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Frank Oz: "New Muppets Too Cute"

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Beauregard, Jul 30, 2012.

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  1. Duke Remington

    Duke Remington Active Member

    Upon that very point being mentioned, I gotta say that makes Frank come across as a bit of a hypocrite in that regard, saying that the new film was "too cute" even though Muppets Take Manhattan, which he directed, had the "cute" Muppet Babies.
  2. Gonzo's Hobbit

    Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    Well yea, but you do have to consider the fact that the "Muppet Babies" have a cuteness factor that wouldn't necessarily apply to the Muppets themselves.
  3. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    It seems hypocritical to me that you guys wanted to know what Frank thought and when you hear it, you start picking apart whatever he said. I respect his opinion and him as a person, but whatever negative thing he said about the movie shouldn't and won't get in the way of my enjoyment.
  4. MrBloogarFoobly

    MrBloogarFoobly Well-Known Member

    Jesus, whenever someone comes along who doesn't vomit rainbows, a faction of the Muppet fans dismiss them as "jaded."

    Oz is acerbic, witty, and has a dark sense of humor. He's not jaded. He's a realist. He has a point, although I don't entirely agree with it. The biggest problem I had with "The Muppets" is how it was blatantly emotionally manipulative. It lacked the subtlety of Henson-era Muppets. But I accepted that, good with the not so good, and enjoyed the movie anyway.
  5. MrBloogarFoobly

    MrBloogarFoobly Well-Known Member

    And THIS is what Frank Oz actually said:



    I agree with this entirely. Especially the last bit.

    "I wish people would get around to appreciating the performers beneath the Muppets."
    Reevz1977 likes this.
  6. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    The problem is whenever someone within the Muppet fandom tries to be realistic about something, others start whining and crying that those someones are pessimists who are polluting everything with negativity.

    But anyway, I would just like to point something out... so many people here have been saying Frank has no right to say the Muppets as of late are "too cute" because he directed MTM which include a "cute" Muppet Babies sequence... uh yeah, see the thing of it is, those are two different kinds of "cute": the Muppet Babies sequence was "cute" as in "D'awww, isn't that adorkable! Squeee!", Frank saying the Muppets are "too cute" is "cute" as in "This is really watered-down and sugar-coated stuff here".
    MrBloogarFoobly likes this.
  7. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Also, Muppet Babies was cute in almost a "so-cute-its-not-even-cute-anymore-its-hilarious", but also, I was watching MFC the other day and the writing for that is really grown-up and serious and the concern for Miss Piggy's safety is genuine, Gonzo's fight with the turkey over his girlfriend is played quite seriously, and you could easily swap out almost all the lines and characters from these "children's" puppet characters to a grown-up Christmas special with humans playing the parts and it would still work. You couldn't swap The Muppets into a film with humans playing the parts and it be even remotely realistic.
  8. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Wow, you know I never thought of that but you're absolutely right. What made the Muppets work is that they weren't treated like "puppets." :)
  9. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Often, if you watch the originals and The Muppet Show, and stuff like that, its obviously comedy (there's plenty of humour and puns and intentional humour and also loads of gags that only work with Puppets) BUT, the writing is clearly written as adults speaking to each other on an intellectual basis, this is not writing for a cartoon show or an after-school-special, but could easily be exchanged with scenes from Friends or *insert-normal-sitcom-style-show-that-you-enjoy-here*. And I think that may be what Frank means by saying the Muppets were never cute.

    Also, scenes like "Halfway Down the Stairs" or "Stop, Children", or "Turn the World Around" could also not be readily described as simply "cute."
  10. MrBloogarFoobly

    MrBloogarFoobly Well-Known Member

    This is exactly it, Beauregard. It's the same thing with the musical numbers in The Muppets, for me. The reason why they didn't reach the same level as the songs in the original Muppet Movie is because they were songs made for the movie and the characters, that don't work outside the context of the film. The music in "The Muppet Movie" can be covered by anyone because they're human songs, not just character songs.
  11. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    That was a subtlety that was LONG gone with Henson. It had more of that Muppet feeling than the past projects, but that's another thread all together. You cannot replicate something when someone leaves a project or dies. And as I said, no matter how hard you try, your personal style fails you. I'm surprised there weren't more Star Wars references in the film other than the inclusion of the WDW Muppet Mash up figures. They LOVE Star Wars too. HIMYM is FULL of SW references... to the point they're major plot points in certain episodes (Barney and Robin's Stormtrooper argument/ Barney's theory about how his first steady girlfriend hating Ewoks means she's older than she said she was).

