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"The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" disappoints - Jim Hill

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by bknatchbull, May 24, 2005.

  1. pepestarr

    pepestarr New Member

    Ricky Boyd did Scooter in MWOO. I think Eric was great with all of Frank's old characters and Pepe was funny but I agree about the 'sexy' joke abit over used.

    I didn't really like Ashanti. I think if they could get Paul Williams to write the music and produce actual movies for cinemas again then that would be better

    I couldn't pick between the last two TV Films as I've never seen Kermits Swamp Years and I probably don't want to now. LOL.
  2. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    How the heck are they on the same guide lines? Not picking a fight, just asking. :)
  3. Marky

    Marky Member

    I don't own Tresure Island (haven't even seen it)... I've seen and like Oz.

    I you were to go out and buy only one of them which would it be? (I'm tryin' to get some Muppet fan opinions on Tresure Island!)
  4. Sgt Floyd

    Sgt Floyd Well-Known Member

    I sorta liked oz, but it was just lacking something...and I dont know what. Actually, I've only seen Oz, Chirstmas Carol, and treasure island...sad isnt it?
  5. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    oz was missing one thing and that was Oz!!!! i know yall get what im saying
  6. Marky

    Marky Member

    Thanks! Finally someone gives me an answer on this!
  7. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    I'm going to wade right in here. IMHO, MWoO failed with the audience it was intending to reach because the characters were simply not likable. Whoa--before I get tarred and feathered (that's Gonzo's job)--I don't mean that the Muppets themselves weren't sympathetic, but that the characters that they portrayed failed to find sympathy and empathy with the audience.
    If we accept the premise that Ashanti, Kermit, Fozzie, et al are actors portraying roles in a scripted movie, here's the promblem: Ashanti's character is a whiny brat. Her character fails to take responsibility for her own actions (whose fault was it she showed up late to audition?) and does not appreciate the sacrifices that people in her life have made for her. I don't know the singer at all--she's probably very nice, but the script portrays her as full of herself, ungrateful, hateful and whiny. Not really her fault if she compares poorly to cute, fluffy little Judy Garland with her little girl mannerisms and her big booming voice. See--heroines are supposed to be long-suffering--think Snow White and Cinderella--and they are supposed to bring comfort and cheer to those they encounter, even--especially--in the face of adversity. They are life-embracers, which this Dorothy character was not.
    Despite my adoration of Kermit, his scarecrow was too passive to be interesting. We've all waited dozens of time with baited breath for that moment when Fozzie, or Piggy or Gonzo will manage to push the right combination of Kermit's buttons and he errupts into arm-waving hysteris, thereby restoring order to the universe. No angst, no order. Kermit's scarecrow would have been funnier if he had actually been very clever--only people kept assuming he was stupid because he was a scarecrow. THis would have played very well into Kermit's schtick as "the only sane one backstage," and he could have muttered about "Actually I'm not really stupid, they just...oh, never mind," and "When they told me I've have a huge audience, this wasn't what I expected" and "This is the last time I work with crows," etc.
    Gonzo was, well, weirder than usual, but he who has always been so full of soul is not easily cast as someone with no heart. I could have rooted for him more if--by proving himself capable of a great romantic quest--he could have proven to Camilla that he could be her romantic hero. Having him forced into the role of heartless sortof robs it of its pathos. What is more sympathetic than the man who wants to love but is afraid of love? But I have to say that I thought the most touching moment in the whole movie was when Gonzo--who knows more than any of us about the courage it takes to believe in yourself when no one else does--reaches out and gently leads Fozzie across the bridge. That's the Gonzo I know and love.
    Fozzie made a great cowardly lion, and proved the most centered and secure in his role. (Talk about role revearsal!) My only real gripe with the use of Fozzie came from thinking that they missed an opportunity here--The Wizard of Foz. Wouldn't Fozzie's Mom have made a great WoFoz? It would have brought Fozzie's need for acceptance and love right back to the forefront, making him our familiar, lovable, insecure bear.
    Piggy, Piggy--what did they do with you? Very little, for all the roles they thrust you into. The only moment I actually recognized Piggy was when she goosed Kermit in the bum as Dorothy's leaving Oz. (You go girl!) What a missed opportunity to not have everyone telling Piggy how she must love "getting back to the county" while she insists she has always be a sophisticated city pig. (Shade of Eliza Doolittle--"What's th' 'arm in me leaving Covent Garden? It we'ren't fit for a pig to live in and I had to pay...)
    And can I say,with great sadness, that when Johnny Fiama turns in the most emotionally believable performance in the whole cast, we got a first-class credibility problem on our hand.
    Pepe was the most true to himself--he kept all of his Pepe sass while playing an uncharted role. He made the most out of what he was given to work with.
    My biggest gripe about movies today in general is that there is no snappy dialogue, no intelligent progression or plot, no character integrity that supersedes going for a cheap laugh or a glimpse of thigh. The Muppets are best when they go back to the Old Hollywood/Vaudeville roots that used to be assumed. We expect the Muppets to sing, to dance, to do comedy and drama and their own stunts. Name me five actors--no, three--who can do all of that today! We have to WANT the dream for them, want their starry-eyed illusions to be fulfilled, not stripped away and ridiculed. Kermit never told Fozzie that his jokes were funny if they weren't. I think it's okay if we show the same attitude that Kermit had--come on, guy--entertain us--I dare you.
    (Ma'am--if you could just step down of that soapbox before someone gets hurt....)
  8. ReneeLouvier

    ReneeLouvier Active Member

    Oh...my...god....

