Muppets' Wizard of Oz, The
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The Wizard of Oz. Easily one of the 5 most important events in movie history, and it makes the Dark Side of the Moon just a little cooler as well.
So, the movie has been remade already (well, modernized in 1978), the original Baum books have had sequels, there have been comic books, cartoons, you name it. What's left?
Ah yes, smarmy little puppets...how silly of me!
Don't get me wrong, I love the Muppets, and I love the Wizard of Oz. But the two together? Might work, or might be a train wreck. Either way, I wasn't missing it!
And you know what, it does work. It works quite well indeed.
The basic story is the same, pissy little Kansas girl Dorothy hates her life and wants to move on. Tornado, dead witch, so on and so forth, click heels, you know the drill.
The Muppets, as they oft times do, add little twists here and there to modernize the story, as well as make it more accessable to the masses.
Today's Dorothy is a waitress aspiring to be a pop diva, played by Ashanti. I had my doubts, but now I'm a believer. She was terrific. Ashanti has those good-old-American-cute-girl-next-door looks, and she can sing to boot. She was quite believable in the role, which is no easy task on the screen with the Muppets.
And Toto has received an upgrade as well. No longer a little ankle biting annoying dog. Oh no, the 21st century Toto is Pepe the Prawn, who is hands down the funniest Muppet of all time. Kermit [Scarecrow], Fozzy [Cowardly Lion] and Gonzo [Tin-thing] round out the merry travellers.
Miss Piggy takes on the challenge of playing all 4 witches. But hey, she's a pro, she can take it.
By now you're probably saying, "but Scraps, that's a kiddie movie".
First, shut up when I'm on a rant.
Second, that's the beauty of the Muppet movies, the multi-layered humor. Some of the lines that had me rolling on the floor, but went right over the head of my 5 year old fellow film buff:
Toto, turning knobs on Tinman's chest: "what do these do?"
Tinman: "nothing, those are my nipples"
Rizzo, during a fistfight between Dorothy and the Wicked Witch: "I'm getting out of here, somebody's gonna get witch-slapped"
Toto: "I'm so sexy it's painful"
Oh man, I'm laughing right now!
Part of the fun of the Muppet movies are the interactions with real actors, but there's not a lot in this film. Obviously Dorothy hangs out with them a lot, but the only other actor with a decent amount of time with the Muppets was the always entertaining Jeffrey Tambor, as the Wizard.
Auntie Em and Uncle Henry, by design somewhat small, but very important parts, were easily handled by queen Latifah and David Alan Grier.
Hell, even Quentin Tarantino showed up for a cameo. And he didn't drop an F bomb!
The Muppet's Wizard of Oz is a treat for all ages. It's a colorful, musical, humorous romp through a story we've all heard since we were kids, Muppified for our viewing pleasure.
This premiered on ABC, and the DVD won't be available until August 9th, but believe me, it's worth the wait. Hell, usually the purchase price of a DVD is worth it just to see the Muppet outtakes.
For music lovers, there's not an official soundtrack, but most of the tunes from the movie are on a sort of 'greatest hits' Muppet album...so not only do you get a bunch of Ashanti tracks, but you younger Bums out there get to hear what a Muppaphone sounds like.
I highly recommend the film to Bums old and young.
Added: Saturday, May 21, 2005
Related Link: Preorder from Muppets.com
Language: eng[ Did you find this review helpful? Yes No ]
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