Frank Oz criticises Disney for ‘smarmy’ Muppet movie

Sam Ashurst
Contributor
Muppets Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy arrive at the premiere of Disney’s ‘Muppets Most Wanted” held at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)

Frank Oz is a legendary figure in the entertainment industry, whose contributions to popular culture includes the performance and puppeteering of Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and Sam Eagle in The Muppet Show. But Oz appears to have fallen victim of one of the major risks for artists whose creations go on without them, he isn’t entirely happy with how his legacy is being continued.

Discussing the recent reboot of The Muppet Show movies, which started with James’ Bobin’s The Muppets, continued with a TV show also called The Muppets, and a sequel Muppets Most Wanted, Oz told IndieWire: “I thought the first one was really smarmy. These are my brothers and sisters working in the movie and they didn’t have a good time.”

Read more: Why are we still talking about The Last Jedi?

“The movie didn’t fill their expectations,” Oz said of “The Last Jedi” backlash. “But as filmmakers, we’re not here to fill people’s expectations.”

Read more: Netflix reveals first ‘The Dark Crystal’ images

“When we did movies, we had a great time because Jim was collaborative. That is not what happened in the first movie,” Oz said. “I thought there was wonderful things in it, but in general…I start to vomit when things get over-sentimental and sweet. It’s all because Disney doesn’t understand purity.”

Wow, pretty intense words. But Oz did have kinder thoughts about Disney’s most recent take on Star Wars, aka The Last Jedi, which he reprised Yoda for. “I love the movie,” Oz said. “All the people who don’t like this ‘Jedi’ thing is just horse crap. It’s about expectations. The movie didn’t fill their expectations. But as filmmakers, we’re not here to fulfill people’s expectations.”

But anyone expecting Oz to contribute to Netflix’s The Dark Crystal series will also be disappointed.

“I was asked to do it. I declined,” Oz, who directed the original film, said. “I don’t think about puppets. I think about character. I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be glib. I really don’t think that way. I don’t have any ideas at all.”

Read more: Jamie Lee Curtis Joins Rian Johnson’s ‘Knives Out’ 

Still, you will get to see Oz in Rian Johnson’s next film, Knives Out. “He asked me to act in it and I said, ‘Are you out of your friggin’ mind?’ But he wanted me in there,” Oz said.

“The reason I do those, and I believe every director should do this, is I need to know how frightening it is in front of a camera. And if I screw up, I can learn how to help when I direct an actor. Every director should get in front of the camera and see how frightening it is and how much the actors need you.”