Oz the Great and Powerful: Wonder seeking a less wonderful life

Posted: March 11, 2013 in Movies

Oz: The Great and Powerful

The biggest homage that gets Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful in trouble with modern critics and audiences who know the original is not the 20 minutes opening black and white sequence that references the beloved Judy Garland classic nor the updates in ferocity level for the flying monkeys (really fearsome avian baboons), nor the lack of Dorothy, Toto, The Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, nor the lack songs (save for a half sung munchkin ditty cut mercifully short) and dance– it’s the decision to keep the acting in the same broad key as the 1939 version.  There is no method to the madness or acting magic to the wonderful things going on,  making everyone seem slightly miscast.   The 1939 cast was a great example of a cast hamming it up to cover up the fluff of the plot, (the three amigos were veteran vaudevillians, Garland an ingenue with a big voice, Hamilton a Broadway veteran  who knew the value of a good over emoting cackle for a green crone and the Wizard a has been actor who never saw better days)  that revolved around the insane idea that one little girl  after having the adventure of ten lifetimes would only want to go back to her black and white, uninspired, Kansas life.   Raimi wisely knows that everything in the wonderful land of Oz is eventually pounded to a stereotype and plot element awaiting the great adventure yet to be so he keeps it simple letting the new elements– the only true flying monkey  amidst an army of baboons, and a fragile porcelain doll holocaust survivor– essentially allowing sfx’s to provide the echoing humanity, until the curtain is lifted and the science behind the magic reveals the tin, the straw and the fear of the Wizard’s soul, heart and mind.  Oz has to go back to Kansas to a world of black and white, good and evil morals as much as Dorthy desires her home in the dull prairie and plains– even Wonder seeks a less wonderful life.  Oz the Great and Powerful gets a B.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s