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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science Fiction & Fantasy

Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

View Poll Results: Grade the movie...
A+ 2 4.76%
A 5 11.90%
A- 9 21.43%
B+ 11 26.19%
B 6 14.29%
B- 4 9.52%
C+ 1 2.38%
C 0 0%
C- 1 2.38%
D+ 1 2.38%
D 1 2.38%
D- 1 2.38%
F 0 0%
Voters: 42. You may not vote on this poll

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Old June 17 2013, 01:53 AM   #76
Yuletide Caroler
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
would anybody care to venture an opinion on whether I'd enjoy this film?
Not I.

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
Oh, and to be canonical about the first book (for those who haven't read it):
Dorothy never comes face to face with Glinda until the penultimate chapter.
When her house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East, she is met by the unnamed Good Witch of the North. The Good Witch of the North doesn't know how to get Dorothy back home, so she turns her hat into a slate, on which words magically appear, directing her to the Emerald City. When she is captured and enslaved by the Wicked Witch of the West, the Witch, in an attempt to steal the Silver Shoes, places an iron bar across a floor Dorothy is to mop, and renders it invisible. Dorothy trips over it, loses one shoe (which the Witch promptly snatches up), and (in a fit of unthinking rage) dashes the contents of the scrub-bucket over the Witch, who collapses into a puddle over the course of about a minute.

It's only after the Wizard's balloon breaks its mooring ropes, leaving Dorothy still marooned, that the Soldier with the Green Whiskers finally suggests asking Glinda for help.
Speaking as someone who has held (and read) a first edition copy of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and curated a collection of first and early editions of all the original L. Frank Baum books (including, by the way, By The Candelabra's Glare inscribed to his wife), as well as original Oz artwork from Denslow and Neill ... canon is overrated and almost entirely irrelevant. So what if MGM changed the color of the slippers from silver to ruby to take advantage of technicolor, the change worked. And so long as deviations from canon work within the context of the film, I'm all for it. If I want canon, I'll go back and re-read the original books and and enjoy the original artwork. And, for the most part, Oz the Great and Powerful worked. I'm happy we got a film that honored and creatively told a story from the Land of Oz.
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Old June 17 2013, 03:40 AM   #77
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

For those who don't get why the whole business of the 1939 film turning the story into a dream-fantasy gets my privates in such a knot, I refer you to Tolkien's essay, "On Fairy Stories." But to summarize, dream fantasy is an entirely different genre, one in which the stakes are basically zero. It works very well as a vehicle for absurdist political satire (which is why Lewis Carroll's "Alice" books work so well), but anywhere else, you end up with the 9th Season of Dallas, leaving your audience with feelings of betrayal.

The "ruby slippers" business was just an annoyance. And not nearly as big an annoyance as MGM's tendency to act as if they owned anything other than the liberties they took with the story, or the shocking number of people who act as if the movie were the canon source and the book was an adaptation, evidently not realizing that the book predated the movie by decades.
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Old June 17 2013, 04:31 AM   #78
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

I dunno, Chaucer certainly used the dream-fantasy approach to great effect. And, as illustrated by the Nun's Priest's tale, the stakes aren't always zero.

Or, you know, Inception.
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Old June 17 2013, 04:36 AM   #79
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

FWIW, I don't think that the intent of the 1939 film is for Oz to be just a dream.

Oz was the part in Technicolor, whereas "real life" was in black and white. Furthermore, the greatest endearments and most frightening perils occurred in Oz. The tornado is scary and impressive, but the Wicked Witch is scarier. The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion are quite familiar, and yet we end up knowing the farmhands almost not at all. In every tangible way within the film, Oz has greater reality than Kansas.

In the end, Dorothy can't believe that Oz was just a dream. Why are we supposed to put our trust in the words of characters rendered to us in only black and white, whom, again, we hardly know at all? The film is dedicated to the "Young at Heart". We can easily take that as a declaration that we aren't supposed to believe Aunt Em when she says that Dorothy "just had a bad dream", since what Em is saying is the "grown-up thing" to say.

Granted, there may not be much room in the film for Dorothy to have physically gone to Oz. However, the way the image splits in two after Dorothy gets hit on the head (around the 2:00 mark of this video), in my "head canon", I've always interpreted that as physical reality going one way and Dorothy's true inner reality going another.

