Oz’s big box office take was a bit of a surprise. Let’s see if we can’t figure out why it did well.

Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Premise: (from IMDB) A small-time magician arrives in an enchanted land and is forced to decide if he will be a good man or a great one.
About: “Oz The Great and Powerful” just slayed the box office for a second weekend in a row. It has now earned 145 million domestically. Joe Roth originally wanted to pursue the project for Disney because, while at the company, he’d always struggled to find a fairy tale that revolved around a male protagonist. This was the first time a legitimate option presented itself. The studio went out to Robert Downey Jr. first, who declined, and then Depp (of course – it’s Disney), who declined as well. Eventually, Franco scooped up the slop and signed on the dotted line for a cool 7 million.
Writers: Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire (based on the novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by Frank L. Baum)
Details: 130 minutes long

oz-the-great-and-powerful-poster-1

I’m so torn when it comes to Hollywood. The idealistic part of me wishes the system would change. The realist in me realizes that’s not happening anytime soon. To that end, we need to keep studying what Hollywood looks for. We need to understand what they celebrate and why so we can best position ourselves to break in. Does that mean we shouldn’t put our own twist on things? Our own voice? Of course not. But it doesn’t hurt to understand the system when writing for the system.

“Oz The Great And Powerful” is that bread and butter movie Hollywood makes in order to fill their coffers with money. It’s what they make so they can make more movies. So they can keep their parent companies happy. So those companies can keep their shareholders happy. It’s big. It’s the kind of “event” movie you have to see in the theater. It caters to just about every demographic. And it can turn into a franchise – the most desirable of all Hollywood products.

But it also brings up some interesting questions, such as, “How come THIS Hollywood movie was a success ($80 million opening weekend)? And Jack The Giant Slayer, which I saw a couple of weeks ago, was a bomb ($27 million opening weekend)?” They’re both catering to the same audiences. They’re both 3-D. They’re both event pictures you need to see in the theaters. They’re both based on pre-existing properties (both within the public domain I believe). How come one became a mega-hit and the other a smudge on the box office sidewalk?

And don’t give me this nonsense that The Wizard Of Oz was a bigger property. They’ve made TONS of Wizard of Oz related movies/series since the original and almost all of them have been disasters (“Tin Man,” “Return to Oz,” “The Wiz.”). I actually thought “Oz The Great and Powerful” was going to bomb big time. I thought an early draft of the script was troubled. I thought the previews were too shiny and CGI-ey. I didn’t think James Franco could front a movie of this magnitude (Am I the only one who thinks he’s never not been stoned during a performance?). I just thought the whole thing was a miscalculation. Then it did well, catching me off guard. And I thought, “Damn, now I have to figure out why.”

So I guess the first question is, was the movie any different from the draft of the script I read? Yes. The big problem I had with the script was that Oz’s flaw wasn’t defined. It was wishy-washy. I couldn’t figure out if he was good at what he did or not, if he was a moron or a genius illusionist. This was a HUGE deal since the entire movie was about Oz and his journey. If we didn’t see a clear flaw in him that needed to be rectified, then we were watching a man for 120 minutes that we had no emotional attachment to.

The movie makes Oz’s character much clearer. He isn’t perfect, but for example, we know after those opening scenes that Oz is actually good at what he does – fooling people. There’s a great moment in his opening magic act where he’s doing the cliché “floating covered body” trick. Someone from the back of the crowd screams that they “spot a wire.” Indeed, we see wires clearly holding up the body. We think Oz is screwed. But then he whips out some scissors and cuts all the wires down. The body still floats! He planned for this, telling us that this guy is good at what he does, even if what he does is sleazy. That stuff was way too muddled in the script.

His flaw, it turns out (which is so much clearer in the movie), is that he’ll sacrifice anything or anyone for a woman or a piece of gold. He’s selfish. He’s all about himself. This is the defining characteristic that’s driving his inner journey.

We see this early on when he selfishly screws over a couple of women. And that turned out to be a smart move as it better sets up our anticipation of how he’s going to screw over Theodora. As she grows to love him on their initial journey to the Emerald City, it’s clear he only sees her as a one-night stand. We then feel that tension in their dialogue from his side. Their dialogue basically starts working from a dramatic irony standpoint. WE know he’s going to screw her over later. SHE does not. It was little things like this that I didn’t see in the script because the effort hadn’t yet been put into solidifying Oz’s flaw.

Once we get to Oz, I thought the film moved much better than the script. It looks like they really hammered out the plot points. In the script, it felt like we were stumbling around with no purpose. Here, it’s always made clear where we’re going and why. For example, Theodora needs to bring Oz back to the city so he can meet her sister and start preparing to take down the Wicked Witch. A clear goal! After they get to Oz, Evanora (Theodora’s sister) sends Oz to go kill the Wicked Witch. Again, a clear goal. Just the other day, we were discussing the sequencing method. This film/script is a good example of how to use that approach to keep a complex story focused.

Another thing they did a really good job with was the climax. Structuring an ending that big with that many characters is REALLY HARD. You have to figure out a believable way to get all of your characters exactly where they need to be at specific times. For example, they needed a way to have the witches capture Glinda so they could use her as bait against Oz, all while the main battle and several different subplots were going on. I thought the writers got through this section very smoothly, which is rarely the case.

But more importantly, I loved that OZ’S FLAW WAS DRIVING THE CLIMAX. This is something that wasn’t there in the script. Remember, we, the audience, care about the CHARACTERS FIRST. We have to want to follow them. We have to want to see them improve – get better – learn. The third act is the showcase act to do this. And when Franco used his specific skills to come up with a plan to defeat the witches, we were into it. And when he had a chance to leave (spoilers), we were hoping he wouldn’t go. And when he did, we were devastated. And when he came back, we were thrilled. None of that works without all that preparation that happened in the opening act establishing Oz’s character. And that stuff simply wasn’t there in the draft that I read. Which is why, while this battle is relatively the same as it was in the script, I cared much more in the movie. Because this time, I got to see the hero transforming.

Unfortunately, everything listed above only answers why the final script for Oz was better. It doesn’t explain the 53 million dollar difference in box office take on opening weekend between it and “Jack The Giant Slayer.” That’s what screenwriters have to study. That’s what they must understand.

I do think the pre-existing property helped. Who doesn’t know about “The Wizard of Oz?” So you have that going for you. But the big answer here actually lies in something determined by the screenwriter (as well as the director): Creativity. Imagination. When you watch the trailers of “Oz” and “Giant Slayer” back to back, you see more imagination in “Oz.” I’ll never forget one of the first pieces of advice an agent gave me when I arrived in LA. “These are tent pole movies. You gotta give the audience something they’ve never seen before.” Oz The Great and Powerful was giving us more stuff we hadn’t seen before. Jack the Giant Slayer, in retrospect, looked a bit familiar. It’s no different from how a movie like Alice In Wonderland (a dreadful execution of the story if there ever was one) made a billion dollars. It looked so damn imaginative. It gave you a ton of stuff you’d never seen before.

And it’s why a movie like The Lone Ranger should be worried that it might take in 50 million on its opening weekend as opposed to the 90 it wants. Do we see anything different, new, imaginative, original, in The Long Ranger trailers? I don’t think so. Maybe their future trailers will show that imagination and they’ll make a last second rally. But right now, it’s looking pretty standard.

I’m not going to say that Oz is a classic or anything ridiculous like that. But it was a fun movie that achieved exactly what it set out to do. It gave us a big world and a big story centered around a complex character who learned to be a better person by the end. That’s how you write a blockbuster, folks.

[ ] what the hell did I just watch? Kill me now.
[ ] wasn’t for me
[xx] worth the price of admission
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: In scenes/relationships driven by dramatic irony, you want to raise the stakes with the person not in on the secret. So once Oz spends the night with Theodora, she thinks they’re getting married, that they’re going to become king and queen. He, on the other hand, is thinking he’s going to ditch her once they get to the Emerald City. Notice, then, how the writers showcase how much Theodora likes him. She talks about how she can’t wait to rule with him, how much she likes him, etc. etc. With every stakes-raising declaration, the dramatic irony behind the dialogue becomes more and more intense (we’re thinking – oh my god, she’s going to be PISSED when she finds out he’s not interested in her).

  • Poe_Serling

    1939…

    The year that filmdom’s mothership landed to the delight of future movie buffs
    everywhere.

    Its cinematic payload? A string of classic pictures that stretch from Atlanta to Emerald
    City.

    Even legendary screenwriter William Goldman dedicated a page or two in his book Adventures in the Screen Trade about this magic year in Hollywood history.

    During this particular time, Tinseltown’s top directors,writers, stars, etc. churned out some of the most memorable films of all-time:

    Gone with the Wind
    Dark Victory
    Gunga Din
    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
    The Women
    Beau Geste
    The Four Feathers
    Goodbye, Mr. Chips
    Only Angels Have Wings
    Ninotchka
    Of Mice and Men
    Wuthering Heights
    Love Affair
    Stagecoach
    Drums Along the Mohawk
    The Hound of the Baskervilles
    Destry Rides Again
    The Roaring Twenties
    and so many more.

    My Personal Favorites
    5)The Cat and the Canary
    4)The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
    3)The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    2)Young Mr. Lincoln
    1)The Wizard of Oz

    • filmklassik

      While I agree that OZ, WIND, GESTE, ANGELS, HUNCHBACK, FOUR FEATHERS, GUNGA DIN, STAGECOACH, OF MICE AND MEN are all wonderful motion pictures, some of the others on that list are a bit overrated in my opinion.

      But regardless, you’re correct that 1939 was a terrific year for movies and I’d love to see more people (Millennials, especially) giving a **** about movies produced before BONNIE AND CLYDE.

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey filmklassik-

        You’re absolutely right… not all the films on my laundry list of ’39 are 5-star classics, but most are worth checking out on a rainy afternoon or a lazy Saturday if you have nothing better to do. ;-)

    • ArabyChic

      Really? People are giving Serling the “thumbs down” for writing this? Is there a staunch “1986 is the best year in film” cult that refuses to be in the shadow of 1939?

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey ArabyChic-

        Yeah, I was warned privately by Carson that my posts were becoming too controversial and polarizing…. I guess he was right. ;-)

        • garrett_h

          Really? Wow…

          If your posts are controversial and polarizing, I’d hate to see what they say to Carson about Grendl’s…

          • Poe_Serling

            Oh, I’m just joking around… unless my comments about Carson and his banana bread escapades are coming back to haunt me.

        • ArabyChic

          By the way… 1986? Goood year in film. I take it back, Poe. You’re in trouble.

          • Poe_Serling

            1986…

            Aliens
            Platoon
            The Hitcher

            … I better stop while I’m ahead. ;-)

    • New_E

      1939… brilliant year for movies. Only rivaled by 1960 IMO as the year with most masterpieces released (domestically & internationally).

      E

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey New_E-

        I should’ve added Renoir’s The Rules of the Game and Marcel Carne’s Le Jour Se Leve (Daybreak) to my ’39 list for some international flair…

        Have you had a chance to watch Home Before Dark yet?.. just curious if you liked it or not.

        • New_E

          Not yet Poe, the movie is sitting on my shelf. I’m so behind. Didn’t get to it yet. Full report as soon as watch it!

          E

          • Poe_Serling

            Thanks for update. ;-)

    • gazrow

      Great stuff as always, Poe!

      • Poe_Serling

        Thanks, g-
        Nice to see you chime in. You’ve been keeping a low profile as of late – ‘offline’ business keeping you busy?

        • gazrow

          Yep. I’m more offline than online these days. Determined to nail the rewrite!

          • Poe_Serling

            Good for you!

    • gazrow

      Glad you mentioned The Hunchback of Notre Dame in your list. It’s a classic! Charles Laughton playing Quasimodo was fantastic!

      • Poe_Serling

        You should check out Night of the Hunter… a film from ’55… It was Laughton’s one and only film directing effort…. and it’s a knockout.

        Here a ‘psychotic religious fanatic chases a couple of homeless children across the countryside for money stolen by their father.’

        Robert Mitchum is at his menacing best.

        • gazrow

          Sounds great. It’s now on my watch list!

  • m_v_s

    I caught this over the weekend and agreed with your original script review – there was no pull or interest in James Franco’s character. I was willing all the characters to get on with it and end the sorry mess this film ended up being.

    I really liked the opening B&W section, some directorial flushes (an askew diagonial push-in on a character – classic!) but the film was not the sum of its parts. It felt like a hollow, shallow, multiplex experience and – granted – it’s turned in the green but I very much doubt this will be a film that is looked back on with any great care or thought.

    You got the review right the first time, definitely not for me!

  • Frankie Hollywood

    “You gotta give the audience something they’ve never seen before.”
    “It gave you a ton of stuff you’d never seen before.”

    When I get done writing a scene I always read a notecard I wrote out last year:

    “Be Objective, be Honest. Has this scene given the audience anything New, something Original? In either Dialogue or Action, preferably BOTH!”

    Traveling by bubbles, a “live” China Doll, Wicked Witch coming out of the fire…

    Even Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

    $80 Million opening, bet it would’ve done $110 million + with Robert Downey Jr. Yeah, Franco, he’s best as a stoner sidekick.

  • grendl

    There is a reason Frank Baum and Lewis Carroll and Roald Dahl had children as the protagonists in their books. Because they’re children’s stories.
    Why are we following the exploits of a grown man into Oz? Are adults going to enter Terabithia next? Or Narnia?
    Why?
    These are stories about our formative years, like fairy tales we were supposed to learn all this shit early in our youths. What is the deal with dredging up childhood properties to make them accessible to adults, unless those adults have experience some sort of emotional retardation in the maturation process.
    Anyways, so this bland actor who thought he could smile his way stonily through the Academy Awards gets sent to Oz posing as someone with charisma. Frank Morgan had charisma. He was believable as a carnival huckster. The only people James Franco has fooled are the people who cast him in movies. ( to be fair the one where he’s wedged into a rock was perfect for him. Were that only the case in Oz )
    He can’t carry a movie on his back, especially one like this. You know as incredible as Oz was for 1939, the actors in it were just as responsible for its brilliance. Bert Lahr, Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Margaret Hamilton and Jack Haley…
    Up against a horribly rendered CGI monkey with an annoying voice by some Scrub actor, and a china doll easing on down the road alongside the stoner prince himself. And what exactly is his goal in Oz?
    He wants to get back home, and then he wants treasure. Because greed I guess is his flaw ( but not the flaw of the Disney executives who greenlight this shit evidently ).
    Was greed involved in him dumping Mila Kunis? Or the need to get home. Dunno.
    Neither does he from the look on his face.
    What is iconic about James Franco, a CGI monkey and a blabbermouth china doll walking down a yellow brick road. There’s no wonder, no joy, no singing and dancing, just this glum lifeless set of enormous cost and no narrative flow whatsoever.
    Which leads me to my next point,

    • Steve

      Why go see a movie you know you’re not going to enjoy?

      Surely a better use of your time would be to take joy from rewatching the original?

      • 21BelowZero

        Evidently for the sole reason to bash it.

        Paying good money just to hate something… interesting.

    • shaneblackfan

      This is why, Grendl, you are not a Hollywood writer. All your OZ posts are negative, although informative, you are not looking at it from a producer’s POV. Producers have to net the best actor available for the part – because those actors carry a lot of weight and induces studios to spend lavishly.
      Some of your criticisms are valid from an artistic POV, but worthless when it comes to commerce. Sometimes you can marry art and commerce, but when you can’t, and in these type of Hollywood ventures, commerce wins. Also, you need to think about the audience you are writing for. They just want to be entertained.

    • Ken

      Children don’t need to have children featured in their movies to like them.

  • kenglo

    LOL – “Unfortunately, everything listed above only answers why the final script
    for Oz was better. It doesn’t explain the 53 million dollar difference
    in box office take on opening weekend between it and “Jack The Giant
    Slayer.” That’s what screenwriters have to study. That’s what they must
    understand.”

    LOL! The difference was SPRING BREAK!!

    I really hated the script! I thought, man, I can’t even get through this thing, it’s so…amateurish! But hey, what do I know?

    • kenglo

      And – Because EVERYBODY LOVES MILA!!

  • http://the-movie-nerd.com themovienerd

    I would like to push back on the theory that “the more imaginative picture did better.” And that this bodes poorly for The Lone Ranger.

    I think there are other factors that are relevant, perhaps even more so. One you mentioned – the underlying property. Oz is a far more loved and immediately recognized base to start from. The smartest thing they did was show shots that harkened back to the original in the trailer — the yellow brick road in cartoonish flare, the wicked witch. It sparked memories and most importantly — CURIOSITY. Audience curiosity can drive narrative and it can drive box office. There was nothing in Jack the Giant Slayer trailers that made me curious. It was all there. It was like an itunes trailer that practically gave me the story. I “knew” what was going to happen before I saw it, thus did not feel a need to like I did with Oz, which made me curious to see all these familiar and loved elements in a new yarn.

    How does this translate to The Lone Ranger? Am I curious? Well, the underlying property is not as recognizable artistically, so I’m unfortunately not curious so there. But what I am curious about, as I am always curious about (See: Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) is the “Depp factor.” A role that looks to be on par with the Captain Jack Sparrow. Is this enough to drive a massive box office? Probably not. But it is enough to drive a decent box office. The remaining GREAT box office is reliant on a genre that has been by the wayside for DECADES, and is just starting to see a bit of a resurgence. Couple that with a familiar “sounding” title and elements that haven’t been on the big screen for sometime in this way (ignoring Aliens vs Cowboys or whatever that was) and you have pieces that begin to make you take notice. Will it work out? I think this a bigger gamble than Oz was for certain, but a good July 3 weekend, like a good spring break weekend, should certainly have it doing better than Jack.

    The rest? Time will tell.

  • ripleyy

    Because of the script review, I was tempted to watch it but I didn’t…now, I think I will. Though I do hate how Alice in Wonderland masked a crappy story with beautiful visuals. This looks more about story over style but I could be wrong

  • Devils_Advocate_666

    I blame nostalgia. Most people have a warm fuzzy childhood feeling when they think about The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland. But very few have it for Jack and the Beanstalk or John Carter of Mars. Same with Transformers or Lord of the Rings. It’s about having a popular brand-name property with at least one well-known film adaptation that appeals to young kids.

    If Alice in Wonderland hadn’t made a billion dollars worldwide in 2010, we wouldn’t have all these public-domain fairy-tale knockoffs in 2012 and 2013. It’s just greenlights in search of greenbacks.

    Both Disney and Warner Bros. spent about $300 million apiece chasing the fantasy-film dragon. But Disney’s money stuck. WB’s was a wasted effort. Sadly, in the end, the actual quality of the film itself (acting, writing, directing, effects, etc) seems irrelevant and completely unrelated to box office tally. It’s more about what people expect than what they actually get.

  • garrett_h

    Dunno how much of a “surprise” the box office success was. They pretty much took the same template they had with Alice in Wonderland (3D Fantasy Adventure from a pre-sold property). It didn’t pull in quite as much dough as Alice (and definitely won’t) but I think they knew from jump street they’d get to $200 million domestic, if not more. And if it keeps going like it’s going, they’ll get there.

  • Ambrose*

    Anybody have a pdf copy of the script for ‘Skyfall’ they’d like to share?
    I’d love to read the script, see how it compares to the movie.

  • peisley

    Oz has a romantic relationship or two clearly established, with that Wicked vibe. Jack had none of that in the trailers, at least. So, they not only had the general Oz crowd, they also had the juggernaut Wicked crowd, which consisted of mostly young girls and their mothers. Parents could take their kids, kids knew Oz, and adults were intrigued by the new take on things. It might even be considered something of a date movie. So, it did touch on the holy grail of the four quadrants. Jack fell short of this. Character and concept are king, even in the big, splashy ones.

  • Ambrose*

    I was hoping Carson would review ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’ today.

    The movie was anything but incredible.

    I had read a draft of the script a year or so ago and in my opinion this is a case where the script revisions made the movie worse, not better. (If that’s possible.)

    I had a very hard time staying awake during the movie.

    Whenever I see a movie like this I always wonder what the actors were thinking when they decided to do the movie.

    Do they really think it’s good material? What do they consider a good story? Is this an interesting/challenging role to play?

    Or is it more likely a case of what I heard Paul Newman say years ago: Sometimes you take a role because you just have to pay the mortgage.

  • http://twitter.com/vijayrises Darth Locke

    One cannot deny that the script techniques such as Dramatic Irony and Anticipation made Oz a better movie than Jack.
    But, Jack the Giant Slayer failed miserably due to its Marketing.
    First, the name. Jack the Giant Slayer? Is it supposed to be mean or Jack, the Slayer who is Giant or Jack, The Slayer of Giants? And where does the Beanstalk story figure in all this? Too confusing for the average moviegoer. No Clarity. Second, No Stars.
    Oz : The Great and the Powerful is a neat sequel-bait title. Though it’s not exactly un-complex either. And, it features a saleable star James Franco to begin with. And, a good script to make it complete.

    • Citizen M

      It’s about the person who slayed Jack the Giant.

  • New_E

    Wow, that’s quite an essay. You’re really passionate about THE WIZARD OF OZ. I can dig that.

    E

  • SusieM

    While I commend your passion, and while I realise I am ignoring your initial command of not getting started on the book, surely Frank L Baum, not Langley, deserves the credit for engineering a journey that begins in Munchkin land and sets out along the long journey to adulthood?

