Muppets From Space

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 5.1
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 3 - 1.33:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0
Year Released 1999 Commentary Tracks Yes, 1 - Tim Hill (Director), Kermit, Gonzo and Rizzo (Actors)
Running Time 84:43 minutes Other Extras Biographies - Crew
Music Video - Shining Star (The Dust Brothers)
RSDL/Flipper Dual Sided
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Tim Hill
Columbia Pictures
Columbia TriStar
Starring Dave Goelz
Steve Whitmore
Bill Barretta
Frank Oz

Jeffrey Tambor
F. Murray Abraham
David Arquette
Josh Charles
Hollywood Hogan
Ray Liotta
Andie McDowell
Kathy Griffin
Rob Schmeider

Case Brackley
RRP $39.95 Music Jamshied Sharifi

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement
Soundtrack Languages German (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448Kb/s)
Polish (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles German
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or
After Credits

Plot Synopsis

    One of the most eagerly sci-fi adventures of 1999 makes it onto Region 4 DVD! Yes indeed Muppet fans - you can rejoice for Muppets In Space is finally here. By far the most important sci-fi release of 1999, at least Jim Henson Pictures give their fans what they want! Of course, at the same time they can take something of a swipe at that other bloke who continues to treat DVD addicts with complete disdain.

    On something approaching a more serious note however, it is good to see perhaps the greatest characters from children's television of the last forty years finally getting their DVD debut with their latest epic, along with the shortly to be reviewed The Muppets Take Manhattan. Now all we need to do is get Muppet Treasure Island and The Muppets Christmas Carol to make an appearance on DVD and Muppets devotees will really be happy.

    The broad story here, and yes there sort of is one, is the search for the origin of the species. Just exactly what species however is the question. For this is the story of Gonzo, the most unusual of the Muppets, a Muppet without an origin, searching for his roots. Of course, things cannot be simple for poor old Gonzo and the search eventually takes him on a fantastic voyage of discovery - courtesy of a seriously well-placed bolt of lightning - and takes his life on a U-turn to reality (well, at least as much reality as a Muppet can stand). For Gonzo discovers his true origin is in space - and what is more his family are trying to contact him. So the ever-enthusiastic Gonzo sets off to enlighten the world. This leads him from the Muppet home with all his familiar friends to television where his ramblings attract the attention of the mysterious secret government agency COVNET. Eventually Gonzo gets to meet his alien family (who seem to have a great grasp of earth pop music of the early 1990s) after the usual improbable escapades that the Muppets get up to.

    Of course what we really have is the usual 80 minutes of complete Muppet mayhem as only the Muppets can provide as they stagger from one unlikely situation to the next. It may not be the most coherent story on earth (or indeed even off earth) but that has never stopped the Muppets before and damn sure won't stop them again. But really, story is irrelevant as we get to see the Muppets do precisely what it is that we expect the Muppets to do, with some cameos thrown in. There is a fair chance that your favourite Muppet will get a mention here, as most seem to be included in the frivolity somewhere along the line. Added into the equation are some cameos from well known names of Hollywood, including Mr Courtney Cox (er sorry, David Arquette), Andie McDowell, Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Ray Liotta and F. Murray Abraham.

    Shakespeare it is not but a bit of fun it is and as long as you are not expecting too much in the way of depth, there are some genuinely funny moments dotted throughout this effort from The Muppets. Along the way they have a gentle poke at a few well known films, including the likes of Men In Black, Field Of Dreams, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Spies Like Us, Independence Day and Star Trek - all incidentally missing in action in the Region 4 catalogue. They also manage to include cameos from the Dawson's Creek guys too.

    If you were looking for story and character development then you were barking up the wrong tree if you thought Muppets From Space was going to satisfy your needs. But if you want a bit of mindless fun, then you could really do a heck of a lot worse than this little effort.

Transfer Quality


    Columbia TriStar right? So that means what? You got it .... another good transfer.

    The DVD is a dual sided disc, with one side containing a widescreen transfer, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and with 16x9 enhancement, and the other side containing a Pan and Scan version of the film.

    Well, the film is a recent one so we should expect a bright, sharp, detailed transfer - and that is precisely what we have got in general. There were a couple of minor lapses here and there with definition, but nothing to get too upset about at all. This is a very clear transfer. Shadow detail was very good through out. There does not appear to be any low level noise problems with the transfer.

