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A MUPPET FAMILY CHRISTMAS

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  The Muppets, Gerard Parks
Director:  Peter Harris
Audio:  Dolby Stereo
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Columbia Tri Star
Features:  Bonus Trailers
Length:  42 Minutes
Release Date:  November 6, 2001

“So…who’s your new partner?”

“A snowman!”

“The heck you say.”

Film ***1/2

A Muppet Family Christmas might very well be the last great classic family holiday special ever created.  Originally released in 1989, this warm, wonderful piece was one of the last offerings from the late great Jim Henson, and his magic can be felt in every frame.

Filled with comedy, songs, and an infectious Christmas spirit, this program brings together all of the Muppet characters, along with the Sesame Street gang and a surprise appearance by the Fraggles for a holiday in the country, where Fozzie Bear has invited them to spend Christmas with his mom.

Mom was actually planning a warn California holiday, and in fact had rented her cabin out to Doc (Parks, of Fraggle Rock) and his dog for a quiet Christmas, but soon, the joy of the season takes over, and the Muppet gang realizes the more, the merrier.  The only problem?  A terrible blizzard has Miss Piggy trapped en route to the woods!  Will she make it in time to see the holiday in with her beloved Kermit?

This is a fun filled yarn from beginning to end, starting with the appearances of all the kids’ favorite Muppet stars from all their popular programs, to the wonderful song score that includes “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Happy Holiday”, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and more, to the warm spirit that can only come from spending Christmas with your closest friends and family.  Even Henson himself makes an amusing cameo appearance…watch out for it!

For young and old alike, A Muppet Family Christmas is just the tonic needed to brighten the holiday season.  Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, along with Bert, Ernie, Big Bird and Cookie Monster set just the right mood for a festive Christmas spirit with laughter, music, and warm heartedness.

Video ***1/2

This is a terrific looking presentation from Columbia Tri Star…despite its age and video source, it actually renders quite well for disc, with warm, true colors, no softness, no grain, and no bleeding.  The Muppets are a colorful bunch, and they look better than ever here!

Audio **

This simple stereo mix is serviceable, with no complaints, if not overwhelming.  There is not a lot of dynamic range, to be sure, but the dialogue is well rendered, and the songs come across sounding great.

Features *

A handful of bonus trailers for other Muppet and family related films from Columbia Tri Star are included.

Summary:

Between Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas and now A Muppet Family Christmas, Columbia Tri Star has made holiday viewing in my home complete.  Christmas without these lovable creatures with their songs, laughs and high spirits just wouldn’t feel like a holiday.