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The Muppets Wizard of Oz 08.09.05

Old 05-20-05, 09:41 PM
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The Muppets Wizard of Oz 08.09.05

The Muppets Wizard of Oz will arrive on dvd on 08.09.05

You can watch trailers, clips, tv spots, dvd clips and look at pictures at...

Official Muppets Wizard of Oz Webpage

Bonus features include

OZ OOPS- More Hilarious antics from the Muppets as footage of outtakes and bloopers, scenes that never made it into the movie and equipment failures are all front and center.

Pepe's Exclusive making of-An exclusive, VIP backstage look at the making of the movie with the "star" of the film, Pepe the King Prawn.

Extended Interview with Quentin Tarantino- Hear more of Pepe's One on Prawn interview with Quentin Tarantino.

Also available that day will be the cd soundtrack.


also an interview

Q&A with The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz
Director Kirk Thatcher and Producer Martin Baker
Q. What are some of your most memorable moments from the set of The Muppets’
Wizard of Oz production?
Kirk: I don’t have just one memorable moment; I have a series of them:
1. When we finished our first musical number, it was called “When I’m With You.” We
shot it for a day and a half – and were all excited because it had the fun, sweet feeling of
the old Muppet show, a cute song done by the Muppets with a terrific singer in an
enchanted forest type set. We all had a feeling that we were doing something very
classically Muppets.
2. The day we shot with Quentin Tarantino was very memorable. He came in a day
earlier and sat and watched – he had a blast. He had tons of energy. I typically like to
ask the actors to take it to the next level, have fun with it, until it seems “too much”, but
with Quentin he was “up” for four hours, he had tons of energy and enthusiasm.
3. Jeffrey Tambor was a treat also. We let him improvise and I never yelled “cut.” He’s
such an accomplished actor that we let him just ad-lib and it always ended with us having
to cut because the crew couldn’t hold their laughs any longer.
4. David Alan Grier also adlibbed and was so great and funny! He’s a complete
professional, charming, always bringing something new to the scene. He’s someone I
would love to work with again.
Q. Martin, you have long history with the Muppets going back to Jim Henson days. How
was the production of Oz different from the previous Muppets films?
Martin: The significant difference is that we were producing our first major project
under the stewardship of our new owners, The Walt Disney Company. It was a terrific
experience and I look forward to the new and exciting opportunities I believe will be
open to expand and grow the Muppets.
Q. Are there plans for future collaborations between Disney and Henson?
Martin: Yes, in fact, this was the first of what we believe will be many joint projects
between Henson and Disney. Henson is working with us on another television special
currently before ABC, and they are also consulting with us as we begin to figure out how
to handle the increase in demand of the Muppet characters under Disney. The Muppet
Holding Company greatly respects and appreciates the talents of the core repertory
Muppet performers and, as the performance needs of the Muppets begin to expand across
all areas, we are working with Brian Henson and The Jim Henson Company to explore
options, including recruiting new talent, to prevent over-stretching this exceptional group
of performers.
Q. The last time you worked with the Muppets was when you directed It’s a Very Merry
Muppet Christmas Movie. What was it like working with the Muppets again?
Kirk: I love working with the Muppets! It’s like working with a great ensemble acting
or comedy group. Jim Henson was a bit like Orson Welles when he created the Mercury
Theater players, in that Jim created a great ensemble cast of performers that you could do
all sorts of different productions with. It’s like working with a family – very
collaborative and supportive, playful and joyful. It’s a great environment for artists to
work within. All the actors that have ever worked with the Muppets have come away
saying, “this was the most fun we’ve ever had.” It’s the same for directors!
Q. What would you say were some of the more challenging issues in directing The
Muppets’ Wizard of Oz?
Kirk: Creating the Land of Oz on a TV movie budget and schedule! It was tight, but the
Art Department created some marvelous sets. It was also challenging doing some of the
elements from the original story – when the characters meet the Wizard, they go
individually and the Wizard is a different incarnation for each of them, playing on each
character’s fears. For the Lion, he appears as a beast. For the Scarecrow, it’s fire. For
the Tin Thing, he appears as a beautiful woman, and for Dorothy he looks like big goblin
head. The Henson HDPS system (which allows you to control a computer-generated
character in real time) really helped us expedite production, given our tight schedule in
creating all these various creatures on an epic scale. This Wizard Chamber sequence was
the focus of our efforts for “wowing” the audience with a big effects scene that also
launches the second half of the film.
Our special visual effects were done by Technicolor/Toybox from Canada and they were
superb in capturing and rendering the various fantasy creatures and environments. I am
really impressed with the work they did. The Production Designer (Michael Bolton)
from It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie worked with us again and he and his
crew really outdid themselves. We were blessed with an amazing crew all around. They
worked very hard and every penny shows on the screen.
As for the schedule, we shot the film in just 30 days. That’s rather a short amount of time
for something on the scale of the Wizard of Oz, particularly with three musical numbers
and most of the scenes featuring groups of Muppets and people. To put it in perspective
it’s about the same amount of time it took to shoot Lost in Translation. A wonderful
film, but shot on real locations, with no special effects and two leads, neither of which
were puppets!
We realized at the beginning that we really had to be focused and know what we wanted
to do and how we were going to do it, without much room for mistakes or
experimentation – in the end I think we all enjoyed the challenge and the final product.
It’s a great sense of accomplishment to know you can pull off such an epic style film
under such tight constraints.
Q. Were there any on-the-set dramas?
Kirk: There was no time for “serious” drama – the real on-the-set drama was to get the
movie completed in time! There was actually more on-set humor than drama. The
pressure evoked many slip-ups. We captured lots of bloopers and silliness on the set and
those will be included on the DVD.
For example, one time Gonzo’s legs were put on backwards and we didn’t know it – the
crew accused Gonzo of being drunk. Another time, Miss Piggy had a long bit of
dialogue, and she forgot her last two lines so she turned her head away from the camera
and just started saying, “blah, blah, blah, blah!” hoping we could just cut around it or
replace the dialogue later…(it actually ended up being kept in the movie).
Q. What were some of your favorite moments on the set of this production?
Martin: It was as I always hope for on any Muppet production in that there is a
wonderful spirit on set. We have always liked to work hard and at the same time allow it
to be fun.
Q. What was it like premiering the movie at the Tribeca Film Festival?
Kirk: Oh, my gosh – it was great! We had the red carpet, the photographers, and Robert
DeNiro!!! It was everything you want your movie premiere to be! Most exciting to me
was hearing a theater full of 950 people and their honest reactions to the movie. The
good news was they laughed a lot. They were even laughing at things that I forgot were
funny! It was good for everyone and really put a wonderful finish on a project that took
over a year and a half of work to achieve.

