The 2005 Muppets adaption of the Wizard of Oz is pretty much what you’d expect from the Muppets. Our human actress plays Dorothy while the most famous of the Muppets are cast in the other main roles. So Kermit, Gonzo and Fozzie play the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion. In an odd twist, Toto is played by Pepe the Prawn (because they have similar names?)
Miss Piggy plays all of the witches (who oddly used to be a girl band together…okay). Interestingly the Witch of the West isn’t green (probably because it would be harder to make a new Miss Piggy Muppet out of green material), one of her sidekicks has green skin to make up for it though. Instead the flying monkeys, we have a biker gang of Muppets who are ruled by whoever wears a special hat. I’m not sure where that plot point came from but why not?
The film is pretty predictably, after all they couldn’t deviate that much from their source material. The main difference is that, in the real world, Dorothy wants to audition to tour with the Muppets so instead of wanting to go home, Dorothy’s main motivation is to become a famous singer which she naturally manages to achieve by the end of the film.
At first glance this film is pretty tame. But it did receive a lot of criticism for being far too raunchy for a kid’s film. Take a look at some of the proclaimed infractions:
• Dorothy says the shoes make her feel “sexy”.
• Pepe the Prawns problem (akin to the scarecrow having no brain) is “I’m so gosh darn sexy it hurts.”
• Pepe fiddles with knobs on Gonzos chest. Gonzo then says they’re his nipples and Pepe promptly runs away saying “I feel dirty.”
• There are references to the Girls Gone Wild series, The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypse Now, and Kill Bill: Volume 1.
• “What happens in Oz stays in Oz” is mentioned. Which has obvious sleazy connotations with the famous Las Vegas phrase.
• Dorothy goes to the “makeover machine” and comes out in a skimpy dress. In addition, a wolf whistle is heard as she steps out. Unlike the original Wizard of Oz, only Dorothy gets a makeover, which is pretty unfair.
• The poppy fields is represented as a night club. Which is interesting given the connotations of poppies with opium. But not really stuff for a kid’s film.
• The Wizard appears as a seductress when appearing to Gonzo.
• It’s implied that the Glinda Miss Piggy pinched Kermits ass while Dorothy was saying goodbye to the biker gang.
You can make up your own mind as to whether or not the Muppets film went too far in their desire to appeal to an adult audience as well as their children one. I will say that a lot of the more adult jokes went completely over my head when as was a kid, as they were designed to.
I’d recommend this film if you’re a fan of the Muppets franchise, it has a similar formula to their other films and does a pretty good job at working with the Oz mythology. I’ll leave you with the best joke in the film: