Oz: the Great and Powerful: WHY?

I began drafting this post in the middle of November on the day when I happened across the trailer for Oz: The Great and Powerful, a new Disney movie being released in March 2013. As I have a deep love of all things Wizard of Oz, I clicked on the trailer. I did not even know at that point that there was going to be another Oz movie.

Apparently it will be a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, explaining how the Great Wizard of Oz got his job in the Emerald City.

My initial reaction: Why can’t Dorothy and us little girls who grew up with her have The Wizard of Oz to ourselves?

In all honesty, I should probably start this off by saying that I love The Wizard of Oz. As a child, I watched it so many times (hundreds, probably). I have read the book many times, too (but never knew until I was an adult that there was a whole series of books). I was in the pit orchestra (flute!) for my high school’s production of The Wiz. Dorothy and her pals are sacred to me and I know that clouds how I am reading the trailer for what will be the first major Hollywood movie about Oz since The Wiz in 1978 (not sure it was a commercial success but it’s definitely had a cultural impact. Also, Disney tried with Return to Oz in 1985 and I have seen that multiple times but I think we can all agree that was quite the flop). But I don’t care if my view about the new movie is clouded by my love — isn’t that what pop culture is about anyhow? Our own personal relationship with whatever we are consuming and talking about that relationship endlessly in all forms of social media?

Here is my rub: James Franco’s character wants to be a great man. He doesn’t want to die in the tornado that takes him to Oz because “I haven’t accomplished anything yet.” He is, evidently, part of a prophecy about “The Great Wizard from Kansas” who will “set things right” (according to Michelle Williams) by destroying the evil witch. “Your magic is the only thing strong enough to save us all,” Rachel Weisz tells him. Mila Kunis adds in: “you’re the great man we’ve been waiting for” to which he replies, “I think I could be.”

A movie about Oz where the dude saves the ladies because he wants to prove his greatness and fulfill the prophecy. Awesome.

Here is the movie poster:

A movie poster for Oz: The Great and Powerful. So much going on here. Wizard is surrounded by three witches, emerald city in the background, flying monkey on the right, evil witch on the left.

There Franco stands, in the middle front of the image, blonde white Michelle Williams grasping him around the center. The other two witches just behind.

The Wizard of Oz, on the other hand, is about a woman who feels lost and lonely in her life, desiring adventure. Her trip through Oz is about discovering herself, realizing what family means and who she holds close to her heart. It’s about home, comfort, love. Also, Dorothy is the hero. She stands up to Oz, she throws the water on the witch (while saving the Scarecrow), she leads the her friends down the yellow brick road and she discovers for herself how to get home. And Glinda is awesome, not cowering behind some dude.

The picture from The Wiz of the four main characters skipping along together.

A picture from the Wizard of Oz: the four main characters all in a row looking forward, the yellow brick road behind them.

The original Wizard of Oz story was enough for me. Do we need the dude version? IS NOTHING SACRED?

The reason I decided to return to this post today and actually publish it is because OPI announced that they are releasing a nail polish tie-in for Oz: The Great and Powerful. A movie about a dude trying to show how awesome he is and that his life has worth by saving some ladies now has a nail polish tie-in, which will probably be marketed to women. Seems right somehow.


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