2013/04/13

Oz, the Great and Powerful


Saw the original 1939 Wizard of Oz many times as a youth as an annual event on TV. In the early 1990s, I read a really neat piece in the paper (Believe it was the Washington Post) about Glinda the Good Witch being the manipulative mastermind behind the events in Oz. Consider the ending. At the end, Glinda's rivals, the two evil witches and the Wizard, have all been dispatched or have left town due to that young woman who has that elusive x-factor, good luck combined with youthful initiative. Glinda is the “Last magician standing,” so she makes the Scarecrow into her Prime Minister, gives positions to the Tin Man and Lion and then proceeds to rule Oz as a benevolent monarch, with of course an iron fist, with her devious, manipulative cleverness being hidden behind a deceptively nice, well-mannered exterior.
Read the book “Wicked” a few years later. Pretty good, but the author clearly got all sentimental about his character halfway through and Elphaba (His name for the Wicked Witch of the West) ends up being just misunderstood as opposed to really evil.
Saw the original film during a cruise in 2002. Really cool to see it all in one sitting and without interruption so that I was able to fit it all together in my mind.
So saw “Oz, the Great and Powerful” last night. I explained to a store clerk that the story takes place before the 1939 film, so it's a prequel as opposed to a sequel. It introduces all three witches, Evanora, the one who dies very early on in the 1939 film (Played by the only actor in the 2013 film that I recognized, Rachel Weisz), Elphaba and Glinda. Elphaba again has a rationality behind her actions that makes her more misunderstood than evil and Glinda and the Wizard both have a bit of a harder edge than in the original film. There's a bit of Mark Twain's “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court” to the film as the Wizard has to make do with what he has and must battle a truly evil army of trained warriors and flying monkeys with farmers and shopkeepers.

No comments: