Film: The Muppets' Wizard of Oz
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz
is a 2005 Made-for-TV Movie
adaption of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
, with The Muppets
. Staring Ashanti
as Dorothy Gale, Kermit as the Scarecrow, The Great Gonzo as the Tin Man (here called Tin Thing), Fozzie Bear as The Cowardly Lion, Pepe the Prawn as Toto, and Miss Piggy as the witches of the East, North (Tattypoo), West, and South (Glinda).
Dorothy lives in Kansas and works as a waitress for her Aunt Em's diner. She dreams of becoming a famous singer, but one day, a tornado whisks her and her pet prawn to the land of Oz. The denizens tell Dorothy that the Wizard of Oz could make her dreams come true. On her way, she makes friends with the Muppets, who each have a desire for the Wizard to grant. When they meet the Wizard, he gives them a task to do before he can help them: defeat the Wicked Witch of the West.
Despite many changes to suit the Muppet cast, it is actually more faithful to the book in some places than the classic film
The film received mostly negative reviews from critics. At Rotten Tomatoes
, the movie currently holds a 38% "rotten" rating. It however got 7.75 million viewers when it debuted on TV in America.
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz provides examples of the following tropes:
- Absentee Actor: An in-universe example. According to behind the scenes footage, Rowlf the Dog was going to be in the movie but he got hit by a car in Acapulco, breaking his tail.
- Acting for Four: Miss Piggy plays all four witches.
- Adaptation Species Change: Toto is a King Prawn instead of a Dog. Justified, since Toto is played by Pepe. Pre-tornado, Toto is seen as an actual prawn in a goldfish bowl. After Dorothy ends up in Oz, he's played by Pepe. Fozzie is just a lion in the movie.
- Ascended Fan Girl: Dorothy.
- Band of Relatives: The four witches, when they sang together as The Four Little Pigs.
- Big Damn Heroes: The Munchkins, played by the rats and led by Rizzo teach Dorothy a song to summon them if they are needed.
- Broken Aesop: Dorothy eventually realizes that she shouldn't value fame and fortune more than family, so she goes back home to Kansas. Then, she accepts an offer from the Muppets to go on tour with them, subsequently leaving her family again. Although, they imply that Dorothy will do a better job keeping in touch with her family than she did in Oz.
- Well, it doesn't become so much of a Broken Aesop, because Dorothy, in the end, realized it wasn't really so much fame and fortune she was after, it was simply being able to have a life for herself as a singer (much like Kermit wanting to sing and dance and make people happy in The Muppet Movie); at the same time, Aunt Em tells Dorothy that she's realized that even though she may not be with her and Uncle Henry in person, she'll always be with them in their hearts, which is why Aunt Em finally lets loose the reins, since she had been overbearing with her at the beginning of the movie.
- The Cameo
- In the uncut version, Dorothy steps into Dr. Honeydew's Makeover Machine to try on a punk look, and comes out played by Kelly Osbourne.
- Quentin Tarantino appears in a Cutaway Gag to tell Kermit some plans he thought up for the fight between Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West.
- The Cast Show Off: Ashanti
- Casting Gag
- Gonzo and Fozzie dressed as the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, respectively, in the 1981 TV special The Muppets Go to the Movies, when they joined Miss Piggy (dressed as Dorothy) and Scooter (as the Scarecrow) for a medley of songs from The Wizard of Oz.
- Kermit, Gonzo, and Fozzie previously played the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, respectively, in an episode of Muppet Babies.
- Celebrity Paradox: As noted above, Dorothy enters an Image Makeover machine, and steps out as Kelly Osbourne; however, the others feel that Ashanti is a more suitable look for her.
- Composite Character: The Munchkins (played by the rats) also take the role of the Field Mice in the book.
- Conspicuous CG: Actually invoked, when the gang goes to see the Wizard for the first time.
- Could Have Avoided This Plot: After Glinda tells Dorothy she could have just used the silver shoes to return to Kansas, Dorothy glares at Tattypoo, for not telling her. Tattypoo reminds her that fantasy stories often end with the protagonist realizing what she needed was with her all along.
- Darker and Edgier: The movie definitely has traces of this compared not only to other Muppet productions, but to other Oz productions as well. The scene where the Flying Monkeys rip apart the Scarecrow and the Tin Thing is probably one of the most disturbing scenes in any Muppet movie.
- Evil Is Hammy: And you thought Piggy was already a Large Ham?
- Family-Unfriendly Death: The Wicked Witch of the West melts quite graphically. And she's the witch closest to Miss Piggy's normal personality.
- Gender Flip: As noted above, the Munchkins are also the Field Mice from the book. Which makes Rizzo's role as Mayor of Munchkinland equivalent to the Queen of the Field Mice.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: After Gonzo (as the Tin Thing) grabs his cell phone (his nose), Pepe (as Toto) touches two buttons on the Tin Thing's chest, wondering what they are, and the Tin Thing tells him that they're his nipples. Cue Toto looking horrified and then running out, screaming and yelling, "I feel dirty!"
- There's also a scene near the end of the film where the Scarecrow/Kermit is standing in front of the Good Witch/Miss Piggy. We suddenly hear a *HONK* sound, and the Scarecrow jumps in surprise and turns to look at the Good Witch in horror. She acts innocent and says, "What?"
- I Choose to Stay: Toto stays in Oz.
- "I Want" Song: "Kansas"
- Last Minute Hookup: Between Glinda and the Scarecrow.
- Lost in Imitation: Averted. Unlike most Wizard of Oz films after the release of the classic film, this film depends far more on the original book, including several things that the original film did not (such as the monkey-controlling hat, the four witches and Dorothy's shoes being silver instead of ruby).
- Milestone Celebration: The movie was originally aired in May 2005, the month that marked the 50th anniversary of Kermit's first TV series (Sam and Friends) and of the Muppets as a whole.
- Race Lift
- African-Americans portray Dorothy (Ashanti), Aunt Em (Queen Latifah), and Uncle Henry (David Allen Grier), a la The Wiz.
- In an example more reminiscent of a Species Lift, Toto the dog is made a prawn to allow Pepe to play him.
- Shout-Out: "Are you related to Frank Oz?"
- Shown Their Work: The movie includes a lot of references to Oz trivia that come from the books and not from the MGM movie. Most notably, the name of the Good Witch of the North, Tattypoo, is taken from the Ruth Plumly Thompson bool The Giant Horse of Oz, which was the twenty-second Oz book.
- Villain Song: The Witch Is In the House.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The Wicked Witch of the West melts after landing in a tub filled with tap water. (She usually bathes in bottled water.)
- Why Are We Whispering:
Scarecrow: I'm not good at anything because... (looks round for eavesdroppers) (whispering) I don't have a brain.
Dorothy: (whispering) You don't have a brain?
Scarecrow: (whispering) Right.
Dorothy: (whispering) Why are you whispering?
Scarecrow: (whispering) Uh, well, I can't really answer that, because ... (looks round for eavesdroppers) I don't have a brain.
- You Look Familiar: This isn't the first time Jeffrey Tambor (the Wizard) and David Alan Grier (Uncle Henry) were involved with the Muppets before. Jeffrey Tambor was previously the main antagonist in Muppets from Space, whereas David Alan Grier was an in-universe stage manager in the Sesame Street special Elmopalooza, and later appeared as Aladdin on Sesame Street.