Monday, March 15, 2010
It's a Dream Come True & A Catch 22
If you've known me for longer than ohhh... five minutes, you probably know that I love the, "Wizard of Oz." OK, to say, "love," is an understatement. I'm OBSESSED. And not just with the movie, with the books, as well. There are fourteen original OZ books by the author L. Frank Baum. But, there are over 40 total in the OZ cannon of books. Betcha didn't know that did you? I was so engrossed with Oz as a child I didn't have many friends. I sat in my room and read the books simultaneously, sat in the library at lunch and read, and even started writing my own OZ book. My parents said I pretty much lived there... I guess you can say I've always lived in some sort of a La-La land.
So imagine my surprise and sheer excitement when I read in the LA Times that the same production company as the "Potter" series, is considering remaking my beloved books into an on screen masterpiece. Now some Oz-truists (and believe me, there are plenty) are screaming, "NOOOO! NOOOO!" They shudder at the possibility of a remaking of the 1939 musical classic starring Judy Garland. But, I say, "Not Fair, not fair, at all." The musical does not adhere to some of the simple, yet main principles of the book, that was first published in 1900. For instance, Dorothy is only four years old when she travels to Oz for the first time, and although in the original book she is depicted as having long brown hair, the majority of the series she is a blonde with a cute, short bob. The infamous ruby slippers that we all know and love are actually silver and there are TWO good witches that appear in the movie. And perhaps the single most important diference between the book and the movie is that OZ is a real place. The 1939 movie played it off as if Dorothy was dreaming the whole experience, but really, she did travel to Oz which exists in another dimension. (And I swear, someone on the "LOST" write-staff is a fan of the books.)
So now that you've had way too much information about THAT, how about some more? I think I'm most excited at the prospect that the rest of the world can see just how cool Oz is. That's right, Oz is Cool. You have a magical land where people only age if they want to, education and knowledge is taken in pill-form and animals have conversations with you. There are amazing characters such Scraps the Patchwork Girl (above) and who is my personal favorite... Jack the Pumpkinhead, The Hungry Tiger (who likes to eat fat babies!) Polychrome, the Rainbow's daughter... the Shaggy Man, Tik Tok, the clockwork man (Thanks for the RIP-OFF Keisha)...
The list goes on and on. I could go on and on... I could tell you that the original Oz was written as a parallel for the populist political movement at the time. The second book, "The Marvelous Land of Oz," was written in response to the Women's Right Movement. L. Frank Baum's mother in law was Matilda Joslyn Gage who was friends with, and also considered more radical, than Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Baum often portrayed girls in his books as the heroine's and boys were often dull and stupid. (hmmm... he had somethin' there didn't he? lol!) Baum was also a theosophist and loved to study the teachings of Mme. Blavatzky and you can often find little metaphysical tidbits along your way through the series such as transfiguration, alchemy and reincarnation.
So, right now, I'm hoping for the best. I hope that whoever ends up producing the film will be true to the book series. After all, "OZ" was the first series of books ever written for young adults. I don't want to see Ruby Slippers, I don't want to see Anne Hathaway or Dakota Fanning playing Dorothy and I definitely don't want to see Dorothy "returning" to Oz. Dorothy lives in Oz; she has since the fifth book, people. And she doesn't have kids... so none of this "grand-daughter" business, either. Alright, that's enough... I've bored you to tears, I'm sure. Now you know just how crazy I am.
P.S. - And if any big-wig Hollywood producers read this and need an Oz consult, I'd be happy to take the job.
Posted by Sara Carns at 1:22 PM