are fantastic as usual, barring a rather grating, never-ending subplot involving Piggy, while the humans are more hit or miss. Tim Curry is terrific as pirate-captain-in-hiding, Long John Silver -- devilishly charming, cutthroat and conniving -- and Billy Connolly earns his brief keep as salty seadog Billy Bones. Alas, Kevin Bishop is a bit of a wash as leading boy Jim Hawkins (even though his scenes with Curry are much stronger), Jennifer Saunders is a nightmare as a weirdly cartoonish Mrs. Bluebridge, and most of the pirate extras should have been replaced by an all-Muppet crew. There are other missteps -- mostly surrounding the meandering plotting and overextended gags used to fill out the runtime -- but it's never an out and out loss. All told, as spot on as much of the film is, some tightening, not to mention a rewrite or two, would have gone a long way toward making Muppet Treasure Island more memorable.
Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Great Muppet Caper: Two words: rough stuff. Though purportedly restored, The Great Muppet Caper's 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer doesn't look so hot, and doesn't come close to touching Disney's Muppet Movie presentation, which debuted earlier this year. Grain is intact, no argument there, but it's quite unnatural, with chunky, soupy stretches that are neither refined nor very filmic. Add to that some smearing (not to be confused with softness, of which there are numerous instances as well as a prevailing quality), slight ringing, minor artifacting, intermittent crush and an at-times alarming lack of detail and you have an image that shares too much in common with its DVD counterpart. Thankfully, colors have been bolstered, black levels are nice and deep, contrast is more vibrant, the encode is more proficient and a few shots fare reasonably well, without much to complain about or criticize. Be that as it may, the bad sadly outweighs the good, making Caper's presentation a rather resounding disappointment.
Muppet Treasure Island: Muppet Treasure Island offers a more attractive and appealing 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation than its disc-mate, but still has a few issues of its own. Specifically a slew of sequences in which color and contrast are dull and undersaturated. Part of the blame lies with John Fenner's photography and the film's original look, unwieldy as it can be, but there's no reason a few adjustments couldn't have been used to lend the palette more consistency. Fortunately, detail is commendable and textures are decently resolved on the whole, with only a handful of shots and scenes that are worse for the wear (most of which pop up near the beginning of the film). Skintones are generally pleasing (despite the dominance of muddier hues early on), primaries pop and blacks are satisfying. There's also little to no macroblocking, banding and other anomalies, bringing Muppet Treasure Island more in line with the still-superior Muppet Christmas Carol transfer.
Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Great Muppet Caper: Caper may have been shot fifteen years earlier, but it serves up the more desirable lossless mix of Disney's twofer with a decidedly decent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. (Muppet Treasure Island forfeits LFE support with a DTS-HD MA 5.0 mix.) The difference in the films' age obviously plays a role in Caper's subsequent sonics, with a somewhat harsher, tinnier soundscape than Island. But dialogue is, more often than not, clean and clear, the rear speakers engage enough to make their presence known, and low-end output is fairly robust for a thirty-three-year old catalog title. There's not a lot to write home about, as you might expect, but the track gets the job done. I wasn't really anticipating much more than that.
Muppet Treasure Island: On the one hand, Muppet Treasure Island sounds fuller, richer and more bombastic than Caper. But all by way of a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 surround track, which dispenses with proper LFE output. The experience still has some weight and heft courtesy of the other channels, but a high seas adventure can use whatever oomph it can get. Otherwise, all is well. Not spectacular, mind you. But all is well. Dialogue is intelligible and carefully prioritized, with only a small sampling of lines falling by the wayside or being drowned in the madcap action; the rear speakers employ light, playful touches, even though directionality leaves something to be desired; and the soundfield is enveloping enough to make the music and songs more involving. Again, I wouldn't call any of it remarkable, but it does what it does without any serious issues.
Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Muppet Treasure Island
The Great Muppet Caper
Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Can you ever get enough of the Muppets? Don't answer that. Let's just go with my answer to that one: no, you can't. Give me a stack of Muppet movies -- the good, the bad and the ugly -- and I'll give you my thanks. The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island aren't the greatest Muppet outings, I'll admit, but they have their charms, be it heist-y or pirate-y. Disney's Blu-ray release is tougher to swallow, though, with problematic video presentations, somewhat underwhelming lossless audio tracks, and shortages in the supplemental department. Ah well. We aren't likely to see a better release of either film anytime in the near future, so this at least should allow fans to replace their DVDs. Does Disney's 2-Movie Collection offer the definitive Caper? The ultimate Island? Probably not. I hope not. But I suppose it'll have to do for now.
Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Great Muppet Caper / Muppet Treasure Island 2-Movie Collectio... - August 10, 2013
Walt Disney Home Entertainment is bringing The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and Muppet Treasure Island (1996) to Blu-ray this holiday season via a 2-Movie BD/DVD Collection. Both Muppets feature films are making their Blu-ray debuts, and arrive on December 10th.
Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper Blu-ray Screenshots
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