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The thing I like the best about THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN ($20) is the fact that the movie is a throwback to the good old days of Hollywood musicals, where a group of kids got together and put on a show. In THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN, we find the Muppet gang about to graduate from college and appearing in their senior show Manhattan Melodies. Convinced that the show is good enough for Broadway, the Muppets head directly for New York City to seek a producer willing to put Manhattan Melodies on the great white way. Unfortunately, no one is willing to take a chance on the Muppets or their show, so the group go their separate ways, leaving Kermit the Frog in New York to search for a backer on his own. Of course, Miss Piggy is unwilling to let the frog she loves out of her sight and manages to keep a discrete distance, while Kermit hits the pavement. Although not as hilarious as some of the other Muppet outings, THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN remains a whole lot of fun for kids and adults alike. In addition to the well-known characters, THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN also includes a number of star cameos featuring Art Carney, James Coco, Dabney Coleman, Gregory Hines, Linda Lavin, Joan Rivers, Elliott Gould, Liza Minnelli and Brooke Shields.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN available in a 1.85:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for 16:9 playback. A cropped presentation is also available on a separate layer and can be chosen from the DVD's main menu. However, all comments in this review will pertain to the wide screen version of the film. The image on the DVD is quite pleasing, maintaining a respectable level of sharpness and detail throughout the presentation. Unlike the first movie, there is little noticeable film grain in the transfer, which gives THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN a clean, crisp appearance. Colors are strongly rendered with good saturation and complete stability. Flesh tones on the human performers look just fine. Blacks are reasonably accurate, plus the contrast is pretty smooth. Digital compression artifacts are not problematic, as the film's ninety-four minute running time did not tax the single layer authoring.

THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN is presented in Dolby Digital monaural, which is a bit disappointing, since this is supposed to be a musical. Fidelity is a somewhat limited, but as monaural soundtracks go, this one holds its own. At modest volume levels all of the songs and music sound quite agreeable. Dialogue reproduction is crisp and completely intelligible. French, Spanish and Portuguese language soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD, along with English, French and Spanish subtitles. The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Almost fifteen minutes of interview footage with Jim Henson is included on the DVD, although it is broken up into segments. Also on the DVD are three Muppetisms, which are brief television spot that feature the characters in mildly humorous "message" moments. Because no trailer for THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN is included, Columbia TriStar has thrown in bonus trailers for other DVD titles marketed to kids.

Perhaps not as good as a number of the other outings, THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN is still a whole lot of fun. Columbia TriStar has done a good job with the presentation on the DVD, making this disc worth acquiring for Muppet fans.


The Muppets Take Manhattan


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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