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Muppets from Space(1999)
When adopted Gonzo and his rat pal Rizzo embark on a quest to find Gonzo's 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, "UFO Mania," that he plans to find his family and prove once and for all that life on other planets exists, he becomes the target of paranoid goverment operative K. Edgar Singer. After a daring escape from the Singer compound, Gonzo tracks down his mother's ship and faces the most difficult question of his life: does he climb aboard and join the family he has always wanted or does he stay on Earth with the family and friends that he has always known and loved?
For more about Muppets from Space and the Muppets from Space Blu-ray release, see Muppets from Space Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 18, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Brian Henson, Frank Oz, Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Whitmire
Director: Tim Hill
» See full cast & crew
Muppets from Space Blu-ray Review
Should you beam this fun little adventure up into your Blu-ray collection?
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, August 18, 2011
I'm sick and tired of being a one-of-a-kind freak.
When the chips are down and the youngsters need a good laugh, there's not much of a safer bet than the Muppets. The charming throwback simplicity and human-controlled real, tangible puppets never fail to please, for there's an innate soul to them -- transferred from the human hand and voice to the doll's innards and words -- that magically gives them a life not yet achieved by wholly-digital characters. Even when the adventures take them to the big city or the brink of another civilization that exists somewhere far beyond this one (hey, isn't that New York City, too? OK, ok, it's a joke!), the characters retain that unmistakably classic sense of pure, wholesome, old-fashioned entertainment that just refuses to go out of style. Muppets from Space, the first major Muppets motion picture to follow the death of series creator Jim Henson nearly a decade prior, manages to once again capture that same Muppet magic thanks to its strict adherence to basic Muppet principles -- honest laughter and a plot that's built on life-critical lessons aimed at younger audiences -- while subtly shifting focus from characters voiced by Henson (notably Kermit the Frog) and building the plot instead around longtime fan-favorite character Gonzo.
All of the Muppets are living under the same roof -- and sharing the same bathroom. Kermit's on vacation, Miss Piggy is starting a new "career" in television, but Gonzo is more troubled than ever. He desperately wants to discover who he is and where he comes from. He's unique, has no family of which to speak, and though Kermit kindly calls him a "distinct" individual, he wants to know and be more. Suddenly, his alphabet breakfast cereal rearranges itself with a message for him: watch the sky. Suddenly, Gonzo becomes obsessed with communicating with whoever -- whatever, and from wherever -- sent him the sign. He carves a message into the back yard with a lawn tractor, which catches the attention of an eye-in-the-sky spy satellite from a secret government agency known as C.O.V.N.E.T. which has also been seeing signs of extraterrestrial life attempting to communicate with Earth. The clandestine operation manages to kidnap Gonzo, and it's up to his Muppet pals to set him free and, just maybe, get him back on the right track to finding out just who he is, where he comes from, and remind him of the loving family he already has.
Muppets from Space isn't nearly as witty, smart, and memorable as Muppets Take Manhattan, but it's not a black sheep sort of movie within the Muppets canon, either. It's an infinitely cute and charming little movie in its own right, a relaxed and highly entertaining romp through the world of Science Fiction meets classic puppetry, a combination sure to raise a few eyebrows Spock-style but that nevertheless works like a charm, spins like a top, and cruises at warp speed without a hitch. The film is certainly a little more thematically relevant than Manhattan; deeper character development and a bit more raw emotion go a long way in making this a fine Children's film, particularly considering that it doesn't have to sacrifice too much in terms of situational comedy and memorable character moments along the way. The picture's basic theme -- finding oneself -- carries dual meaning, and it's a critical lesson for younger audiences to take away from the film. Gonzo seeks out his own kind, but in looking in the external, he comes to better know and understand who he is on the inside, too, and by extension better appreciate the family he already has: his lifelong Muppet friends. The picture's earthbound story carries a universal message, and it's delivered with the wit and charm audiences have come to expect from their favorite Muppet characters.
