When I first read the book No easy Day by Mark Owen (The infamous release that recounts the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden), he particularly channeled a recurring theme in the life of many: a concept called the “Good Idea Fairy.” This “fairy” was the tendency for the passiviely uninvolved to suddenly involve themselves in a mission at the last minute–a mission that has already been tried, trued, and calibrated–and suddenly change the calculus, throwing everyone’s game off and possibly ruining the entire mission–all in the name of “progress.”
Well, it looks like that diminutive knave showed up at Henson Inc. Because they’ve gaffed the ONE movie–the ONE movie I have actively anticipated on Blu-ray. With ONE three-minute omission.
Somewhat distracted, I didn’t even notice it, as I brought it straight home, and began watching it with my family (which for us is now a 13-year tradition since I first had it loaned to me on VHS in 1999). My eleven-year-old immediately said “Dad! They took the song out!” She then began to sing the melody, and I’m like “they sure did. I wonder why.” Supposedly, the omission was made to accommodate kids. Mine noticed the problem like a noonday mugging. In terms of one-family, anecdotal data: Mission Failed.
And wonder, I do. Now my inner-cynic says that there is now one more opportunity to capitalize on guys like me, who will immediately buy a “fixed” version, because the transfer to Blu-ray is immediately noticable in its qualitative aspects, and the 1080p ratios are perfect–the cinematic feel to this thing is fantastic. The sound has also come up a few notches, too. Possibly the best songs ever written for any one of their films.
The fact that this post-Jim film is perhaps better than any film directly handled directly by Jim Henson is actually a testament to Henson himself. Despite the fact that his son was the directorial heir-apparrent, and had never done so before, the sheer weight of trying to go to theater a mere two years after the death of Kermit’s literal soul must have been daunting; merely trying to compensate for the voice of a number of characters–not to mention the subtleties of expression and hand movements that will never be replaced–would have made many buckle and call it a day.
But the standard–along with chronological proximity–guaranteed that Frank Oz and the crew would pour themselves into the legacy like never before. One can also see a contemplative tribute to Henson in the falling star observed by Kermit when he’s troubled about the world in general. This is why many will say this is the best Muppet movie of all time. At least I will.
So why remove the song? The now-omitted “When Love Is Gone,” written by Paul Williams, falls victim to an active decision to “revert” to an original, cinematic state. But this makes no sense, since very few actually saw it in the theaters, and every release to video has included the song (which, by the way is reprised at the end after Scrooge’s tranformation, along with a lyrical one as well–the reprise now sits alone with no referential place). The song provides the romantic, referential sadness inherent in Scrooge’s past. Taking out the song is the equivalent to removing “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from “Mary Poppins.”
One can only guess that–like I predict with Apple–the inherencies that made them great are but mere echoes; that their decompositional processes started when their true visionaries left us. And yet, I hold out hope for both.
Two stars from me. I certainly hope that Brian Henson and crew will release an ameliorated version sometime, with the same qualities galvanized into this one. It will immediately gain five stars from nearly all. I keep hoping that some “easter egg” hammered within the disc reveals a true version. But quite frankly, even if it does, I’m not inclined to accept entering a whimsical labyrinth to see it.
Somebody, please. Kill the Good Idea Fairy. Thank you.
That being said. I think the somewhat Schadenfreudic meltdown of the infamous, coupled with my own ridiculous gripes, overtly tests the stamina of this once viral meme: