Two Things about

Muppets’ Wizard of Oz

Now that we’ve seen The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz, everybody’s got their opinions. Lots of opinions. You can’t cross the street with a Muppet fan without hearing a couple dozen opinions. From Fozzie’s mane to Piggy’s bath, Ashanti’s songs to Pepe’s burp, I know you have things to say about the movie.

 

Here’s a chance to say them, but you’ve got to narrow those thoughts down to two things. All I want to know is: What’s one thing you liked about the movie, and one thing you didn’t like?Those two things can stand in for the rest of your opinions, and then we can hear from somebody else.

 

So if you’ve got two things to say, send your entry to Danny@ToughPigs.com, and you can share two of your thoughts with the world!

 

Danny Horn One thing I liked: Pepe’s “80’s band” joke. It’s clever, it’s an adult joke, and it’s lovely that the Muppets have their own quirky thoughts. Throughout the movie, the Muppets were muttering little quips and complaints, constantly chattering away. From the main characters down to the background penguins, each Muppet has an internal life and a point of view, and that comes out in every little comment. You can always tell that underneath the puppets, there’s men at work. 80’s band!

 

One thing I didn’t like: The sound mixing on the film was just awful. The music and the background noise was too loud, and it drowned out the dialogue in just about every scene. You have to strain to hear far too often, and it blunts the impact of some of the lines. You have such nice jokes, boys. Why don’t you speak up?

 

 

Amy K One thing I liked: Johnny Fiama mourning when Piggy melts. It was played perfectly — a nice balance without going overboard — and there was a genuine “Awwww…” for Johnny, who truly cared for Piggy. (And what an intriguing couple!)

 

One thing I didn’t like: The CGI wizardry. I could live with it until the chicken metamorphosis took place. It just looked so cheap compared to everything else. You could argue that it looks haphazard because it’s the Wizard’s work, but I don’t buy it — the CGI’s the Wizard created for Fozzie and Kermit were way better than the one for Gonzo. It stood out like a sore thumb for me.

 

 

Patrick Holmes What I liked: The puppet art direction was stupendous. All the Oz versions of the characters were just so right. I think seeing the Macy’s flower show display made me appreciate them even more. There was so much care taken, making some really fantastic looking puppets. For that, I’m grateful. I mean, Wicked Witch Biker Piggy was just perfect, although Non-Oz Piggy left much to be desired.

 

What I didn’t like: There was no “there” there. There was no clear theme, no point of view to the project. It left me with a pretty heavy “yeah… so?” feeling afterwards.

 

 

Barry Lee What I liked was that they brought back Muppet Treasure Island characters as the henchmen of the Wicked Witch. I gives a darker, crazier look and feel to the movie.

 

What I didn’t like: The movie was rushed. Meet Kermit! Meet Gonzo! Meet Fozzie! Then they slowed down in the unnecessary parts.

 

 

Quinn Rollins I liked the inclusion of elements from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book that didn’t make it into the 1939 film — things like the monkey-controlling hat, the silver shoes, and the four witches. It probably made a lot of people say “huh?”, but as a fan of the original books, I enjoyed it.

 

What I didn’t like: I’ll have to go with something Muppety and say the silent Electric Mayhem. The Mayhem should be doing more than just producing background funk. They’re characters that even casual fans know and care about… Why not give them something to do?

 

 

R.D. I liked Gonzo and Fozzie’s heartfelt moment crossing over the log, by far the best scene in the movie. Reviewers who said the movie didn’t have any heart obviously weren’t paying attention.

 

I didn’t like the CGI wizard effects. I know they were supposed to look cheesy, but it just felt awkward, especially during the Tin Thing’s woman/chicken moment.

 

 

Jake C A good thing: Miss Piggy in general. All four versions of the Pig were fantastic. The Wicked Witch’s song was great, and the “cuddles” thing with the Munchkins was really cute. Eric stole the show as Piggy.

 

A bad thing: The lack of minor characters. Rowlf only appeared at the very end, and Lew Zealand didn’t appear at all. Janice didn’t speak, which made no sense to me. She found a good voice in Very Merry Xmas; there’s no reason for her to go back to being mute. Animal, who normally has a good number of lines, only said two words.

 

 

John Hamilton I loved Miss Piggy. Having her play four witches was a brilliant move, as it allowed us to enjoy all the aspects of Piggy’s complicated personality: vulnerable-to-a-limit Piggy; sassy, confrontational Piggy; romantic, flirtatious Piggy; and hot, sexy superstar Piggy. I still crack up when I think of her growling to Ashanti, “Look here, highpockets!”

 

The “those are my nipples” line seemed a little gratuitous to me, but I’m a Puritan, so never mind.

 

 

Jess Healey I liked the Glinda/Scarecrow moment. It was cute. It was funny. It was totally random, yet appropriate. Yay, Muppets!

 

I didn’t like the Quentin Tarantino bit. It just didn’t work for me at all. The sad part is that if the movie had cut to a commercial break and then come back with the Tarantino bit, it could have been funny.

 

 

Ryan Roe One thing I liked: A lot of Muppet characters got stuff to do. It was good to see them all. Especially Pepe, who was in fine form.

 

One thing I didn’t like: This is one of the few things I didn’t like, but there were one or two too many “hip” contemporary reference jokes. Napster, J.Lo, Girls Gone Wild… They weren’t all necessary.

 

 

Alaina Breeden Liked: Sam was wonderful. His voice, his character. It was all terrific; it made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It’s just another reason for me to worship Eric Jacobson.

 

Didn’t like: The story between Dorothy and Aunt Em looked and felt too much like a bad Lifetime movie.

 

 

Martha Crannell One thing I liked: The motorcycle gang singing “Ride of the Valkyries” had me in complete hysterics. LOVED it. It was just such a Muppety moment.

 

One thing I didn’t like: The QT bit. Just seemed out of place to me.

 

 

Brian VanHooker Good thing: It brought back music. The best song was definitely the one with the Muppets and Ashanti.

 

Bad thing: No Rowlf. All he had was a negligible cameo at the end; he should have been Toto. He would’ve grounded the movie with dry humor. Pepe wasn’t too bad — sometimes he annoys me, but it could have been worse.

 

 

Robert Poole What I liked: The musical number “When I’m With You.” It felt like the classic Muppet songs that stole our hearts when Jim was alive.

 

What I disliked: Pepe and Gonzo’s whole “nipple” scene. That was more twisted than the moment in Very Merry Christmas when Scooter was gyrating in the cage in Bitterman’s nightclub.

 

 

Mike Cervantes One thing I liked about the movie was Jeffrey Tambor. That had to be one of the most unique portrayals of the Wizard character ever made: First a CGI special effects fraud, then a game show host with a phony toupee and a personality to match.

 

One thing that I didn’t like was inconsistencies between the characters. Dorothy and the Muppets came to the conclusion that they didn’t need the things they thought they were missing during their song, but conveniently forget this lesson when they’re rewarded by the Wizard. Johnny mourns the death of Miss Piggy, yet he joins the henchmen in celebrating her doom just a scene later. The worst one came at the end, when Dorothy decides not to go on tour with Kermit, but goes anyway because Aunt Em learned that “You never leave the home inside you.” Ye gods, someone rip my head off and pour breakfast cereal in it.

 

 

Eric Murray Good thing: Adult humor! The Muppet Show was a show for adults back in the seventies, and they should still be now. I loved the burp, the nipples line, and the 80’s band joke. Those fall into adult humor for me, and made this movie enjoyable. The Muppets need to be fun for adults again; the kindergarteners will get those jokes when they grow up.

 

Bad thing: Timely jokes. The Girls Gone Wild joke was funny, but shouldn’t have been in the movie because in 15 years no one will know what they’re talking about. The old movies rarely had pop culture references, and that’s what makes those movies funny even today.

 

 

Shawn Pero Thing One: Edgy humor. “Witch slap,” “80’s band,” “Those are my nipples,” “Friends of Dorothy.” I like that they’re going for more pointed, clever adult humor. I know a lot of people complain that these New Muppets aren’t like the Old Muppets, but that’s good. The old Muppets were corny puns and slapstick running gags. That’s still funny, but if you want more movies and TV shows, you need to hook new, adult Muppet fans.

 

Thing Two: R&B. Please don’t let the Muppets fall into the trap of being associated with any one type of music. I know Ashanti is an R&B performer, so that would set the tone for a lot of the music in the movie, but I’d like to see a future Muppet show with different genres of musical guests. Please don’t have just rap/R&B performers next time, or else we might have something akin to the period on The Muppet Show when there was an unhealthy fixation on country music.

 

 

Scott Hanson Thing I liked: Pepe. I like Pepe, but he’s not my favorite character. When he was described in the press as “Dorothy’s wisecracking sidekick,” I was worried that it would get out of hand. But in a movie with bad pacing and uninspired intentions, I found myself laughing most at his little quips.

 

Thing I didn’t like: Lack of a widescreen presentation. For as much as I hyped myself up for this movie (and knowing that designer William Stout and director Kirk Thatcher lobbied for a theatrical release), I wanted bigger and grander. The pan & scan format made this movie feel cramped and claustrophobic. I pray that Kirk’s original aspect ratio will be preserved on the DVD.

 

 

Tom Holste I liked the appearances by Scooter, Camilla, Foo-Foo and Bean Bunny.

 

I didn’t like that the opening number had no Muppets in it. That song for me is what “When Love Is Gone” is for most people, and it’s right at the start of the film to boot.

 

 

Cathy Whitlow I loved Scooter. He sounded incredible, and his role in the movie was perfect. He was just awesome.

 

Not so loved: Dorothy. She was a totally unsympathetic character in my eyes. She was spoiled and just downright mean at times, especially to Aunt Em. I’m not sure if that had more to do with the way her character was written or the way Ashanti performed her. Either way: all bad.

 

 

Laura Day I liked Pepe, and the fact that he can play with the big boys of Muppetdom and hold his own.

 

I didn’t like the fact that a town in twister country seemed so obviously ill prepared for an impending tornado. Take your laundry down and close the windows at least before you go running into the shelter.

 

I asked my four year old son, Aidan, and here’s what he had to say:

 

Thing he liked: When Dorothy finally dropped the bowl and it broke, making Toto really real.

 

Thing he didn’t like: The beginning. It was a Muppet movie, but no Muppets. Who wants to live in a world without Muppets?

 

I brought up that you saw Kermit and Piggy at the beginning. He replied, “Yeah, but they just drove away.”

 

 

Anthony Strand One thing I really liked was Jeffrey Tambor. For the first time since Charles Grodin, I felt like a human was a true highlight of a Muppet movie. He was hysterical, and he played off the Muppets perfectly. He wasn’t nearly this good in Muppets From Space.

 

One thing I didn’t like was Rizzo’s Girls Gone Wild joke. It was gratuitous, and also not funny.

 

 

Joe Hennes What I like: Everything else was taken, so I’ll say Kermit and Gonzo’s hands. The puppetry was much better for them than they’ve ever been before. Not just floppy pieces of fabric on a stick!

 

What I dislike: Dorothy should have asked the Wizard to give her the ability to act.

 

 

Peter Papazoglou What I liked: Evil bunnies!

 

What I didn’t like: Where did they go? The bunnies, the Four Little Pigs, Gonzo’s cell-phone nose. I kept expecting those developments to pay off, and they never did. It’s like they placed a loaded gun on the mantel in every other scene, and not a single one was shot in the end.

 

 

Maranda C I liked Fozzie crossing the bridge.

 

I didn’t like the nipples joke, and the constant use of the word “sexy.” I think if they wanted it to be a kids’ movie, they should respect not using words children shouldn’t hear.

 

 

Jeremy Wilcox I enjoyed the new voice for Scooter. He’s my favorite Muppet, and I’m very glad to see that he had lines in two different scenes, which is a lot more than you can say for other “background” characters like Rowlf.

 

What I dislike: There could have been a lot more songs. They could have written songs for Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo to sing when they first appeared. It almost seemed like they wrote songs because Ashanti was in it.

 

 

Nick Wheatley I liked seeing the Muppets act like themselves again. This is the third time they’ve played “storybook characters,” but this time their own personalities actually came across.

 

I disliked the flow of the film. The movie didn’t start until the Wicked Witch showed up. It would have been nice to somehow introduce her before the first visit to Oz’s castle.

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