Last edited by Cameron; 05-20-05 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 05-21-05, 10:16 AM
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I've got to say that I wouldn't recommend this as a blind buy to anyone but the most hardcore Muppets completist. I've literally enjoyed every single Muppets thing I've seen before, and even think something like Muppets In Space is a great movie, and absolutely love the Muppets, but this movie was just plain bad. I'd been looking forward to it for a while but was really disappointed last night. There was way too much Ashanti in it and not nearly enough Muppets. So much of the movie focused on her that the Muppets were just sort of supporting characters. I don't watch a Muppets movie for the human actors, I watch it for the Muppets, and when they get demoted to secondary characters, that's a problem.
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Old 05-21-05, 11:59 AM
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will it be widescreen? i know a few muppet movies in the past that have been released ONLY in fullscreen, which is stupid. why not release both? if you are going to favor one, why pick the worse one? i still havent bought those muppet movies (i think christmas carol and treasure island) even though i like them because of no widescreen.
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Old 05-21-05, 12:00 PM
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kingtopher: good post but you should at least buy it for their outtakes - muppet outtakes are freaking great!
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Old 05-21-05, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by atari2600
will it be widescreen? i know a few muppet movies in the past that have been released ONLY in fullscreen, which is stupid. why not release both? if you are going to favor one, why pick the worse one? i still havent bought those muppet movies (i think christmas carol and treasure island) even though i like them because of no widescreen.

given this was a tv movie, it could be any aspect ratio. unless someone with a WS tv watched this and saw ti in WS, i'd say its quite possible you'll get a FS dvd, if nothing else because it may be the only option out there.

that said, wtf was with skeeter's appearance? what happened to honoring the dead?
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Old 05-21-05, 11:20 PM
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I recorded this off the HD channel, Sorry to say it was not in wide screen.
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Old 05-22-05, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by randyba
I recorded this off the HD channel, Sorry to say it was not in wide screen.
thats kind of an odd choice in this day and age...but whatever...I enjoyed the movie, but If you look at my collecton you can tell I', biased when it comes to the muppets...
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Old 05-22-05, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by randyba
I recorded this off the HD channel, Sorry to say it was not in wide screen.
I watched it in HD, too and was dissappointed it was not in widescreen. Given that it will released by Disney, I'm not hopeful that we'll get a widescreen DVD.

When IT'S A VERY MERRY MUPPET CHRISTMAS ws shown on NBC HD, the broadcast was in widescreen, but the MGM R1 DVD was in fullscreen. I wound up ordering the R2 version from Amazon.uk which was widescreen. So it's possible that a widescreen version will be released somewhere in the world, but then again, it's coming from Disney who equatres "full-screen" with "family friendly".