I refer you to Tolkien's essay, "On Fairy Stories."
That's now on my to-read list.
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Old June 17 2013, 11:53 PM   #80
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Granted, there may not be much room in the film for Dorothy to have physically gone to Oz. However, the way the image splits in two after Dorothy gets hit on the head (around the 2:00 mark of this video), in my "head canon", I've always interpreted that as physical reality going one way and Dorothy's true inner reality going another.
.... Aaaaaand CorporalCaptain wins the BBS for the day.
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Old June 20 2013, 06:25 PM   #81
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

BTW, my take on Return to Oz is this:

Everything right with it came from Baum.

Everything wrong with it, whether we're talking gratuitous horror shock scenes that aren't in any of Baum's books, or conflation of The Land of Oz with Ozma of Oz, or Langwidere with Mombi, or utterly unnecessary (and in the case of ruby slippers replacing the Nome King's magic belt, expensive) nods to the 1939 MGM Oz, came from screwing around with Baum.
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Old June 20 2013, 08:34 PM   #82
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
Everything wrong with it, whether we're talking gratuitous horror shock scenes that aren't in any of Baum's books, or conflation of The Land of Oz with Ozma of Oz, or Langwidere with Mombi, or utterly unnecessary (and in the case of ruby slippers replacing the Nome King's magic belt, expensive) nods to the 1939 MGM Oz, came from screwing around with Baum.
Baum screwed around with Baum when he made the Oz silents as they don't follow the books precisely either. So the precedent starts there.
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Old June 20 2013, 08:42 PM   #83
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
For those who don't get why the whole business of the 1939 film turning the story into a dream-fantasy gets my privates in such a knot, I refer you to Tolkien's essay, "On Fairy Stories." But to summarize, dream fantasy is an entirely different genre, one in which the stakes are basically zero. It works very well as a vehicle for absurdist political satire (which is why Lewis Carroll's "Alice" books work so well), but anywhere else, you end up with the 9th Season of Dallas, leaving your audience with feelings of betrayal.

The "ruby slippers" business was just an annoyance. And not nearly as big an annoyance as MGM's tendency to act as if they owned anything other than the liberties they took with the story, or the shocking number of people who act as if the movie were the canon source and the book was an adaptation, evidently not realizing that the book predated the movie by decades.
We used to have a guy at work who, whenever such things came up, would declare that the 1939 movie was the best adaptation of book-to-film ever. I'd say "Interesting. I've never read it - how were the musical numbers described in the book?"
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Old June 20 2013, 10:06 PM   #84
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

"Baum screwed around with Baum" from one book to the next.

He had a right to do so: it was his own stuff. Not so with moviemakers screwing around with his stuff for no valid reason, in ways that were either utterly pointless, or detrimental to the story.

Just as Alan Dean Foster has been known to screw around with his own stuff (if I remember right, some of his Humanx Commonwealth books say that, at least until the Ulru-Ujurrians built the Teacher, and figured out a way, no KK-drive starship could even closely approach a planet, much less land on one, and yet other books say that certain small KK-drive vessels could indeed shut down their Caplis generators to make planetfall; likewise, there's at least one Commonwealth book that talks about the Thranx taking up body surfing, and even teaming up with a Human partner and acting as a living surfboard, while others characterize the Thranx as being deathly afraid of immersion in water, because their breathing spicules are along the sides of their bodies). For that matter, Tolkien screwed around with his own stuff, as well, but that doesn't mean I particularly cared for what Bakshi did with it (personally, I'm much happier with what Rankin and Bass did with Tolkien, and haven't yet gotten around to seeing more recent big screen treatments of Tolkien.)