Perhaps a bit more superficially evident in the film is its surprisingly impressive human actor roster. Sure most of them play secondary and tertiary roles, and almost all of them ham it up and have a lot of fun playing the movie well over the top while still perfectly fitting into the picture's general flow. Jeffrey Tambor is featured prominently in the movie, Andie MacDowell perhaps a hair less so, and the "cameo" roster consists of a veritable who's-who of Hollywood stardom: F. Murray Abraham, Hulk Hogan, Ray Liotta, Pat Hingle, Rob Schneider, and David Arquette all briefly appear in several of the picture's more memorable scenes. Even better, the film is awash in quality visuals and great music; whether scenes in the farthest reaches of space or way back in Biblical times or music that's rock-out fun or softly smooth, the supporting structure only enhances the sense of adventure and, more importantly, Gonzo's character arc and the themes and emotions that come with it. While not a tearjerker or even a movie that's going to earn much more than a few sniffles, the film still engenders a sense of emotional satisfaction for journeying with the Muppets once again in what might not be an adventure quite as large-in-scope as their New York trip -- most of them don't go very far, and even fewer actually end up in space as the title suggests -- but it's nearly as satisfying on every level.
Muppets from Space Blu-ray, Video Quality
Muppets from Space features a fantastic 1080p, 1.85:1-framed transfer. Sony's once again done wonders with a catalogue title, providing a near perfect film-like image. The picture's natural grain structure is left beautifully intact, supporting strong clarity and excellent detailing. Indeed, fine detail is stellar; the textures of the Muppet characters are as intricate as they should be, while supportive detail -- whether around the well-worn house the Muppets call home; the colder, more sterile C.O.V.N.E.T. headquarters location; or even the sugary texture of breakfast cereal pieces -- is just as strong. The color palette is perhaps a touch warm, but the many vibrant shades that dominate the movie are strongly realized, particularly evident by the colorful array of Muppet characters that appear in the film. Blacks are a bit spotty -- a touch dim here, a hair too dark there -- but flesh tones are well balanced. The image appears to be free of excess noise reduction, edge enhancement, and the like. Noise can be somewhat heavy but banding and blocking are non-factors. This is just another tip-top transfer from Sony.
Muppets from Space Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Muppets from Space features a high quality DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack that's as much fun as the movie it supports. This is a big, energized, full-throttle, completely engaging cinema-quality soundtrack that completely immerses the listener into the film. The surround channels are extensively but naturally used; whether the sensation of traveling through a star field at film's open or just in support of the music, the back channels play with a purpose and balance that helps bring the track to vivid life. Clarity is phenomenal and music is ultra-crisp from beginning to end, whether popular tunes or instrumental score. Action sound effects bounce all over the soundstage, yielding superb directional and discrete elements alike. Dialogue is front-and-center; it plays at the appropriately natural volume and is never forced to contend with surrounding elements. This is a fine listen; engaging, extensive, and entertaining, it'll put a smile on every listener's face.
Muppets from Space Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Muppets from Space unfortunately features a rather lackluster collection of extras, the best of them being a rather extensive collection of short outtakes.
Muppets from Space Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Muppets from Space is a solid all-around film. It might not be the best Muppet movie, and it's certainly not the first amongst them to immediately come to mind when thinking of the entire "series" of films, but it's fine kinda-sorta under-the-radar entertainment that has enough cuddly characters, action, and laughs to satisfy its target audience's base needs. All of that is supported by parent-approved themes that are obvious but nevertheless nicely integrated into the larger whole. The picture, like all of the Muppet movies, is supported by an invisible soul that's just not there in even the best as-of-2011 animated pictures; there's something about the tangible, real-world characters portrayed on-the-spot by real people that digital just hasn't been able to duplicate. Sony's Blu-ray release of Muppets from Space is severely lacking in bonus materials, but the picture and sound quality are out of this world for a midlevel catalogue release that's more than a decade old. Pick this one up with Muppets Take Manhattan; both are worthy Blu-ray releases. Recommended!
Muppets from Space Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: August 16-22 - August 16, 2011
While The Big Lebowski will always been remembered for the hilarious misadventures of one of the greatest slackers of all time – The Dude – it should also be recognized for its detailed character development that only the Coen Brothers seem to have been able to ...
• Muppets From Space & The Muppets Take Manhattan Blu-rays (Updated) - June 6, 2011
In anticipation of The Muppets' theatrical release this November, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release Muppets From Space & The Muppets Take Manhattan on Blu-ray. These highly anticipated Blu-ray/DVD combo packs will street on August 16th, 2011.
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