    I can’t, as a child, ever remember identifying with Dorothy. Judy Garland seemed like an adult to me. It is only now that I look back that she seems young.

    • Ken

      I agree: as a child I never really saw Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz as another child – I saw her as a young woman. The Dorothy in Return To Oz, however, was definitely a child.

  • H-town Demon

    The kids were all out for Spring Break and I was taking a bunch of them to the movies. Jack the Giant Slayer didn’t appeal to any of the girls but Oz appealed to both the girls and the boys. So it was Oz. I thought the Oz trailer was more enticing and if I was the one picking I would have picked Oz because the characters are old favorites to me. The film was entertaining enough, nothing fantastic. But I don’t think they would’ve had such a windfall if it wasn’t Spring Break. The age group I was taking was 6-10 and nothing else out there was really appropriate for the younger ones except for Oz. My biggest personal disappointment was the costuming and set design. I remember almost nothing of the clothes or the sets … and those should’ve/could’ve blown me away. The only thing that stood out for me was the cute porcelain doll.

    • carsonreeves1

      This is great insight. Appeals to both boys and girls. Is age appropriate. Based on an older movie means characters that appeal to older demographic as well.

      • ElectricDreamer

        Seconded. Peeling that marketing onion one layer at a time. :)

  • Ken

    My kids much prefer the Lord of the Rings trilogy to the Narnia movies. Maybe one of the reasons is that the Narnia movies are far less involving and gripping as they feature CHILDREN as the main characters. Kids fighting monsters and beating them in battle? Don’t think so. Aragorn beating Orcs? Yes!

  • JakeMLB

    Identifying success is always a difficult task but I would argue that the Wizard of Oz is a far more well-known property than Jack the Giant Slayer. The Wizard of Oz is probably one of, if not the most recognizable fantasy adventure stories ever, right next to Alice in Wonderland. And we all know how much the Alice in Wonderland reboot made (pro tip: a lot).

    And comparing Oz the Great and Powerful to Return to Oz (Disney), the Tin Man (TV series), or the Wiz (an Afro-centric musical?) isn’t like comparing apples to apples. This is the first modern feature film reboot of the series. It has a ton of star power. A big-name director. A script that seemingly isn’t terrible. And it’s the first in the series (as far as I can tell) that tells the story from Oz’s perspective. And isn’t that kind of intriguing? I mean, in the original, Oz is largely esoteric and yet he’s the most powerful man of that world. I kind of want to know what makes him tick.

    To be honest, I would have been really surprised if this had bombed, considering how well the Alice in Wonderland reboot fared. This is one of those films that you feel compelled to see given just how familiar the source material is. The Wizard of Oz is a story that is almost embedded in our culture’s DNA.

  • jridge32

    I also liked that when Oz first meets Theodora, and she tells him where he has landed, she kind of explains why the place is named after this guy. The script, as far as I remember, didn’t even address that (which was annoying).

  • Midnight Luck

    Appreciate the breakdown Carson.

    I had no interest in seeing it because, I saw the preview and I still have no idea what it is about.

    I get that it is some sort of retelling of the Wizard of Oz, and I’ve read and heard enough that I know it is a prequel type of story, but….

    i still had no idea what it was About.

    I don’t flock to the theater for movies like this. This is another movie that looks built on 8 cylinders of CGI and a bicycle of storyline. Very much like Lord of the Rings quintuplatrilogy, or all the Harry Potter / Narnia / other movies.

    I need a lot more than special effects to engage me. From the looks of it all the rest of the world needs is a few flashy things and they come a runnin’.

    Now, thanks to you, I know what it is about, and, well, still doesn’t seem to hold much interest for me.

    I also disagree that these are the movies that must be seen in the theater. I think ALL movies (especially Good ones) should be seen in the theater. It is the place you can totally lose yourself in the movie. Some of my past favorites seen in the theater are: Amelie, Frida, Argo, and the Social Network. And none of those were big spectacles, yet you get so much out of them in the movie theater environment. I feel sad for everyone who waited to see movies like this at home while they were making dinner and the kids are screaming and the phone be a ringing. Just not the same.

    Long live the movie theater experience.

  • Midnight Luck

    Carson,

    also, I had a thought about a discussion or an article:

    Interested in seeing your thoughts and others about the state of the Movie Theater.
    Mixed with the 500 ways to watch things via iPad, Mobile, Online and Cable.
    Are Theaters dead and we’ll all be watching stuff on our 2.5″ iPod and 4″ mobile screens?

