I know, I know. I’m giving this movie way more thought than it deserves. On the other hand, I had to deal with a day of foodstamps being down and people panicking because there’s going to be snow in western Pennsylvania (a phenomenon so rare in the winter it happens usually at least once a week), so thinking about this sort of thing was a great way to not be moderately to severely homicidal.
Same deal as last time: I’ll put the rest under a cut so the few of you who don’t want this cinematic masterpiece spoiled for you can skip over it.
Anyway, I was really thinking about how just a few additions, and probably a hell of a lot of subtractions, could have taken this from an okay movie to a pretty good one (like if James Franco had been recast as the talking monkey, who happens to get his mouth glued shut thirty seconds after appearing on screen). I wanted to go with how it wouldn’t just be a good movie, but a great one, and then I had a crisis of conscience because I don’t have my persuasion leveled high enough to win that bullshitting roll. And then I actually cringed at the magnitude of my own nerdiness. Moving along, here are some of the things that might have helped the movie out.
- More Evil Forest scenes. Honestly, there were all of two scenes there, which seems a little ridiculous after the way it was played up as such a dark and perilous place. We see Oz, Finley, and creepy china doll being stalked, then attacked, by the horrifying plant monsters (which could have turned into an exciting chase scene/battle/what-the-hell-ever), and suddenly everyone’s safe and talking about how that was pretty damn scary. Except it wasn’t. Then, of course, the bits where the audience finds out Glinda is a good witch. And then the flying baboons and Winkie soldiers chase them a bit. Okay, maybe three scenes. For something meant to come off as so pivotal to the plot, and by that I mean Oz going to kill the Wicked Witch so he can roll around in all the gold in Oz (I’m not rephrasing, even though that does sound absolutely horrible and a little funny), it certainly took up very little of the movie.
- Why breaking a witch’s wand “kills” her. I’m willing to accept this as a sort of exaggeration on Evanora’s part, as when her wand-necklace-thing was broken, it just made her old and rather hideous, or even clever phrasing. You know, how the “Wicked Witch” would die after her wand was broken…at the spears of the Winkie soldiers. If that’s not the case, however, it’d be interesting to see why the wands are so damn important.
- Ruby slippers, damn it! I know, I know. I’m starting to sound like I’ve got shoe-issues here. The ruby slippers were a key part to the plot in “The Wizard of Oz” (the main reason the Wicked Witch of the West keeps hounding Dorothy is because Dorothy stole her dead sister’s shoes…and maybe a little because of the whole dropping-a-house-on-her-sister thing), and they show up in this prequel a grand total of zero times. What were the capable of other than sending people back home? Why was it so important the Wicked Witch of the West get them back? I see this being something crammed into the (possible, but hopefully cancelled) “Wizard of Oz” remake as a solution to Evanora becoming old and powerless, so that way a house can get dropped on her.
- More on the Winkies allying themselves with the Wicked Witches. I don’t actually remember much of the Winkies from “Wicked”, which probably worked out in Oz’s favor. I’m just a bit puzzled by why they were all right doing some pretty questionable things under the Witch’s, and then Witches’, reign over the Emerald City. Is there a reason they’re just okay with doing Evanora’s questionable bidding without question? And how do they end up under the Wicked Witch of the West’s command?
I’m sure I could think of some more, but there’s only so much thinking up hypothetical fixes for this movie can accomplish.
And by “only so much” I mean “nothing worthwhile”.
The deal with the ruby slippers is that they are a trademark of Warner Bros., and Disney did not have permission to use them in the movie. Not sure they would have saved the picture anyway.
Interesting. I suppose I could have Googled that. And honestly, I just wish they had any additional depth via details relevant to the overall Wizard of Oz universe. Then again, that could probably just as easily backfire and make it even worse.
A charismatic, likable lead actor might have made it easier to overlook some of the other flaws. I know Franco has a good reputation from actorly types, but he was just wrong for this film.
We have put way to much mental energy into this flick, haven’t we? I don’t even like the original all that much.
Oh, definitely. I have a special spot in my heart for the original, but it was a big part of my childhood. And I haven’t seen it in years, so who knows. That’s about enough on this movie, I suppose.