QZ qz thoughts
a blog from Eli the Bearded

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

It roughly tries to be a prequel to the 1939 film that everyone knows.

But what a complicated story it has become. The 1939 movie strayed from the story of the book, and the sequels to the first book were inconsistent with each other. Now this creeps in and attempts to add a backstory consistent with the first movie, while incorporating some of the other aspects of the Land of Oz that are in the books, while being inconsistent in new ways with the books. For example, the china dolls freeze up when they leave their land in the books.

Donald Rumsfeld's well-known quote is apt:

You go to war with the [Wizard] you have, not the [Wizard] you might want or wish to have at a later time.

Glinda practically says as much in the film.

Things that could have been done to improve this: more characters from the circus world showing up as people in Oz. Oz should have had more of a reaction to Theodora's decidedly not-in-Kansas-anymore outfit when he first meets her (really, skin-tight rubber pants are pretty reaction-worthy in 2013, much less whenever this is supposed to take place). Evanora could have offered something other than an apple to Theodora. Yes, there is a parallel with the apple of knowledge in Eden, and the poisoned apple of Sleeping Beauty, but that's a bit cliche to me.

Things I'm glad were left as is: there were hints that the Tinkers would have made the Tin Man, but they did not, which is good because it would have been inconsistent with his backstory in the books. I'm glad the china people made it into this story. The world was suitably colorful, although I could have done with less of the sight-seeing. Different books handle the colors differently. In some books different areas have favorite colors, like blue and white for Greece; in others the colors are from the actual landscape, like the earthy colors of New Mexico. This movie doesn't seem to endorse either position.

Rating: two of three hot air balloons.

Final thought: I loved how in the books, the jealousy of a wicked witch iis instrumental in Tin Man's creation.