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The Muppets' Wizard of Oz

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Title: The Muppets' Wizard of Oz  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, Michael Giacchino, Scooter (Muppet), The Muppets, Tin Woodman
Collection: 2005 Soundtracks, 2005 Television Films, American Children's Films, American Films, American Television Films, Canadian Films, Canadian Musical Films, Canadian Television Films, Children's Fantasy Films, Disney Television Specials, Film Scores by Michael Giacchino, Film Soundtracks, Films Based on Children's Books, Films Based on the Wizard of Oz, Films Directed by Kirk Thatcher, The Muppets Films, The Muppets Television Specials, Walt Disney Records Soundtracks, Wizards in Television
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Muppets' Wizard of Oz

The Muppets' Wizard of Oz
Official poster
Based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Written by
Directed by Kirk Thatcher
Starring Ashanti
Jeffrey Tambor
Quentin Tarantino
David Alan Grier
Queen Latifah
Steve Whitmire
Dave Goelz
Bill Barretta
Eric Jacobson
Theme music composer Michael Giacchino
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Bill Barretta
Editor(s) Gregg Featherman
Cinematography Tony Westman
Running time 88 minutes
Production company(s) The Muppets Studio
Touchstone Television
Fox Television Studios
Distributor Walt Disney Studios
Home Entertainment
Original channel ABC
Original release
  • April 27, 2005 (2005-04-27) (Tribeca Film Festival)
  • May 20, 2005 (2005-05-20)

The Muppets' Wizard of Oz is a 2005 musical 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.

A modernized adaptation of the 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.

The film co-produced by The Muppets Studio, Touchstone Television, and Fox Television Studios, in association with The Jim Henson Company. Pre-production on The Muppets' Wizard of Oz took place throughout February 2004, and filming occurred during September 2004. ABC made several changes to the film after the initial script was written, ultimately deciding to adapt plot elements from L. Frank Baum's original novel rather than the 1939 film. As with the preceding Muppet films, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz became a musical, and included five new songs written and composed by Michael Giacchino. The production marked the feature film debut of Eric Jacobson as the performer of Sam Eagle, a character originally performed by Frank Oz.

The Muppets' Wizard of Oz premiered on April 27, 2005 at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film's television premiere was broadcast on ABC on May 20, 2005, as the final ABC Movie of the Week. Overall, the film ended up receiving negative reviews from critics. Most critics agreed that the film was too mature for young audiences, and that the cameo scenes and popular culture references were unnecessary.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
    • Muppet performers 2.1
  • Production 3
  • Music 4
    • Soundtrack 4.1
  • Release 5
    • Critical reception 5.1
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


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 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 wolves, a flock of 40 crows, and a swarm of black bees to do away with them, Johnny tells her that the animals that work for her are unavailable due to personal 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.


Muppet performers

  • Steve Whitmire as:
    • Beaker: He appears as an Emerald City Technician. Beaker also appears at the end in the Muppets' show.
    • Rizzo the Rat as Mayor of Munchkinland/Himself. He occasionally aids Dorothy when she is in danger. Prior to Dorothy's journey, Rizzo is seen assisting Bean Bunny in loading equipment into the Muppets' bus. He returns for the Muppets' show at the end of the film.
    • Statler as Kalidah Critic #1. He heckles Dorothy and her friends as they try to cross a log.
  • Dave Goelz as:
    • The Great Gonzo as the Tin Thing/Himself: A robot in search of a heart. Originally human, the Tin Thing was turned into a robot by the Wicked Witch of the West who was angry at him for asking to leave her palace and marry his fiancée, Camilla the Chicken. He also appears at the end of the film in the Muppets' show.
    • Dr. Bunsen Honeydew: He appears as an Emerald City Technician. He also appears at the end of the film in the Muppets' show.
    • Waldorf as Kalidah Critic #2. He and the other Kalidah Critic heckles Dorothy and her friends as they try to cross a log.
    • Zoot: He performs backup for the songs "Naptime", and for the "The Witch is in the House", and appears at the end of the film in the Muppets' new show.
  • Bill Barretta as:
    • Pepé the King Prawn as Toto: Dorothy's pet prawn and first companion on her journey. In Kansas, Toto was a prawn that lived in a fish bowl in Dorothy's room. Strangely, Pepé doesn't appear in the finale with the other Muppets.
    • Dr. Teeth: He performs "Naptime", and also performs in "The Witch is in the House". He appears again at the end of the film in the Muppets' show.
    • Johnny Fiama: He appears as one of the henchmen of the Wicked Witch of the West, and is supposedly her love interest.
    • Lew Zealand: He briefly appears in Emerald City at the red carpet event, asking Dorothy to sign his boomerang fish.
    • The Swedish Chef: He provides the Bran Flakes for the Wizard.
    • Bubba the Rat: He assists the Mayor of Munchkin Land in getting Dorothy and the Lion out of Poppyfields.
  • Eric Jacobson as:
    • Miss Piggy as Herself: She appears early on with Kermit, and tries to get rid of Dorothy. She returns at the end of the film for the Muppets' show.
    • Fozzie Bear as The Cowardly Lion/Himself: A nervous and frightened lion stand-up comic that accompanies Dorothy and the others on their journey. Fozzie shows up at the end of the film in the Muppets' show.
    • Animal: He performs in the songs "Naptime" and "The Witch is in the House".
    • Sam Eagle: He appears as the Guardian of the Gates. Sam doesn't appear in the Muppets' show at the end of the film.
  • Kevin Clash as:
    • Clifford (voice): He appears as the manager of the Poppy Field Club.
    • Mulch (voice): He appears briefly in Poppyfields.

