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Saturday, March 9, 2013

THE WIZARD OF OZ


Yes, I went to see  OZ:  the Great and Powerful, in Titan XC and 3D.  There might have been at least ten others in the auditorium.  These expensive reserved seats with great sound are, apparently, not sufficiently terrific to sell.  I suspect, though, that this film will top the box office list this weekend.  [Not only did Oz crush #2 Jack the Giantslayer, the 8:1 ratio, $80 million versus $10 million for the weekend, is the greatest discrepancy I've ever seen.]  Rotten Tomatoes said reviewers gave it a 60% rating, while 82% of viewers like it.  About right.  The 1939  Judy Garland version scored 99% and 82%.  I went to the 1910 13 minute original, where RT said 46% loved it.

I should mention that there is a 1985 sequel, Return to Oz (RT - 52% and 61%), where Dorothy (Fairuza Balk) brings with her a chicken to Oz.  The dark nature was unsuitable for young children.  It actually received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects, but lost to Cocoon.

L. Frank Baum, at the age of 44, published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900, which became the best-selling children's book for two years.  For free, you can download the Kindle edition.   He wrote 13 sequels.

However, this newest OZ film is the very first prequel.  It follows the pattern of the 1939 movie:  swept from a black and white humdrum life into a technicolor Oz, with a yellow brick road and characters from the real life leading the way, especially magician James Franco as a minor rogue and cheat, who becomes good.  The ending is flawed as Oscar Diggs (the Wizard, played by Franco) just about gets married to Glinda the Good Witch (Michelle Williams).  A variation is that Glinda in the 1939 film did not have a counterpart in the real world, and, further was not romantically linked to the Wizard, while the latest had Glinda as the girlfriend that Franco sort of liked the most.  Prequels should at least be logical.

I should warn you that later to come this year is a computer-animated Dorothy of Oz, where voices are provided by Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammar, James Belushi and Bernadette Peters.


Dorothy returns to Oz, sort of like in the 2010 film when Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh drops by Wonderland again six years in movie time after Judy Garland.  No, that's Johnny Depp.


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