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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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Non-Review Review: Oz – The Great & Powerful

Oz: The Great & Powerful is a fabulous production. A few minor misgivings aside, it looks and sounds fantastic. Sam Raimi has done the best job bringing Oz to the screen since the original version of The Wizard of Oz all those decades ago. In its best moments, there’s an enthusiasm and a lightness of touch that fits the material perfectly and captures the wonder that we associate with Oz. It’s very clear that a lot of love and care was put into the production design of the film, and that Sam Raimi’s hand moved with the utmost consideration and affection for the original film. It makes it a little disappointing, then, that the script to Oz: The Great & Powerful should feel so undercooked, more like an early draft than a finished screenplay.

Up in the air or down to earth?

Up in the air or down to earth?

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Son of Danse Macabre On Sale Now!

I’m not a big fan of using the blog to give endorsements on how to spend your money – after all, I’m not even sure I trust my own opinion, so why should you? – but this is too good to ignore.

The wonderful Bryce Wilson from over at Things That Don’t Suck has published his eBook, Son of Danse Macabre. Bryce is just about one of the best writers on horror in cinema that I know, and he has a passion that shines through in his writing. All that, and he’s a nice guy. It’s always great to see a guy like that get a break.

Besides, any affectionate reference to Steven King’s superb (if sadly dated) horror handbook Danse Macabre demonstrates that it’s starting from a good place. As an added bonus, if you buy the book, Bryce is willing to review a horror film of your choice. Now that’s service with a smile. I’m just hoping nobody nominates Crossroads. That film scarred me.

You can buy the book directly here, but I also think it’s worth taking a look at Things That Don’t Suck to get a feel for his style of writing. Think of it as a massive and entertaining free sampler. If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.