Because I’m an Auntie only with no young ones around, I set off to ask kids I know if they saw this and what lessons or wisdoms they learned from watching it. So far those that saw it can’t remember its lessons because it was awhile ago. It is available to check out on-line through Hoopla, a library service, which I did.
My first impression were the great “one-liner’s,” most which would go right over the kid’s heads, like Toto, now as a talking pet prawn, says to the camera “for those of you who have Dark Side of the Moon press play now.” Or when they land in Oz Munchkinland and Toto says in exclamation, “it’s a small world after all!” Once at the gates of the Emerald City, he says what happens in the Emerald City stays in the Emerald City. The gatekeeper pulls out a book, “Oz for Dummies”, as he explains what Oz is and what it isn’t. Obviously, adults were also the targeted audience. And for this reason, it was easy to get through. Ashanti, as Dorothy, sang new original songs along with her Muppet Oz friends.
This did stay close to the original story, with the Muppet twists, like the flying monkey biker gang of the evil one-eyed Piggy witch of the West. And the Wizard gave her friends what they already had, a brain, a heart and courage, after the adventures of bringing the Evil Witch of the West’s magical eye to him. And he makes Dorothy a star that only makes her miss Home. She travels back to Munchinland to see Glinda who tell’s to click her magic silver slippers 3 times and she can go anywhere she heart desires.
Did you see it? What about your kids? Let me know their impressions of lessons learned.
The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz is a 2005 American-Canadian television film directed by Kirk Thatcher and starring Ashanti and The Muppets with supporting roles done by Jeffrey Tambor, Quentin Tarantino, David Alan Grier, and Queen Latifah. The film was produced by Bill Barretta and written by Debra Frank, Steve L. Hayes, Tom Martin, and Adam F. Goldberg based on a story by Frank and Hayes.
A modernized adaptation of L. Frank Baum‘s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the story follows young Dorothy Gale, who works in her Aunt Em’s diner, but dreams of becoming a singer somewhere beyond her small Kansas town. Swept up by a tornado, in her trailer home with pet prawn Toto, she lands in Oz and embarks on a journey to meet the Wizard who can help make her dreams come true.
Dorothy Gale (Ashanti) is an orphaned teenage girl living in a trailer park in Kansas. Her Aunt Em (Queen Latifah) and Uncle Henry(David Alan Grier) own a diner, to which Dorothy works for room and board. Her dream of becoming a singer is slim, but when waiting on some truckers Dorothy overhears that the Muppets are conducting a cross-country show called “Star Hunt” and are looking for a backup singer. Aunt Em disapproves, but with Uncle Henry’s best wishes, she goes to the audition. However, the Muppets are about to end the audition, and Dorothy only manages to give them a demo CD that she created beforehand. In returning home, the civil defense sirens sound as a tornado is headed for Dorothy’s trailer park. When Aunt Em and Uncle Henry run into the county storm shelter for safety, Dorothy hurries back to her family’s mobile home to get Toto, her pet prawn. She does not make it out in time, and the two are swept by the tornado across the vast fields of Kansas. When Dorothy climbs out of the wreckage, she finds that Toto (Pepé the King Prawn) can talk and that she is no longer in Kansas.
Dorothy and Toto discover that they are in Munchkinland, a small town part of the vast Land of Oz. After discussing her situation with the town’s people, the Munchkins (played by Rizzo the Rat and the other rats), she learns that the land’s ruler the Wizard, has the power to grant her wish of becoming a famous singer. She meets the Good Witch of the North (Miss Piggy), and receives a pair of magic silver slippers from the Wicked Witch of the East (Miss Piggy), the Witch of the North’s sister who was killed when Dorothy’s trailer fell on her. Soon after, she embarks on a journey with Toto on the yellow brick road to meet the Wizard of Oz, who lives in theEmerald City, the capital of Oz. On her journey, she meets three creatures: a Scarecrow (Kermit), a Tin Thing (Gonzo), and aCowardly Lion (Fozzie). They are also seeking the Wizard of Oz to give them a brain, heart, and courage, respectively. The group meets various obstacles involving a deep gorge where the Kalidah Critics (Statler and Waldorf) are heckling them and a Poppy Field Club run by Clifford which nearly puts them to sleep. After arriving at the Emerald City and meeting the Wizard, Dorothy and her friends are sent to retrieve the Wicked Witch of the West‘s magic eye, a tool she uses to see anything she desires in the Land of Oz.
The group assumes that completing this task will result in the granting of their wishes. The Wicked Witch of the West (Miss Piggy) sees them coming and consults with her pet Foo-Foo and her henchman Johnny Fiama. When the Wicked Witch of the West plans to have either her pack of 40 great man-eating wolves, a flock of 40 crows of despair, a swarm of angry black bees, a group of vicious squirrels, or a group of bloodthirsty cockatoos to do away with them, Johnny tells her that the animals that work for her are unavailable due to various reasons. This forces her to resort to using her Magic Biker Cap to call Sal Minella and the other Flying Monkeys (played by Sweetums, Crazy Harry, Black Dog, Calico, Old Tom, Spotted Dick, and Aretha from Fraggle Rock) to deal with them. The Witch and the Flying Monkeys capture Dorothy and Lion while Scarecrow and Tin Thing are dismantled by the Flying Monkeys.
After being threatened to be killed by her, Toto calls the Munchkins, who set Dorothy free and hold up the witch. During the final battle, it cuts away to a scene where Quentin Tarantino is with Kermit, discussing ideas for how Dorothy can defeat the Wicked Witch of the West. Tarantino’s ideas are deemed too expensive and too violent for a Muppet movie, so they agree for Dorothy to do a powerful kick on the witch. Cutting back to the action, Dorothy kicks the witch into her own “bottled water bath” which contains tap water (to which she is severely allergic). Angel Marie admitted that he filled the water bottles with tap water to restock them. This action causes the Wicked Witch of the West to melt as Johnny averts Foo-Foo’s eyes. With the Wicked Witch of the West dead, Dorothy finds the magic eye unharmed and floating in the tub and grabs it.
Dorothy gains control of the Flying Monkeys by giving back the group’s Magic Biker Cap to Sal Minella. She has Scarecrow and Tin Thing rebuilt by the Flying Monkeys. Then she and her friends travel back to the Emerald City to have their wishes granted. When they all storm into the Wizard’s room, they discover it is merely a Hollywood effects stage and that the Wizard (Jeffrey Tambor) is just an ordinary man, pretending. He asked for the witch’s eye so that she could not see him for who he really was. Even so, he still proceeds to grant their wishes. Dorothy finally becomes a singer in the Land of Oz, but she realizes that all she ever really wanted was to go back home and be with her family. After traveling back to Munchkinland, she meets Glinda the Good Witch of the South (Miss Piggy), who tells her that if she clicks her heels together three times, she will be able to go anywhere she desires, contrary to how the Good Witch of the North said to get to the Emerald City. She does so, saying “take me home to Aunt Em”.
She is then spun by the slippers’ charm into Kansas, and, much to her surprise, she finds out that Kermit was looking for her, saying that she had the best voice they heard on the whole search, and that she has been chosen to go on the Star Hunt. Dorothy, having been reunited with her aunt and uncle, and feeling that she is not ready to leave Kansas to become a real star, rejects, but Aunt Em says that she wants her to go with the Muppets on their Star Hunt, much to her even bigger surprise. She then sings “Good Life” on television with them as the film ends.