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Non-Review Review: The Wizard of Oz (IMAX, 3D)

“For nearly forty years this story has given faithful service to the Young in Heart,” an introductory title card advises the audience, “and Time has been powerless to put its kindly philosophy out of fashion.” Although the opening of The Wizard of Oz makes reference to the classic series of children’s stories written by Frank L. Baum, the text is just as applicable to the film itself. It has been seventy-five years, but The Wizard of Oz still has the power to warm even the most jaded and cynical of hearts.

Dorothy is modelling our snazzy red slippers. Order now to avoid disappointment...

Dorothy is modelling our snazzy red slippers. Order now to avoid disappointment…

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Any Witch Way But Backwards: How Oz The Great & Powerful Erodes the Feminist Appeal of The Wizard of Oz…

I quite enjoyed Oz: The Great & Powerful. The visuals were amazing, and I thought that Sam Raimi brought the world of Oz to life in a way that audiences haven’t really seen since 1939. Despite the fact that the film was limited to elements from the source novels rather than the classic film, meaning no red slippers and the Winkie Guards chanting a generic “ho-ho-ho” instead of “ho-ee-ho-ee-oh”, I think that Oz: The Great & Powerful is the first time that a film has taken us back to that version of the wonderful world of Oz.

It’s a shame, then, about the script. I have a lot of problems with the screenplay by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire. Indeed, I’m less than thrilled that Kapner has apparently been tapped by Disney to prepare a sequel. While Raimi and his cast, and his production designers, seem to understand a great deal about the magic of The Wizard of Oz, it seems like Kapner and Lindsay-Abaire seem to have missed the point.

It’s a shame, then, that Oz: The Great & Powerful rolled on March 8th, celebrated as International Women’s Day. Dorothy Gale has been described as “the first feminist role model” and The Wizard of Oz is packed to the brim with strong female characters. Although Dorothy obviously can’t play a major role in this prequel, one does wonder where all the strong women have gone.

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Note: This post contains spoilers for Oz: The Great & Powerful. Consider yourself warned.

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The Not-So-Merry Old Land of Oz

Not cool. Seriously not cool.

It’s one thing to mess with my childhood by making a Smurfs movie or remaking Flight of the Navigator or Neverending Story, but it’s another thing to screw with my gran’s childhood. Well, at least it’s not a remake – it’s a long-distance sequel. Yes, Dakota Fanning has been cast as the lead in a sequel to The Wizard of Oz. And not only that, she’s going to be hip and cool while Oz itself is going to be darker and edgier – like every good Hollywood property. I’m cringing inside already.

One crossover I don't want to see...

One crossover I don't want to see...

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