Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

Oz Goes to the Movies (Yet Again)

bethje and I watched the Muppets' take on The Wizard of Oz last night. I'll give it ample credit for effort, but I don't know that it was that great overall. The decision to have Ashanti play Dorothy, and make her want to be a superstar singer, was rather bizarre. Not to mention that a significant amount of the movie had already passed before we saw a single Muppet. The poppy field being a club and the Winged Monkeys a biker gang struck me as awfully reminiscent of The Wiz. And while there were a fair number of jokes that worked, some of them were just wrong, like the one about Gonzo's nipples. Still, I'll give it some credit for being an Oz adaptation that sticks more to the book more than the MGM movie (although there were a few references to the 1939 picture; it's pretty much unavoidable nowadays, really). It even included Kalidahs, the Wizard appearing in different forms, and the Good Witch of the North being named Tattypoo (a name actually introduced by Ruth Plumly Thompson).

Speaking of Oz adaptations, there are some scenes from a currently-in-production computer-animated version of The Tin Woodman of Oz up on YouTube:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

There are also a few scattered scenes up there, including this one of Mrs. Yoop, who looks kind of like a combination of the Queen of Hearts from Disney's Alice in Wonderland and the female gremlin from Gremlins 2. I have somewhat mixed feelings toward what's up so far. The backgrounds are pretty good, but the animation is rather spotty and awkward. Maybe that will be fixed for the final version, but overall it looks more like a video game than an animated feature. I know it's probably quite low-budget, but I think they could make it look a bit smoother. The voices could also use some work, although some of them are pretty good, like the castle guard and King Bal. I could go on, but I won't, unless someone really wants me to.

On a few different occasions, one of the Oz e-mail lists I'm on will revive the subject of what actors people would like to see in a new Oz movie. I find the discussion interesting, but I'm honestly not so good at that kind of speculation myself. Someone on the Oz Club Forums recently mentioned that he'd like to see Nicole Kidman as Glinda, and I can picture that. Really, I think I'd mostly want to see unknowns in an Oz adaptation, although I guess it could be kind of like Harry Potter, with newcomers in the major roles and veteran actors in the supporting cast. Just so long as Dakota Fanning doesn't come anywhere near the project.

One weird Oz-related film that I recall being discussed as a possibility a few years back was an MGM sequel with Drew Barrymore as a grown Dorothy, living in New York and fleeing from a somehow still living Wicked Witch of the West. Come on, if Drew wants to play an Oz-related role, I could see her as Handy Mandy.



Granted, she's probably too old now, and the time when she WAS the age I imagine Mandy as being was when she was busy with her drug addiction. But then, maybe you'd HAVE to be on drugs to take a role as a seven-armed girl. {g} Also, in the discussion of the book on Nonestica, there was some speculation that John R. Neill based his drawings of the villain on John Barrymore, who was, of course, Drew's grandfather. Not that I think anyone would come out and say, "Hey, let's do a Hollywood production of the thirty-first Oz book!" anyway, mind you. But while we're on the subject of somewhat obscure Oz girls and modern celebrities, Jenny Jump and Jenny Lewis are both redheads with the same first name, who share an obsession with fashion. I'm just saying, is all.

Anyway, I'd like to open up the floor, and ask if anyone reading this has any ideas as to who should start in a new Oz movie, and what roles they should play.
Tags: books, movies, oz, television
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