The Great Muppet Caper Blu-ray features mediocre video and solid audio in this mediocre Blu-ray release
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 The Great Muppet Caper and the The Great Muppet Caper Blu-ray release, see the The Great Muppet Caper Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on December 23, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
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.
"I sure could use something from one or more of the basic food groups."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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