|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)
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Pan & Scan||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
||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||
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or
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.
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.
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.
A good video transfer.
A very good audio transfer.
A boring extras package.
© Ian Morris (have a
laugh, check out the bio)
2nd June 2000
|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|