Anyone that had a childhood can relate to the classic tale “The Wizard of Oz” in one way or another. However this year, Dorothy’s adventure will be altered… just a tad. So, what does this have to do with grass? Well, the wicked witch is green…
From the director of The Spiderman Trilogy, Sam Raimi introduces to us “Oz: The Great and Powerful” a prequel to the story that we all know and love. Not to worry, the film will still be brimming with flying monkeys, munchkins and witches – the most beautiful witches in fact. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams star as Theadora, Evanora and Glinda. Oh, and did I mention James Franco (swoon!) as the Kansas magician who embraces his chance to claim fame and fortune after he balloons into the Land of Oz… via tornado, of course.
The hype about this movie reminded me of a video that I watched last week. The speaker, Colin Stokes, uses humor and insight as he explores the junction of entertainment and gender. He analyzes movies like the “Wizard of Oz” and “Star Wars” and dissects hidden messages directed toward today’s youth. He used out-of-the-box tactics to frame the topic that made me look at films such as these in a different light.
I highly recommend that you watch the video on your own. Stokes wit and direction are extremely interesting and easy to follow but here’s a little sneak peek for those of you with short attention spans.
He tells the audience how the more and more you watch a movie, the more you start to realize how unusual it is. Stokes feels that today, parents are raising their kids in a “kind of children’s fantasy spectacular industrial complex.” However, the “Wizard of Oz” stands alone. “It [Wizard of Oz] did not start that trend,” Stokes said.
He compares the movie to “Star Wars” in which a metal guy and a furry dude rescue that Leia chick. If Dorothy made her debut today (along with her furry dude and metal guy) the wizard would say she was the savior of Oz and to defeat the wicked witch and her “computer-generated army.” Well, that’s what is unique about Oz in 1939. It wasn’t like that. Dorothy wins by making friends with everybody and being a leader. Isn’t that the world you would rather raise your kids in? So why not create that world. We must encourage today’s youth to excel without violence. Not everything is a competition, it is important to just be the best you.
Stokes progresses to say that the movies we show our kids are full of force, and not so much yellow brick road. Today, films focus on defeating the villain and getting a reward. There are other ways to earn rewards than beating someone in something or showing up the “bad guy.”
With all that being said, I know for certain that I’m excited for the film to hit theaters on March 8 and finally find out how James Franco arrived in Oz and became the ruler of Emerald City. Okay, not James Franco himself but it’s definitely a plus to watch his character, Oscar Diggs, ooh-and-ahh Emerald locals.
Let’s just hope the director has the original focus in mind and caches the uniqueness and true meaning of what we all remember as “The Wizard of Oz.”