    It seems that less and less people are going to the movies. Now I don’t believe the production companies are losing money as they say, but the actual numbers of people going is going down. I have read many articles and the average person goes to something like 4 movies a year! and I think most of those are from Thanksgiving to New Year. Which is shocking to me as I can see that many a week.

    Plus specialty cable TV programming has just taken off in the last ten years with many top actors flocking to it now instead.

    Most of the weeks each year keep going down in numbers of Moviegoers and total money coming in.

    But then the end totals for income keep being higher than the year before, strictly because of a couple movies like The Avengers or Avatar. Those few movies alone pull in so much money they offset the flagging viewership.

    So, do you, think it is a completely dead industry, dying, or just a period of lull like has happened at other times in Theater life?

    I think it might make an interesting article to write and comment on. But maybe that’s only because I’m not in the middle of the Hollywood life as some others are. Anyone else think it would be an interesting topic?

  • rosemary

    I loved OZ. the script was okay though

  • blueiis0112

    I am died-in-the-wool Oz fan. I was first excited, then skeptical about seeing this movie. The first thing that hit my nerve was Mila’s costume. Then I realized that I did not think that the dialogue was any good. I thought the theme and the CG were beautifully whimsical. It did not really address the tin man or the lion’s problem, but gave us a little on the scarecrow. I understand that it was more faithful to the books with the china doll. My friends thought it was great, I am not so sure.

  • Avishai

    Well. Did not see that coming.
    So it gave him a character flaw and defined him more strongly. That’s good.
    I do remember having other issues with the script, though. I remember that the writer often moved the goalposts and didn’t clearly define what the witches can or can’t do, making their abilities entirely dependent on what the script requires at any given moment. I thought some set ups didn’t have pay offs (Oz pisses off witch enough to turn her evil, but in the script they never meet face to face after that) and character motivations seemed a little thin at times (that’s all it takes to turn someone evil?) And, of course, certain things are a given because we’re familiar with the original film, and therefore know how things will end (He leaves! Will he come back? However will we know?)
    Did the final film address any of these?

  • jridge32

    Carson, page 2 of “Goodbye Gene” is flippin’ amazing. Just saying..

  • Tor Dollhouse

    Did anyone spot the infamous Oldsmobile ??

    • Frankie Hollywood

      Yep, Mr. Olds Delta ’88 is there. What is this, use #11, 12?

      • Tor Dollhouse

        12.. Great pic !!

        Thought I spotted it in the tornado.. Also China Girls Evil Dead reference in the dark forest was classic :D

  • Cambias

    Saw it last night. It felt unfocused. Some of the plot makes no damned sense at all.

    First problem: at no point in the first third of the movie does the Wizard have a goal. Oh, he dreams of being a great man, and he’s not above hitting on a cute witch or two, but that’s it. He’s perfectly happy to be handed the throne on a silver platter, so to speak, but we never get any sense that he’s striving toward anything. (Contrast Dorothy: from the moment her house touches down in Oz, she’s working to get home.)

    Second problem: when Oz does get assigned a task, it’s a completely arbitrary and stupid one. The real Wicked Witch (Evanora) tells him that Glinda’s a bad one and sends him off to kill her, or at least destroy her wand. But . . . since Evanora knows that Glinda isn’t wicked, isn’t she just increasing the likelihood that Oz will find out that Evanora has deceived him? It would have made more sense for Theodora to send him on the mission, since she’s been fooled, too. Or for Evanora to provide him with some kind of “magical help” which turns out to be a trap.

    Third problem: There’s a clash of tones in the two Wicked Witches. Theodora is a woman scorned, who burns away all her goodness out of rage and jealousy. That’s a semi-realistic, Gregory Maguire-type character. But her sister Evanora is a Wicked Witch because she’s just Wicked. That’s a fairy-tale, L.Frank Baum-type character. You can have one or the other, but putting them side by side is jarring. As if Sonny Corleone discovered that one of the rival gangsters was building an orbital death ray to rule the world.

    Fourth problem: The ending gives Oz a pseudo-family of friends and allies, but two of them (the cranky dwarf and the head Tinker) never get the “join my team” scene. They ought to have been introduced earlier, or given some personal connection to Oz. As it is apparently they just work for him because a brother needs a paycheck.

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