Now, I will admit that the last time I saw the 1939 MGM Oz, Judy Garland was still living. But the heavily abridged Little Golden Book of Road, and the even more heavily abridged pop-up book of Wizard were far more faithful to both the letter and the spirit of the original material than any Oz movie I've seen.
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Old June 20 2013, 11:20 PM   #85
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
the heavily abridged Little Golden Book of Road, and the even more heavily abridged pop-up book of Wizard were far more faithful to both the letter and the spirit of the original material than any Oz movie I've seen.
And thank the Wizard for that being the case. I'm thrilled to have gotten a fun, entertaining (though flawed) interpretation of Oz on film. It's great too see it translated from page to screen. For the the strictest, purest, most faithful experience of Baum's Oz ... best to read it.
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Old June 21 2013, 01:58 AM   #86
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

Forbin wrote: View Post
We used to have a guy at work who, whenever such things came up, would declare that the 1939 movie was the best adaptation of book-to-film ever. I'd say "Interesting. I've never read it - how were the musical numbers described in the book?"
I know, right? The 1939 movie, while enjoyable in it's way, is probably one of the worst book to movie adaptations. It'd be like going to see the first Harry Potter movie but Harry is 25 and it's a musical. There's just so much that's different, but I'm not really sure how else they could've streamlined it for the screen.

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
"Baum screwed around with Baum" from one book to the next.

He had a right to do so: it was his own stuff.
And his stuff is now in the public domain for anyone to do what they please with as is their right.
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Old June 21 2013, 03:36 PM   #87
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

The Lensman wrote: View Post
hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
"Baum screwed around with Baum" from one book to the next.

He had a right to do so: it was his own stuff.
And his stuff is now in the public domain for anyone to do what they please with as is their right.
I don't think he meant from a legal standpoint. I see this a lot that people interpret things that way, maybe it's an age gap thing?
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Old June 21 2013, 05:18 PM   #88
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

And understand, I don't have a problem with moving beyond an established canon; if I did, I wouldn't love TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT, and I wouldn't have read every bloody ST novel (except for a handful of children's novels) ever released.

I'll admit that where M*A*S*H is concerned (and yes, it looks like I'm veering off into left field here, but stay with me), I haven't read the book, or seen more than a few minutes of the movie (I have seen the stage play, however). But it seems to me that it was a case of the television series actually being the best incarnation of the idea, and actually improved as it evolved beyond the original material: stereotypical Henry Blake and Frank Burns being replaced with much more believable Sherman Potter and Charles Winchester, Houlihan and Klinger evolving out of their one-joke stereotypes, experimental episodes, Alda vetoing a Hawkeye gag that turned out to be a repeat of one he'd actually done and forgotten about in an earlier season, and so forth. But this was a case, like TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT (and maybe, maybe, the Abramsverse), of expanding on the established canon, not stomping on it.

I have no problem with an Oz movie expanding on what Baum wrote. Or even attempting to answer the questions raised by Baum's own inconsistencies (like the passages in Land, accusing the Wizard of collaborating with Mombi, to get Ozma out of the way, that are conveniently forgotten two novels later, in Dorothy and the Wizard). Just as long as they aren't stomping on Baum.
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Old June 21 2013, 05:22 PM   #89
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
For those who don't get why the whole business of the 1939 film turning the story into a dream-fantasy gets my privates in such a knot, I refer you to Tolkien's essay, "On Fairy Stories." But to summarize, dream fantasy is an entirely different genre, one in which the stakes are basically zero. It works very well as a vehicle for absurdist political satire (which is why Lewis Carroll's "Alice" books work so well), but anywhere else, you end up with the 9th Season of Dallas, leaving your audience with feelings of betrayal.

The "ruby slippers" business was just an annoyance. And not nearly as big an annoyance as MGM's tendency to act as if they owned anything other than the liberties they took with the story, or the shocking number of people who act as if the movie were the canon source and the book was an adaptation, evidently not realizing that the book predated the movie by decades.
I strongly disagree that "Dreamland Fantasy" has Zero stakes. Very often, the characters are written to feel the Dreamland experience more profoundly than any experience in their life prior. Characters in their Dreamland Fantasies are profoundly changed.

I haven't read the Original Wizard of Oz books, but, I greatly enjoy the 1939 film, as well as Return to Oz and I also really enjoy the MacGuire Wicked Series.

I quite enjoyed this movie, gave it an A-, and if there is a Sequel, it will be most welcome in my eyes. As many have said already the Monkey and The China Girl were both awesome and the witches were great.
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Old June 21 2013, 06:00 PM   #90
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Re: Oz the Great and Powerful - Grading & Discussion

Mila is too damn cute to be a convincing wicked witch.
IMHO, of course.
Even with the nose and chin, all I see are those big beautiful eyes in that lovely round face.
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