    I think Frank was at a loss of words, and had a certain feeling he was trying to express that couldn't be explained. I'd wager to say he meant something along the lines of this...

    This was a part of his past career that he's since moved on from, but still has a huge personal and emotional impact on him. He's glad that people are keeping Jim's vision going, but feels that it isn't the same because Jim's no longer around. Jim would have done something much different than this film, something more experimental. This is more of a nostalgic fan driven project, while Jim was a forward thinking guy who was more interested in penetrating different markets with different visions and was always out to do new things. And of course the whole "I know the subtleties of the characters because I was them, and my close friends were the others." Not to mention the "can we PLEASE talk about MY projects now?" He can't be too happy if he's pegged as one thing and one thing only. Remember when they were filming the movie with Marlon Brando, and Brando kept calling Frank "Miss Piggy," to push his buttons?

    But here's the thing that I wonder... what exactly did he think of VMX, KSY, MwOz, and LTS? I can't say he'd be too fond of those, but no one asked. I think we can agree that he hated working on MFS, as pretty much EVERYONE did. Heck, don't Steve and Dave kinda act like it's their old shame?
    Duke Remington likes this.
  12. MrBloogarFoobly

    MrBloogarFoobly Well-Known Member

    I agree. I wasn't saying the movie was good or bad because of this. It was just an observation.

    Or, maybe he meant what he said. No need to speculate about it. He's a man of a few words, and the words he chooses, he chooses very carefully.

    I do agree that they should have asked him about his current projects. Fact is, Oz isn't with The Muppets. He's got his own life.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  13. ploobis

    ploobis Well-Known Member

  14. Duke Remington

    Duke Remington Active Member

    Exactly!

    Also, he's entitled to his opinion, of course, but it does not mean that we have to agree with him if we don't want to.
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Know what really bugs me? There is a movie I desperately want Frank Oz's opinion on. it's just not a Muppet movie. Now, the question that's been plaguing me for sometime...

    What did Frank Oz think when they randomly remade Death at a Funeral only a couple years later to be palatable to an American audience?
    Mo Frackle likes this.
  16. MrBloogarFoobly

    MrBloogarFoobly Well-Known Member

  17. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Probably never. "Normal" people who aren't necessarily even familiar with what it takes to actually perform a character think only of the "voice", which really isn't even half of the process it takes to perform such characters.
    Mo Frackle likes this.
  18. rexcrk

    rexcrk Active Member

    While I absolutely LOVED The Muppets (best movie since Toy Story 3 and hasn't been topped by anything I've seen since.... but The Hobbit hasn't been released yet ;) ) I have to agree that Frank Oz does make a point.

    But I think for The Muppets to work it needed to play it somewhat safe. This was their first theatrical movie since 1999 and they needed this to sort of reboot the franchise. Not really the time to take risks lol.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  19. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The thing is, it wasn't so much intended to be a safe film, so much as Jason and the rest absolutely hated the theme movies that the Muppets had to deal with since Henson's death. Disney didn't really tell them to make a safe movie, Disney actually considered "The Cheapest" movie, but they already had a written script for Jason/Nick's film, so they used that one. I wonder if Frank knew about that and felt just a little perturbed that they didn't use an older script he worked on with Jim. That statement is hypothetical.

    Jason/Nick wanted a film that was classic Muppet like in every way that they could make one. That's the "safe" part. And it benefited the film franchise for being a transitional/springboard film. Thankfully it didn't tank, like Superman Returns did, and we'll get another film that's more daring in its vision.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  20. Sequelcast

    Sequelcast New Member

    Drtooth, I think you're right with the the theory on "The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made" and Frank Oz having sour grapes. I'm hoping "The Cheapest" gets made as well at some point. I loved the new "The Muppets" film, but I am more excited to see what new territories the new film will explore.

    The one thing the "theme" Muppet movies had going for them was a stronger narrative to get you more invested in the characters as opposed to being a sketch film. The scenes of Michael Caine as Scrooge screaming at Kermit the Frog as Crachit or Tim Curry as Long John Silver saying farewell to Jim Hawkins had so much more emotion to them than the wacky, zaniness of the earlier films. That being said, Muppets Take Manhattan is my favorite for nostalgic reasons.


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