The Muppets Take Manhattan DVD
Kenneth Plume (6-5-00) - Of the three "classic" Muppet films made prior to Jim Henson's death, Muppets Take Manhattan is my least favorite. It's basically a New York based remake of The Muppet Movie, with the Muppets trying to mount a Broadway show as opposed to making it to Hollywood. The film also has a manufactured feeling to it, lacking the sincerity of the first film. I will say, though, that Manhattan does have some nice musical numbers to it - including the heartbreaking "Saying Goodbye", the humorous (and amazing in execution) "Rat Scat" in the diner's kitchen, and the memorable wedding sequence from the end. The quality of the anamorphic video is surprisingly clean and sharp.
As far as extras go, this disc contains what appear to be EPK interviews with Jim Henson done in conjunction with the film 14 short segments but all are truly interesting and a nice historical artifact. I just wish Columbia had included a "Play All" function. Also included on the disc are more "Muppetisms" and trailers for other Henson DVD releases.
Randal Lombardo 6-18-01 - I must have made my parents watch the Muppets Take Manhattan with me a good thirty times in my childhood. The last great classic film where the Muppets play themselves until 1999's Muppets From Space.
Of all the Muppet films (including Christmas Carol and Treasure Island), this is probably the deepest and most meaningful one for me. It makes me laugh heartily and often, but it carries with it a great sentimental value as well.
As a wee lad, it was the adventure and fun of going to new places! Laughing in the face of danger! Now there is a new tone. Having just graduated college last year, I found "Saying Goodbye" very emotional, and to my own disbelief I started crying as the Muppets left each other. It was just really sad, and that's just another testament to the amazing work of Jim Henson and his cohorts. They've created characters we really care about.
comparison would be to a painting or a great piece of music. The most
intense and emotionally stirring canvas is the one that can use lights
and darks to its advantage. Too many movies these days seem content to
fit into a single category. A comedy can only be funny. A suspense thriller
can only be scary. Action flicks are only action. There are exceptions
of course, there always are, but this movie really knows how to work on
all the different levels at all the right times. And to me, that's a rarity.
There are purists out there who will adamantly debate one way or the other as to whether the Muppet Babies are only Piggy's fantasy or if they really happened. I don't feel the importance should be placed on such chronological squabbling. There's a certain magic that these characters hold, and part of the magic lies in not always knowing what is real and what is imagined. I may be stretching out on a limb a bit here, but there are many conflicting stories of King Arthur, and the inconsistencies are not the important piece. Likewise, I enjoy thinking of Piggy's fantasy of the Babies (and the ensuing TV series- which I loved) as part of the nether realm, both true and false at the same time.
The physical comedy in this one is great, and though we don't see them flung in front of taxis or from airplanes, buses, windows, trains, etc., there are a few classic moments. The hospital scene where Kermit's arm is twisted and then gets his face mashed in is hilarious, and while the whole carriage scene with the Muppet Babies is equally hilarious, nothing makes me crack up more than watching Rowlf bouncing on his head in the crib. Pete's "Peoples is Peoples..." speech never fails to amuse.
As with the
other great Muppet films, all's well that ends well, and the whole Saying
Goodbye/Together Again theme worked really well for me. It made me ecstatic
as a kid to see Kermit and the Gang together again.
Again, another perfect 5 star rating that must be taken down a half-Kermit for the simple reason that I would have loved more!
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