Ever since <em>The Muppet Movie revitalized the Muppet empire, muppet flicks have been making their way to Blu-ray. Muppet Treasure Island and The Great Muppet Caper have both been released on Blu-ray as a part of a new combo pack. When you hear combo pack, you might think you’re getting two movies on two discs. Nope. The second disc is a DVD since both flicks come on one disc. Before you squeal, remember that TV series often have three to four episodes on a single Blu-ray disc, while maintaining the video quality. Unfortunately, that’s not the case here. But, we’ll get to that.
The Great Muppet Caper debuted in 1981, between the release of The Muppet Movie and The Muppets Take Manhattan. While The Muppet Movie and The Muppets Take Manhattan both serve as somewhat of an origin tale for the muppets, The Great Muppet Caper is more of a comedic, crime noir film.
Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear are investigative reporters for the Daily Chronicle. There is also a running gag about the two being identical twins, which is only noticeable when Fozzie has his hat on. Gonzo the Great is the third wheel in their trio, who serves as their photographer. He also just loves to take pictures of chickens. When the three head off to England, they end up in the middle of a jewelry heist. Kermit and Miss Piggy also meet for the “first time,” with Miss Piggy posing as famed fashion designer, Lady Holiday.
Muppet Treasure Island is a musical based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel. This film was developed in the 90s, when the muppets were doing less original movies and more adaptations. While it’s an entertaining romp, seeing Tim Curry as Long John Silver, the story and musical numbers don’t have as much zing as some of the older muppet films. However, I still respect adaptations like this, which use notable kids’ icons to encourage children to read.
The HD transfer for The Great Muppet Caper is borderline abysmal. You’ll notice right at the opening credits that you might as well be watching this on a VHS tape. The colors are washed out and there are tons of artifacts. The hairs on Fozzie’s body have no definition or contrast at all. Where’s the quality control?
Oddly enough, Muppet Treasure Island has a much better transfer. This is unfortunate since The Muppet Caper is the more notable of the two movies. Also, as the muppets’ second movie, it deserves a video quality upgrade just for archival purposes.
It’s clear that whoever commissioned the release and transfer of these two films did little to no research on the muppets’ history. Instead of releasing a double-feature pack, The Great Muppet Caper deserved its own release. Muppet Treasure Island could have been released with The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz. At least that would make sense since the two movies are adaptations and this is an anniversary year for The Wizard of Oz. Alas, such was not the case.