I always tell everyone that I grew up in a family of bookworms. Hence my name is from my Mom's favorite novel. But what most don't know is that my childhood is also filled up with great adventure movies - The Odyssey, The Never Ending Story, Land Before Time, Fern Gully, An American Tale, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and my all-time favorite The Wizard of Oz.
I know the story was based on a book by L. Frank Baum, although Ive never read one. And that 1939 movie with JudyGarland is a timeless classic. And now when all things classic are being recycled, I wasn't surprised that Oz will be one of them. So it is a prequel to the timeless Oz every child grew up watching. And I'm glad they did because it wasn't murdered, butchered even like those old movies being re-vamped. It was given justice and it kinda shed the light for everyone to meet the real Wizard, very much human but worked on to be 'great' and 'powerful'.
First time I've seen it, I got entertained. Sam Raimi did a great great job with the special effects. I like the idea that it was black-and-white in the real world and then, all cinema-scope and colorful as soon as the Wizard reaches Oz.
The story is very simple. A carnival magician/ con-man/ heart breaker had to leave the circus for getting into trouble. The balloon he was riding got stuck in a hurricane. During the 'bumpy' ride, he promised to change his ways, be a good man, blah blah. As if heard by the Heavens, his balloon safely touched down in Oz and he was left unharmed. That's when he started meeting witches, mystical animal, etc. And is bound to save a Kingdom from an evil Wicked Witch.
The second time I watched it. I was not there to be entertained anymore. I put my thinking cap on. And refused to be distracted by the breath taking view of Oz.
The characters in Oz were mere representations of Oscar Diggs' failed relationships in real life. The witches were past lovers. Glinda the Good and the woman he left at the Circus were even played by Michelle Williams, how obvious could that be. The bell-hop-clad monkey Finley is his carnival assistant Frank, 'who just wanted his friendship' and little china girl was the same girl who asked the Magician to make her walk. And he did make her walk. In Oz, if that counts.
Let's talk about the Wizard. I was a bit doubtful when I first heard that James Franco was to play the Wizard of Oz. James Franco is obviously at the pinnacle of his career. The wizard being a ladies' man, not too serious about life or even at his craft. After watching Franco in This is the End, the role fits him perfectly. Creepy.
Mila Kunis is a gem. I love, love, love the transformation of her character from the beautiful innocent witch Theodora to the green wartsy broom-flying Wicked Witch. I was hoping she would sing Defying Gravity any moment. She may not have sung but she delivered indeed. Her voice was sweet as a pretty witch but was so angry when she turned green. So why green? Emerald City? The Wizard's favorite color? Green-eyed monster? Could be. Green because it's the color of decay. And as her sister Evanora, the real Evil witch, said, "That's your heart withering away..."
There were twists - who's the real evil bitch I mean, witch among the three. There was also romance. And action - the 'war' between Evanora's Army and the good citizens of Emerald City from tinkers, farmers to munchkins. But my favorite part was when Oz took on his 'ethereal form' and fooled the enemies, his greatest trick ever. And I guess that's where the heart of the movie is. The city believed in him. Glinda was able to see right through him but nevertheless, still believed in him. And he delivered. Not by magic, or curse, or spells like a real wizard would but he used what he knows best. And he drove the enemies away. At the end of the day, he still got the results they wanted.
I'm not really a critic. I'm just a very opinionated girl who happen to like watching movies.
Published by Karenina Delta