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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Great Muppet Caper
Great Muppet Caper
Columbia/Tri-Star
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted July 17, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

In theaters today, moviegoers are astounded by such technological leaps as the photorealistic characters of "Final Fantasy" or the smooth, detailed animation of "Shrek". It's a definite difference from 1979's "Muppet Movie", which impressed audiences with a scene where Kermit the Frog almost seamlessly rides a bike.

Although many remain fans of the "Muppet" series, I've always viewed the sequels as offering diminishing returns in comparison to the very funny original. "Muppets Take Manhattan", the third in the series, actually had them graduating from college, but couldn't find that much in the way of humor from having the Muppets put on a play. "The Great Muppet Caper" was number two and it occasionally mines laughs from having the creatures cross the ocean and invade London. This film has Kermit the Frog (voiced by Jim Henson) and Fozzie Bear (Frank Oz) playing reporters who attempt to redeem a previous failure by heading to the UK to get the scoop on the details of a big jewel heist.

Their mission is to interview the victim of the theft, Lady Holiday (Diana Rigg), but of course, Mrs. Piggy finds her way into the proceedings and into Kermit's heart once again. The usual crew of Muppet characters returns, as well as the addition of some celeb cameos such as John Cleese, which are well integrated into the movie.

"Caper" is somewhat thin on plot, but it's still entertaining and well-written. After watching several of the "Muppet" movies after a great number of years has passed isn't exactly optimal - as an adult, the movies haven't aged terribly well, but the DVD format can still certainly introduce the Muppet cast to a new generation.


The DVD

VIDEO: "The Great Muppet Caper" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen from Columbia/Tristar. Reviewing a couple of the other Tristar Muppet releases, I've felt rather mixed about the quality - the films have shown their age and although "Great Muppet Caper" did not fare quite as well as the older "Muppets Take Manhattan", it still offered a decent viewing experience. Sharpness and detail is generally pleasant as the picture looks basically well-defined and crisp, if only occasionally a tad bit soft.

Grain is again the biggest problem on this release. The opening scene is rather heavy with it, but the grain re-appears on a less frequent basis than "The Muppet Movie", as do print flaws. The other two films ("Muppets Take Manhattan" and "The Muppet Movie") showed a noticable amount of speckles, marks, the occasional scratch and other slight faults. While "Caper" doesn't quite look as clean as "Manhattan", it stays fairly close behind. The picture does show some light marks, speckles and a scratch or two, but these flaws don't appear very frequently. Although still certainly in not optimal condition overall, the faults didn't add up to enough to ruin the viewing experience.

Colors appeared moderately pleasant as the colors of the Muppets themselves stood out quite nicely, looking vibrant and bold. Colors of their surroundings occasionally seemed to fare less well and look slightly faded in comparison.

SOUND: "Great Muppet Caper" is, like the "Muppet Movie", presented in remastered Dolby Digital 5.1. Although Paramount Pictures has nicely re-done many of their older titles for 5.1, Tristar's effort here doesn't seem like it was that necessary as the 2.0 presentation seemed fine. The 5.1 presentation was not particularly active and when the surrounds did fire up, the way that some of the sounds were placed were slightly "artificial" sounding, as if the sounds from the fronts (such as the music) were duplicated in the rears. Although this became slightly irritating at times, it was a decent try at making something more interesting and active out of this soundtrack.

Audio quality seemed fair-to-middling. The musical score sounded rather flimsy and thin at times, as did the dialogue. Although dialogue could be clearer at some points than others, there were times when it came across as slightly muffled. There's really little-to-nothing in the way of bass and overall, this delivers simply a decently immersive presentation with passable quality.

MENUS:: The menus are about as basic as it gets, simply re-using the front cover.

EXTRAS: Trailers for Muppets From Space, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Buddy, and The Adventures of Elmo In Grouchland. "Muppetisms" short featurettes (less than 1 min).

Final Thoughts: Although it doesn't offer remarkable audio/video quality or extras, "Great Muppet Caper" is still an amusing ride and with its low retail price, it should go over well with children.

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