A WEEKEND IN OZ
Oz: The Great & Powerful is nearly here but I never really bought into the hype. I think part of the reason is the film’s association with Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. It’s not really fair for another movie to contribute to my opinion of Oz but they are similar in so many ways. Specifically in the magic they both attempt to recreate. I understand Alice made tons of money worldwide but it didn’t deliver on the nostalgia I was expecting as a fan of the original Disney animated classic.
So I was skeptical of Sam Raimi’s attempt to do the same with Oz. (Even though I’m a big Raimi fan.)
This trailer actually sparked my interest thanks to a single shot at the end. The wicked Witch of the West always makes her appearance engulfed in flames and smoke but it’s never looked this good.
I love classic movie villains and the Wicked Witch is one of the most iconic of all time. Suddenly, the idea of a return to Oz seemed far more intriguing. Perhaps this prequel to the 1939 classic can deliver a worthwhile return to the Emerald city and beyond.
Yet, while the image definitely sparked my interest in the film, I still wasn’t convinced.
Like millions around the world, I grew up adoring The Wizard of Oz. It was staple in our movie collection. A tradition. So when my wife surprised me with tickets to see the new stage play I was ecstatic. It had been a few years since I saw the film and I was extremely excited to see the story play out on stage.
THE WIZARD OF OZ ON STAGE
It didn’t take long before I was transported back to the land of Oz. Before the play even began I remembered just how much I loved Dorothy’s quest to find her way home. Every scene, every song and every character brought back memories form my childhood.
As the play progressed, I began to think more and more about Sam Raimi’s new film. I found myself excited to see it for the first time. Why not experience a brand new tale in theaters? By the end of the first act I was sold. Oz: The Great and Powerful was officially a must see.
The play itself was amazing featuring a great performance by Danielle Wade. The winner of the Over the Rainbow reality show created to find the new Dorothy. The rest of the cast rounded out a night of spectacular performances even though one song was missing…
Perhaps it’s too much to expect someone to step in to Bert Lahr’s
BACK TO 1939
When we got home I put on the original movie and watched the adventure again. Full circle.
Suddenly, I had all the inspiration I needed to buy into the hype for the new Oz. I had seen all the trailers, the musical on stage and revisited the original film.
I don’t know if Oz: The Great and Powerful will truly capture the magic of the land over the rainbow as I remember it. Until my weekend in Oz, I was more than happy waiting to rent the film after it’s theatrical release. That’s no longer the case. I’ll be in a theater as soon as I possibly can to find out first hand what Oz is like nearly 75 years later…