And now, Scary-Crayon reviews...
The Muppets' Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by: Wes

Fucking terrible it was!Yes, the Muppets are back. Older readers probably remember the puppet crew even more fondly than my generation, but with them featuring prominently on "Sesame Street" and being the stars of the delightful "Muppet Babies" cartoon, it's almost a given that members of the early-twenties and under crowds have at least a little Muppet love in their hearts -- or at least that's what Disney's banking on in their plans to revive the late Jim Henson's fading franchise!

The entertainment sections of a number of newspapers last Friday (May 20, 2005) featured articles about the Muppets and Disney's big plans for them, marking that night's Wonderful World of Disney television event on ABC -- The Muppets' Wonderful Wizard of Oz -- as the first in a long line of Muppets projects geared towards restoring the Muppets' relevance to modern audiences over the next few years. Apparently, Disney thought that kids (and adults) would thrill to see the Muppets cast in a strange retelling of The Wizard of Oz, starring singer Ashanti as Dorothy Gale, Queen Latifah and David Alan Grier as Auntie Em and Uncle Henry, respectively, and Kermit and friends in assorted roles throughout the enchanted kingdom of Oz. Yeah, I have no idea what the bloody fuck they were thinking either.

"He just *loves* my popcorn chicken."Awful is an understatement. However, I'll be the first to admit that this could have worked. Admittedly I'm not exactly sure how it could've been done in a fresh new way -- The Wizard of Oz has been adapted to death; even fucking Michael Jackson has starred in one version -- but it could have worked, I think, with some talented writers behind the scenes and a whole lot less stupidity in the mix. But this mess didn't just not work -- it went above and beyond the threshold of pain and I have no idea how it made it this far without someone in an executive capacity slamming her fist against the meeting room table (you like that I said her fist, didn't you; that's progress, baby) and shouting, "People -- people!! What the fuck are we doing here?!?!"

I mean really, how does one begin to describe something so bad? How about with a disclaimer -- I didn't actually watch the entire thing. On the contrary, I only caught the last hour of the production, so it's entirely possible that the first hour was fucking great and that things took a sharp and sudden turn for the worse during the final sixty minutes of the special. I doubt it, though, seeing as how in this version they chose to transform Toto from a dog to a talking prawn (yes, a fucking shrimp) with a French accent. And even if that first hour had been spectacular, what I saw afterwards would've totally outweighed the good points and sent the scales tipping violently in the direction of the searing flames of Hell. I saw Quentin Tarantino (WHY???) pitch a spiel to Kermit involving Dorothy whipping out a Japanese sword and cleaving the Wicked Witch of the West into pieces in a bloody and violent action sequence. When Kermit rejected that idea on the grounds that this is a family film, Quentin suggested that Dorothy simply kick the witch in the face -- which apparently constitutes wholesome family viewing, 'cause Kermit gave it the green light. (And isn't describing something unsavory in a film pretty much as bad as showing it?) I saw Miss Piggy, as the leather-clad motorbiking Wicked Witch of the West, sing a horrible song about being a diva. Later, she dissolved into a skinny form and proceeded to gloat about her newly achieved weight loss before dying in a cloud of smoke and a fit of splashing water. I saw Ashanti, after defeating the witch as noted, don a magical enslaving biker cap and proceed to force the witch's servants to do her bidding (isn't she supposed to be one of the good guys?) before relinquishing the cap and subjecting the bikers to the whims and commands of the dumbest member of the bunch. I saw a bunch of rambunctious penguins jump about in their living room. I saw an aluminum-covered Gonzo seduced by a giant CGI chicken. I don't know what the fuck I saw.

Yes, it was that bad.

There's not much else to say -- The Muppets' Wonderful Wizard of Oz really was that fucking bad. Some friendly advice, Disney -- if you don't actually want to butcher the Muppets franchise and run it into the ground once and for all, you might want to consider rethinking your approach here. Just a suggestion.

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