    Hey, it is The Muppets, so naturally we get lots of bright vibrant colours - which are handled with aplomb by this transfer. There was never a hint of oversaturation at all and colour bleed was not an issue either. This was a very nicely handled collection of colours that would have been a real test in the hands of most mastering houses.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There did not appear to be any significant film-to-video artefacts in the transfer, apart from one very noticeable sequence around the 48:00 mark where the aliasing gets rather too noticeable - this is the scene of the rat maze and a little off-putting it is. Otherwise there are a few hints of very minor aliasing that would bother few. There were very few instances of film artefacts in the transfer and this is a nice and clean transfer, as befitting a film of such recent vintage.

    This is a dual sided disc, with the widescreen version of the film on one side and a pan and scan version on the other. Such discs are a comparative rarity in Region 4 and I do question exactly how many people would actually be influenced to buy the disc due to the presence of the pan and scan version of the film on the disc.


    Added to a good video transfer is a very good audio transfer, that obviously has some restraints applied to it in view of the potential target viewing audience.

    There are four audio tracks on the DVD: a German Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The reference to a Polish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on the cover is an error - the soundtrack is definitely not 5.1 but 2.0.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout - or at least as clear and easy to understand as The Muppets are supposed to be.

    There were no audio sync problems with the transfer.

    The music for the film comes from another new name to me in Jamshied Sharifi, and the less said about the music the better. It is, in keeping with the tone of the film it is admitted, terribly clichéd and entirely reminiscent of any number of other films.

    Since we are talking about what is essentially a children's film, the full dynamic range of a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is not used here and it is a comparatively restrained soundtrack. There is plenty of nice surround ambience especially out of the rear channels and the bass channel kicks in with some nice reverb enhancement to the sound where it really is appropriate. It is a bright, open sounding mix and is free of any distortion or congestion. Whilst the sound picture is just a tad on the forced side to my mind, overall there is damn little to complain about here at all.


    Another quite decent package from Columbia TriStar although I have my doubts about the Collector's Edition moniker.


    Nothing too special here, but decently themed and quite bright. It is 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer (2:18)

    A not too inspiring effort that is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced: unusually though it comes with a full blown Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

Teaser Trailer (0:53)

    Another not too inspiring effort presented in an identical manner to the theatrical trailer, except that it only has Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Theatrical Trailer - Stuart Little (1:39)

    Okay, we know it is coming - just tell us when! Again presented in an identical manner to the other trailers, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Promotional Trailer - The Muppets Take Manhattan (0:42)

    This is the promotional trailer for the video, so don't expect too much and ..... presented in an identical manner to the other trailers with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound!

Outtakes (17) (5:39)

    Yes, you read it right - seventeen outtakes for a measly five and one half minutes total. I would suspect that these are predominantly staged efforts rather than genuine outtakes and to be honest most are a complete waste of time - neither funny nor insightful. All are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are not 16x9 enhanced: they come with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Barely worthwhile including in the package in my view.

Music Video - Shining Star (The Dust Brothers) (2:02)

    Pretty short and pretty light on for entertainment value too. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Again, barely worthwhile including in the package in my view.

Biographies - Crew

    Well I suppose there is not an awful lot to say about a debut director and a collection of guys whose sole claims to film fame are pretty much the various Muppet movies!

Audio Commentary - Tim Hill (Director), Kermit, Gonzo and Rizzo (Actors)

    And the best is saved for last, right? Wrong! Apart from the fact of the presentation, this is barely worthwhile worrying with. Like the effort on Ghostbusters (which I have to confess that I have not watched or listened to), this is presented with the silhouettes of the people involved superimposed in the foreground as if they are watching the film. In order to view the presentation, it is necessary to ensure that your television is set to 4:3 Pan and Scan mode (otherwise you will get the commentary without the silhouettes). Cute it may be but really this is the sort of stuff that I for one would never return to again, so therefore is pretty much a waste of time and effort. If Rizzo was taken out of the equation this would have been totally insufferable anyway, and really I can find nothing to redeem this as a worthwhile inclusion.

R4 vs R1

    As far as I can ascertain there is no difference between the Region 1 and Region 4 releases, making Region 4 the region of choice due to the inherent superiority of the PAL system.


    Well I enjoyed Muppets From Space as a bit of a brainless piece of fun, but really the extras package is one of the most mind-numbingly boring efforts that I have had the misfortune to sit through. A Collector's Edition it is not and really given the target audience for this sort of film I don't see the point in having the extras anyway.

    A good video transfer.

    A very good audio transfer.

    A boring extras package.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
2nd June 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL