You may or may not know this, but I am a big fan of The Wizard of Oz. When I teach American history, I use the original book and 1939 film to teach about Populism. It is one of my favorite movies and I never grow tired of watching it.
I was very excited when I heard that Disney, who had acquired the rights to the sequels to L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1954, was making a sequel to the 1939 film. The new movie, Oz the Great and Powerful, was released on Friday, and I went to the movies on Saturday with some friends to watch Oz the Great and Powerful.
I had some apprehensions about how good it would be. Would it be true to the books? To the 1939 film? Would it be completely different? As the movie began and the film credits started, I no longer had any worries. From the first moment to the last, I enjoyed the film. It was truly a spectacular visual journey to the Land of Oz. from the review I read, the 3D version is even more spectacular. I happened to have seen it in 2D.
A few critics have found many flaws to the movie, and I do think the CGI effects were a little much. The original was so wonderful without the use of CGI, but I guess that many modern audiences would find a movie sans CGI a bit boring. I would not. However, the CGI was quite beautiful. I have to agree with Moviefone's reviewer Eric Larnick who wrote:
In spite of the impressive candy-colored landscapes seen in wide shots, too many scenes take place in front of green screens, which makes the production somehow feel hollow and artificial. This is a dramatic difference from the iconic 1939 Judy Garland film, which still boasts one of the most awe-inspiring and lavish set productions ever.
Mashable.com was one of the reviews that heavily criticized the movie. Most of their criticism, however, comes from little understanding of the Oz mythology. Chris Taylor of Mashable wrote:
'The Wizard of Oz' was explicitly supposed to be Dorothy's dream, which explained why the same actors were used in both the black-and-white and color sequences. 'Oz the Great and Powerful' is explicitly not a dream; we're supposed to accept Oz as real. Yet a few actors, or their voices, are still reused, and Diggs doesn't appear to notice.
In the books, Dorothy's journey to Oz was most certainly not a dream, so why should Oz the Great and Powerful also been a dream. Mr. Taylor seems to be confusing Dorothy with Alice, as Wonderland was a dream. Furthermore, Franco's Oz does seem to notice that some of the actors are present in both, though it may not have been explicit enough for Mr. Taylor.
Overall, I loved the movie. If you are the type to go to the movies, I urge you to see it. It was so much fun, even more so if you are a fan of the 1939 film and are knowledgeable about Oz mythology. Have any of you seen it yet? What did you think? If you have not seen it, will you be going to see it?