    It is exactly what has happened to them. Yes, yes yes, a thousand times yes.

    -THAT- hit it right on the nail there.
  9. Marky

    Marky Member

    All of that applies to what was wrong w/ Oz. I thought right away though - some disposable R&B singer? pfft! That was already 'done' in 1978 with 'The Whiz'

    How 'bout an a-c-t-o-r playing Dorothy? They could have broken the 4th wall just a teeny bit more. Although I think it was a good decision not to try to get this on the big screen. Not bad for a simple TV movie, though. I'll take more of that than nothing (although a bigger-bugeted star-packed PG-rated laugh-fest would REALLY kick -start them again IMO). Use Touchstone, silly Disney-heads!!!
  10. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Running gags

  11. Marky

    Marky Member

  12. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, hindsight often isn't--otherwise, people would learn from it. In my neck of the woods, we used to say that hindsight was the ability to look back and realized you've been, well, a horse's hind end. Too often, however, we can't look back and see that we've make a mistake, but keep making the same one over and over.

    In entertainment, this is especially problematic because of two opposing forces: the longing for familiarity and the longing for novelty.

    The longing for familiarity:
    History is rife with authors who created a much-beloved character only to
    have that one character totally define who they were as an author. (We want another one--just like the other one! Rah! Rah! Rah!) Conan Doyle, for example, wanted to be know as a serious writing of history, but the popularity of Sherlock Holmes pigeon-holed him quite effectively, to his total annoyance. Actors who have become known for one famous role often get stuck playing variations of that role over and over, to their chagrin.

    The longing for novelty:
    I'm probably dating myself terribly here, but I really enjoyed Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties. When I went to see "Back to the Future" and "Doc Hollywood," part of the enjoyment of seeing those movies was seeing an actor who had always played uptight, AR, suit-wearing Alex P. Keaton play sortof scruffy characters. It's also why actresses who are primarily known for their "babe" status want to do something different--from Farrah Fawcett doing "The Burning Bed" to Gwyneth Paltrow doing "Emma" by Jane Austen. It's also the reason that so many of us like to see Kermit get his chain yanked by Miss Piggy when he's jealous. We're use to him denying and protesting--when he finally succumbs we stand with our hands over our mouths and say, "Oh--he did NOT just do that, did he?" (Or as Johnny Fiama said, "Oh yeah, he's drunk.")

    Anyway--I enjoy your posts, Marky, but you're kindof acerbic.
  13. Marky

    Marky Member

    Acerbic, nah. Dry? mmm... yup. Please don't get me wrong (as oftern people do - the bane of typed words vs. verbal expression).I don't mean to be slammish to your ideas. They are good and would make improvements. It's just when people criticize art in any form - what 'they would have done differently to make it better', etc. etc, whether I agree with it or not (and in your case I do), it kind of makes me want to say "Oh, go on you saucy baguette".

    I hope I didn't rub you the wrong way. Your avatar is lovely. I need more coffee.
  14. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Wow--it's been while since anyone called me a "saucy baguette." LOL! (Would my kids be mortified!) No--you didn't offend, and I didn't mean to sound like and armchair quarterback. I just, yuh know, care about these guys. I want them to do well--the muppets and the people who bring them to life. I want the companies which hope and plan to make a profit from giving us chances to see our fave felt friends to make a profit without skinning it off the back of our guys, or tampering too much with what has made the muppets so wildly successful. Plus--I really like seeing Kermit wave his arms around in the air. Call me a sucker for uptight men....

    Ooh--and my avatar comes from a nifty little "Home Family Bundle" CD that has a calendar program. It has TONS of both pictures of the muppets and cartoons of the muppets. (And I'm embarrassingly proud of being able to actually make my own avatar and upload it because I still don't know exactly what an MP3 file is, or how to use one, or how to do anything at all with sound on my computer. Wah....)
  15. Marky

    Marky Member


    You'd love Quebec.

    :halo:
  16. Voiceroy

    Voiceroy Member

    I realize this article has been up a long while, but this really bothers me.

    Could a moderator please edit "MuppetNewsHound's" original post so it doesn't violate Jim Hill's copyright? You can't just copy/paste an entire article verbatim from anywhere on the web. It's more than just illegal -- it's really unprofessional too.

    This is Jim Hill's original article:
    http://www.jimhillmedia.com/mb/articles/showarticle.php?ID=1465
  17. maniacal muppet

    maniacal muppet Active Member

    What the heck is KSY:confused: ?
  18. Sgt Floyd

    Sgt Floyd Well-Known Member

    Yeah. thats probably it. There wasnt much "muppet humor". Another thing I was anoyed at was all the EM members went suddenly mute exept dr teeth, who had 2 lines in a song:boo:
    (If I am rembering correctly. Sad really, I'm too young to be losing my memory:sleep: )
  19. TheJimHensonHour

    TheJimHensonHour New Member

    abbreviations are annoying aren't KSY means Kermits Swamp Years :)
  20. maniacal muppet

    maniacal muppet Active Member


    Thank you SO much!!!:halo:


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