Additional Muppets performed by Adam Behr, Jeny Cassidy, Drew Massey, Gord Robertson, Geoff Redknap, and James Rowley.

Steve Whitmire and Dave Goelz appear as audience members at Aunt Em's Diner during the finale.


When The Walt Disney Company acquired the Muppets franchise from The Jim Henson Company in February 2004,[1][2] the Muppets were re-introduced to the public by marketing products and guest appearing on television shows such as Good Morning America and America's Funniest Home Videos. After a new film titled The Muppets' Wizard of Oz was announced by The Jim Henson Company,[1][3] Fox Television Studios, Touchstone Television, and the Muppets Holding Company signed on to help produce it.[1]

Filming took place throughout September 2004 in Vancouver, British Columbia.[2] Before filming, ABC announced that the production would adapt elements from the original 1900 book, rather than the 1939 film.[4] such as the Silver Shoes instead of the Ruby slippers. On August 25, 2004, it was announced that Hilary Duff, Jessica Simpson, and Ashanti had auditioned for the role of Dorothy Gale, but Ashanti had won the part.[5][6] When asked about how she felt about working with the Muppets, Ashanti replied, "I love children, and to me, the Muppets are just like little kids."[7] She also stated, "The director had to give me a few pointers and tips for acting with them, but the most important thing that I learned was to keep eye contact."[7] Also in August 2004, BBC News reported that Quentin Tarantino would appear in the film.[2]


Michael Giacchino, who had previously worked on a Muppet-related project which is video game Muppet Monster Adventure and would become an Academy Award-winning composer, worked with Jeannie Lurie, Adam Cohen, Debra Frank, and Steve Hayes to write five original songs for the film.[2][8] The five songs created were "Kansas", "When I'm With You", "It's a Good Life", "The Witch is in the House", and "Nap Time". "When I'm With You" was later nominated for a Primetime Emmy in the Outstanding Music and Lyrics category,[9] but lost to "Mary Jane/Mary Lane" from Reefer Madness.[9] Ashanti and the Muppet cast, mainly Bill Barretta and Eric Jacobson, contributed the vocals for each of the songs.[8] Ted Kryczko produced the album, Booker T. Washington White prepared the songs for recording, and Paul Silveira and Brandon Christy mixed the film's songs.[8]


Best of the Muppets featuring The Muppets' Wizard of Oz
Soundtrack album
Released May 17, 2005
Recorded Walt Disney Studios
Genre Pop/Rock
Length 29:52[8]
Label Walt Disney
Producer Sam Pottle
The Muppets chronology
The Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem, and More
Best of Muppets featuring The Muppets' Wizard of Oz
The Muppets: A Green and Red Christmas

The Muppets' Wizard of Oz official soundtrack was released on May 17, 2005.[10] The album was an enhanced soundtrack titled Best of Muppets featuring The Muppets' Wizard of Oz as it was not a film-specific soundtrack, but an album featuring the Muppets' best songs from The Muppet Show as well as songs from the film.[10]

Track listing[10]

  1. "(Gotta Get Outta)[11] Kansas" - Ashanti
  2. "When I'm With You" – Ashanti, Kermit, Gonzo, Fozzie & Pepe
  3. "The Witch Is in the House" – Miss Piggy with Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem
  4. "Calling All Munchkins" – The Munchkin Tap-Your-Knuckles Choir
  5. "Good Life" – Ashanti
  6. "Nap Time" – Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
  7. "The Muppet Show Theme" – The Muppets
  8. "Mah Nà Mah Nà"– Mahna Mahna & the Two Snowths
  9. "Bein' Green"– Kermit the Frog
  10. "Rainbow Connection" – Kermit & Muppets With Sesame Street Gang
  11. "Lady of Spain" – Marvin Suggs & his Muppaphone
  12. "Halfway Down the Stairs"– Kermit & Robin
  13. "What Now My Love?" – Miss Piggy
  14. "Tenderly" – Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
  15. "Happy Feet" – Kermit and the Frog Chorus


The Muppets' Wizard of Oz premiered on April 27, 2005 at the Tribeca Film Festival.[12] The television premiere was on May 20, 2005 at 8:00pm on ABC in the US, where it was rated TV-PG.[13] It aired in Canada on CBC Television, and in the UK on December 18, 2005. In the US, the film's official soundtrack was released on May 17, 2005.[10] Buena Vista Home Entertainment released the DVD and VHS in both the US and in international territories.[13] The film was released to Region 1 DVD and VHS on August 9, 2005.[14] The Canadian Home Video Classification System rated the film G for all home video releases within Canadian territories.[15] The Region 2 DVD was released on April 3, 2006.[16] The film was rated U by the British Board of Film Classification,[17] K-3 in Finland,[18] and G in Australia.[19] The DVD and VHS were released under the title Extended Version in the US[14] and Anniversary Edition outside the US.[16] The extended version contains 20 minutes of footage cut from the feature film,[20] including the footage of the Kelly Osbourne and Quentin Tarantino cameos.[20] The DVD and VHS included an extended interview with Quentin Tarantino, a blooper reel, and a behind-the-scenes look at the film guided by Pepe the Prawn.[21] In the US, the DVD and VHS release of the film was in a 1.33:1 (fullscreen) aspect ratio, whereas the international versions are in the original 1.78:1 (widescreen) aspect ratio.[14][19] During Macy's annual Flower Show promotion, the store's windows along Broadway displayed flower arrangements illustrating six scenes from the movie, while the store sold The Muppets' Wizard of Oz-related merchandise, such as plush dolls.[22]

Critical reception

7.75 million viewers watched The Muppets' Wizard of Oz on its television premiere night in the United States; it ranked as the forty-second most-watched television program of the week.[23] Michael Schneider of Variety wrote that it "performed solidly ... particularly with adults 18–34, teens and kids."[24] The film received mostly "negative" reviews from critics. At Rotten Tomatoes, the movie currently holds a 38% "rotten" rating, with an average of three out of eight critics giving the film a positive review.[25]

For the film's positive response, Kevin Carr stated that "When you dig down and actually find (and watch) the new Muppet material, some of the magic is still there."[26] MaryAnn Johanson of Flick Filosopher said that, "It's not on a par with the Muppet movie madness of old, but it's darn close."[27] According to the Bums Corner's review the film was a "treat for all ages, and that it was a colorful, musical, humorous romp."[28] Keith Allen of Movie Rapture gave the film 2.5 stars out of 3, explaining that the film's humor was surprisingly clever, and that the film would frequently make you laugh.[29] Mutant Reviewers commented that although the Muppet deal with Walt Disney was "disappointing", the film managed to be funny and witty.[30]

For the film's "negative" response, David Nusair of Reel Film Reviews warned that the film was "strictly for kids"[31] Nusair stated that although Ashanti can sing, she cannot act.[31] Joshua Tyler of Cinema Blend explained that Dorothy visiting the Wizard of Oz to become a star instead of going back home was a big mistake,[32] and that it showed how shallow society has become.[32] R.J. Carter of The Trades gave the film a B-, also stating that Dorothy's wish to become a star was a selfish one.[33] Ultimate Disney's review found that the extended version of the film did more harm than good;[20] Andy Dursin of The Aisle Seat said that the original film was "dull" and that the extended version was actually an improvement.[34] Cold Fusion Video felt that although the film was entertaining, it lacked the heart and wit of Jim Henson's Muppet films.[35] Bryan Pope of DVD Verdict said that the film drained the Muppets of their spirit and was slightly gratuitous.[36] Techtite TV reviews felt that the film was done poorly on all levels, and that the film was on the higher end of TV-PG.[37]

Other reviewers felt that the film's attempt to appeal to an older, more mature audience was ultimately a bad idea. Kerry Bennett of Parent Previews warned that it sometimes steered "dangerously off course" due to an excess of sexual content and violence.[15] Referential humor to the marriage of Jennifer Lopez, Manolo Blahnik style silver shoes, and films such as Girls Gone Wild, The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypse Now, and Kill Bill: Volume 1 were seen as too mature.[31][38] Cold Fusion Video judged the Kelly Osbourne cameo as "pointless".[35] Dursin contrasted the two guest appearances and found that the Tarantino cameo dragged the film down.[34] Critics were split on the merits of ABC's modernized adaptation to rely on plot elements from the original novel instead of the iconic 1939 film.[4][39]

See also

List of television films produced for American Broadcasting Company


  1. ^ a b c at the Jim Henson Company."The Muppets" The Jim Henson Company. Retrieved: April 26, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d "Tarantino to star in Muppets film," BBC News, August 27, 2004, Retrieved: April 26, 2008.
  3. ^ Gates, Anita. "Muppets as Munchkins: We're Not in Kansas Anymore." The New York Times, May 20, 2005, p. E26. Retrieved: March 11, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Adalian, Josef. "The Muppets ready to take Oz." Variety, March 15, 2004. Retrieved: April 26, 2008.
  5. ^ Norment, Lynn. "Ashanti: Answers critics & doubters." Ebony, March 2005. Retrieved: April 26, 2008.
  6. ^ "For The Record: Quick News On Ashanti, Usher, Phil Spector, Taking Back Sunday, Kanye West, Jay-Z & More." MTV, August 25, 2004. Retrieved: April 26, 2008.
  7. ^ a b Fonseca, Nicholas. "Wizard of Frog." Entertainment Weekly, Issue 820, p. 66, May 20, 2005. Retrieved: April 26, 2008.
  8. ^ a b c d The Best of the Muppets featuring The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. Walt Disney Records, 2005.
  9. ^ a b nominated for Primetime Emmy."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" Emmy Awards. Retrieved: March 27, 2008.
  10. ^ a b c d e Soundtrack."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz", 2005. Retrieved: March 4, 2008.
  11. ^ The Muppets' Wizard of Oz DVD Film Intro, Closed Captioning. Walt Disney Home Video, 2005. Retrieved: April 26, 2008.
  12. ^ to premiere on April 27th, 2005 at the Tribeca Film Festival."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" The Futon Critic, March 29, 2005. Retrieved: March 8, 2008.
  13. ^ a b at Disney Videos."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" Disney Videos. Retrieved: April 8, 2008.
  14. ^ a b c DVD/VHS."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" Retrieved: March 4, 2008.
  15. ^ a b Bennett, Kerry. ."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" Parent Previews. Retrieved: April 4, 2008.
  16. ^ a b Region 2 DVD."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" Retrieved: March 4, 2008.
  17. ^ rated U by the BBFC."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" BBFC. Retrieved: March 7, 2008.
  18. ^ rated "3" by the FBFC (VET)."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" VET. Retrieved: March 7, 2008.
  19. ^ a b  – Anniversary Edition."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" EzyDVD. Retrieved: March 7, 2008.
  20. ^ a b c Ultimate Disney DVD review."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" Ultimate Disney, August 9, 2005. Retrieved: April 26, 2008.
  21. ^ "DVD at" Retrieved: March 4, 2008.
  22. ^ "Muppet Wizardry at Macys." License, Vol. 8, Issue 4, p. 11, May 2005. Retrieved: January 17, 2012.
  23. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings." ABC Medianet, May 24, 2005. Retrieved: October 22, 2008.
  24. ^ Schneider, Michael. "The Muppets pull strings at ABC." Variety, October 24, 2005. Retrieved: April 5, 2008.
  25. ^ at Rotten Tomatoes."The Muppets: Wizard of Oz" Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved: November 23, 2008.
  26. ^ Carr, Kevin. Kevin Carr review."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" 7Mpictures. Retrieved: March 5, 2008.
  27. ^ Johanson, MaryAnn. Maryann Johanson review."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" Flick Filosopher. Retrieved: March 4, 2008.
  28. ^ "Bums Corner review." Bums Corner, May 21, 2005. Retrieved: March 4, 2008.
  29. ^ Allen, Keith. (2005)."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" Movie Rapture. Retrieved: March 4, 2008.
  30. ^ ."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz"Mutant Reviewers from Hell do Mutant Reviewers. Retrieved: March 4, 2008.
  31. ^ a b c Nusair, David. "Five Muppet Movies from Disney." Reel Film Reviews. Retrieved: March 5, 2008.
  32. ^ a b Tyler, Joshua. - DVD."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" Cinema Blend, July 31, 2005. Retrieved: March 7, 2008.
  33. ^ Carter, R.J. ."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz"DVD Review: The Trades, August 7, 2005. Retrieved: April 4, 2008.
  34. ^ a b !"The Muppets Visit Oz and Winn-Dixie Plus: Kung Fu Hustle"Kung Fu Craziness: Andy Reviews Stephen Chow's The Aisle Seat, August 10, 2005. Retrieved: April 4, 2008.
  35. ^ a b (2005)."Muppets’ Wizard of Oz, The" Cold Fusion Video, August 31, 2005. Retrieved: April 4, 2008.
  36. ^ "Bryan Pope review." DVD Verdict. Retrieved: April 4, 2008.
  37. ^ : A Review by Techtite."The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" Techtite TV Reviews. Retrieved: April 4, 2008.
  38. ^ Kelleher, Terry. "The Muppets' Wizard Of Oz." People, Volume 63, Issue 20, May 23, 2005, p. 39.
  39. ^ "Richard Scheib film review.", 2007. Retrieved: April 4, 2008.

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