The mere mention of American auteur Quentin Tarantino immediately invokes associations with hyper-stylised action thrillers like Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill. His penchant for cinematic violence often lands him in hot water, provoking criticism from viewers who do not agree with his subversive evaluation of the operation of violence throughout the cinematic medium.
That’s precisely why the idea of Tarantino appearing in a Muppets film seems like a fever dream, a crossover between two hilariously different universes. When it was first announced that the filmmaker would take on a cameo part in Kirk R. Thatcher’s 2005 The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz, nobody could figure out how the director of Pulp Fiction would fit into a universe that was specifically designed for children.
One particular news outlet was so shocked by the idea that while reporting the latest development in the production of the film, they claimed: “Blood-and-guts director Quentin Tarantino may be going soft.” Described as “a madcap adventure,” The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz is an adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s novel which stars the famous pop star Ashanti as Dorothy Gale and features Queen Latifah as well.
Tarantino’s cameo is so bizarre that it somehow feels appropriate, given his inclination towards the absurd. In an apparently serious meeting with Kermit, he throws around his own ideas regarding the eventual defeat of the Wicked Witch of the West at the hands of Dorothy. The only thing that Tarantino forgets is that he is pitching for a children’s film, making Kermit visibly uncomfortable with his violent ideas.
The filmmaker suggests a samurai sword fight to resolve the conflicts in the narrative, shouting, “I am talking kung fu! I am talking walking on walls! I am talking explosions everywhere! I am talking Oz in flames! Burn, baby, burn!” when Kermit denounces Tarantino’s passionate appeals for universal bloodbath, they settle on a final compromise – the simple premise of Dorothy kicking the Wicked Witch in the face.
Watch Quentin Tarantino’s bizarre cameo in The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz below. It’s a prime example of Tarantino being Tarantino.