The rather lovely "Muppet Christmas Carol" comes to DVD with some new extra features that are both quite fun and informative on a technically complex production.
Picture If you're worried about the slight judder of the sky in the opening titles, it's not the disc but the problem of filming smoke when you're using high-speed cameras. The picture is at times a little bleary, but certainly is an improvement over video and TV outings.
Sound A new 5.1 mix adds much enveloping warmth to the film, with visits from the ghosts boosted by some scary directional effects.
Audio Commentary Director Brian Henson talks us through a movie that presented problems that are largely unique to a Muppet production. Scenes where Caine strides through a sea of Muppets are actually Caine trying to walk along a narrow plank while underneath him the puppeteers work away.
Henson also takes some time to correct the misconception that this movie isn't faithful to the original Dickens' novel. In fact, he reckons it's one of the few films that actually uses the dialogue and prose from the book.
Frogs, Pigs and Humbug This new 20-minute retrospective featurette is presented by Gonzo and Rizzo the rat, and boy could they do some good for other DVDs! The minute any of the interviewees become a little dull, Gonzo and Rizzo are in there snapping with sarcastic remarks on how interested they are in what the person is saying.
There's an amusing little interview with Michael Caine, where he reveals he had no idea that this was Brian's first directing job. He hadn't thought to check but was surprised to find out the truth so Brian must have been doing a good job.
Christmas Around the World A short featurette on how other people around the globe celebrate Christmas.
Gag Reel Sadly this is only just over two-minutes long but it is Muppet gold. There's even a small gaffe between Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker.
Ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Audio Tracks: English and Spanish
Subtitles: English and multiple languages
Menus: Animated with music and a very impatient but funny Kermit
Special Features Subtitles: All the special features come with Spanish subtitles. Ole!
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-S57 DVD player.