BTW, I agree with the comments about there being too much Ashanti (not that she wasn't good) and too little muppets. But then again, how can you do The Wizard of Oz and not have Dorothy as the central character.
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Old 05-22-05, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Cameron
thats kind of an odd choice in this day and age...but whatever...I enjoyed the movie, but If you look at my collecton you can tell I', biased when it comes to the muppets...
I am too, which made me all the more surprised when I saw what a worthless flick this was.
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Old 05-22-05, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by kingtopher
I am too, which made me all the more surprised when I saw what a worthless flick this was.

You can blame Brian and Disney for their unwillingness to put out a balls-to-the-wall Muppet flick. They've killed the franchise by playing it easy.

But come on! Pepe playing with Gonzo's nipples? That's worth a purchase ALONE to see again.
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Old 05-22-05, 06:24 PM
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Count me in the camp of those who own/love just about everything Muppets... and won't be buying this piece of crap. Without a doubt the worst Muppet movie ever.

{Not a threadcrap... just more of a warning to those who missed it on Sunday and are considering a blind buy. DEFINITELY rent first. You've been warned. }
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Old 05-22-05, 10:04 PM
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by no means was if my favorite, but they did add some adult humor, and language....

These guys are right about Ashanti being in the forefront of the movie....but its nice to see the muppets on screen again
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Old 05-22-05, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by scott shelton
But come on! Pepe playing with Gonzo's nipples? That's worth a purchase ALONE to see again.
I wouldn't go so far as to say "worth a purchase" but I must admit, I laughed out loud.
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Old 05-23-05, 12:07 AM
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I found it fairly amusing. I recorded it, so I'll watch it again before making my decision to buy it. Yes, there was too much Ashanti. While she is pretty good looking, she didn't gel well with the muppets.

But, any new muppets is better than no new muppets. Hopefully this will kick start a real movie. Muppets From Space is one of my favorite movies to watch when bored.
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Old 05-23-05, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by mndtrp
Hopefully this will kick start a real movie.
Disney plans to increase Muppet merchanising over the next year or two to gain public exposure and release a new theatrical movie in 2007.

Again, I would normally view this as FANTASTIC news, except I'm now no longer confident in the direction they are taking this. I expect the '07 film to be filled with pop-culture references, fart jokes, and other "adult humor" annoyances in a vain desparate attempt to make the Muppets "relevant". A joke about reality TV every 5 minutes at a minimum. I hope I'm wrong...
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Old 05-23-05, 07:08 PM
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On a happier note, the muppets.com site also advertises preorders for the "Muppet Show first season, Special edition dvd" for $39.99. An important piece for my collection.
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Old 07-17-05, 01:13 AM
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this no widescreen thing is bumming me out
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Old 07-17-05, 01:35 AM
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is there a reason so many muppet movies arent WS? why do the people in charge of the muppets not get it? who hired those idiots?
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Old 07-18-05, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by kingtopher
I am too, which made me all the more surprised when I saw what a worthless flick this was.
Why do you always come here? I guess we'll never know. It's like some kind of torture to have to watch the show.
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Old 07-18-05, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by atari2600
is there a reason so many muppet movies arent WS? why do the people in charge of the muppets not get it? who hired those idiots?
I'll give them a minor pass on this one: it was a TV movie and not shot for HD. It's understandable why it isn't WS (even though everything should be).
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Old 07-18-05, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Walter Neff
Why do you always come here? I guess we'll never know. It's like some kind of torture to have to watch the show.
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Old 07-18-05, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Walter Neff
Why do you always come here? I guess we'll never know. It's like some kind of torture to have to watch the show.
What are you talking about? I'm a DVD fan, so I come to this site. I'm a Muppets fan so I watched the movie and was disappointed. Since I was a disappointed Muppets fan, I tried to warn people who might be considering a blind buy that it might not be worthwhile for them. There's no need to be an asshole. Why do you come here, Walter?
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Old 07-18-05, 03:58 PM
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Wow, kingtopher... either you didn't get the joke, or you're WAY too sensitive. I thought it was pretty funny.
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Old 07-18-05, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Chew
I'll give them a minor pass on this one: it was a TV movie and not shot for HD. It's understandable why it isn't WS (even though everything should be).
but it was broadcast in HD WS was it not...thats what i remember hearing...anyone see it in WS HD...possibly recorded it to compare screenshots
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Old 07-19-05, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Cameron
but it was broadcast in HD WS was it not...thats what i remember hearing...anyone see it in WS HD...possibly recorded it to compare screenshots
I watched it on the HD channel and it wasn't broadcast in HD. Thinking the affiliate just screwed up and didn't "flip the switch", I checked on a few websites and they all agreed it wasn't shown in HD.
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