Saturday, December 6

Dreamcasting: Wizard of Oz -- Why Should Be Made

Many people are against me on this notion but I highly highly believe there should be a new Wizard of Oz movie. Yes, like everyone else, I love the 1939 MGM movie. I also love the book and the 1985 movie Return to Oz which was very close to the book in tone and delightfully dark. That movie stuck to me more than the 1939 one. In fact, everyone knows the 1939 version more than the book. My main problem with the 1939 movie is that, it is not like a conventional film---I say conventional and not modern because films have look like how they do now modernly since the 60's, a rather long time. The movie in question, which I will now nickname "Goldy," was on just sets, nor outdoors, all set to one 180 degree view. It upsets me on how it was shot. Yes, it inspired a lot but it is nowhere near the book in tone nor in accuracy. Now, many say "I don't go see the movie based on the book to have everything from the book in it." But if the Lord of the Rings (1937) can have a decent movie, why can't an oldy like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) have one? I also suggest calling it L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to not confuse it with old Goldy. William Shakespere's Romeo + Juliet (1996) got away with it. Plus everyone thinks Goldy is the law and is the book, but it is nothing like it.

I didn't want to dreamcast, because this would be my dream project and for me to do it, it would be 20 years from now and hence a different cast entirely. I like the idea of casting newcomers, because not attaching any actor's previous roles with a staple role. I mean, how do you feel about casting Steve Carrell as the Cowardly Lion? Exactly. I like better to hire kinda-known actors but not big wigs. Now it's been 69 years since Goldy and no remake or 're-imagining' has been made, but plenty of kiboshing of it. There has been Sci-Fi's recent Tin Man and the Muppet's version (which was somewhat accurate), where they spin it around and make it 'better.' This is twisting around things from Goldy than the original book. There is a reason why people find Goldy boring an able to mold it into something 'better.' And has spun two popular inspirations: The Wiz and Wicked. Anyhoo, here is my dreamcast...

Abigail Breslin / Dorothy
Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Signs) is everywhere and sure the 'flavor of the month,' but sure in a few years, there will be other young talented girls whenever my dream project is made. So, but if it would be made now, she is roughly the age and I am sure she will love this. Basically Dorothy was 8-12 and that's what age she should be. She should have silver shoes like in the book.

Zack Braf / Scarecrow

A bit of no brainer, no pun intended. One would pick Jim Carey, or some would pick someone skinny like John Leguizamo (Spawn) or Alan Cumming (X2: X-Men United), but he already played a type of Scarecrow in Tin Man. Zack Braf ("Scrubs") does a good balance of playing dumb and sweetness and a light of intelligence. Or John Kransinski.

Hugh Laurie / Tin Woodman

Sure, Hugh Laurie ("House") is a big name, but I think he can bring a good balance to the character. Tin Man is a mostly warm and caring character and of course stiff. Now, they could do the same as Goldy with him in a suit and facepaint or a puppet like Return to Oz. Could be possible to do special effects with CG and just use his face on to a tin man with super thin arms and legs.

Eric Bana / Cowardly Lion
I think Cowardly Lion should be like the CGI Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia, a 4-leg walking lion but no Scooby-antics please. Who should do the voice? Definitely not Jack Black (Shallow Hall), but it has to be a soft but funny voice, maybe Seth Rogan (Zack & Miri) or Will Ferrell (Bewitched). Who did a real funny voice was Eric Bana (Troy, The Hulk) in Finding Nemo as the voice of Anchor the hammerhead shark.

Helen Mirren/
Wicked Witch of the West
Roseanne Barr (Home on the Range)? No, too much on tack. W.W. Denslow's illustrations for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz depict the Wicked Witch as a hunchback old woman with three pigtails and wearing an eye-patch; her good eye gave her the visual powers of a telescope. And in a parody in "That 70's Show," Donna is dressed as her and looks like this illustration. I think since the book didn't have her name, the movie shouldn't. Making up a name would add to the pantheon of new names from other sources and would be a disrespect to Wicked and the original book. So who should play her? Cate Blanchett (Hot Fuzz)? Angelina Jolie (Hackers)? Or someone older and more poise and utter force like Helen Miren (The Queen)?

Julie Dreyfus / Glinda, Good Witch of the South

Kristin Chenoweth played her in Wicked, she's great but I picture a more somber witch. One of great power, but responsibility, she knows stuff that she is not revealing right away. Julie Dreyfus (Kill Bill) has that. In Goldy, they merged roles of the Good Witch of the North and the South, because it is an old trick in adapting books to movies, if one character can do what another did, they merge them. If they need to get rid of the Good Witch of the North, great, just don't merge them like in Goldy. By leaving the names the same like the Tin Woodman, it enforces that this movie is not like the other one sand stays true to the original story.

I picture a trilogy, the first three books: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz, and Ozma of Oz. The Marvelous Land of Oz was never probably made into a movie, it was mixed with Ozma of Oz into Return to Oz, which was great, but like the merging of characters, I like Ozma/Tip's true story to be told. For those who don't know, Ozma was the true ruler of Oz, the princess who was given to a witch named Mombi by the Wizard and turned into a boy. The Marvelous Land of Oz was adapted in 1986 anime series and Ozma of Oz followed afterward, even though Dorothy was not in The Marvelous Land of Oz, she was merged into it.

Even this fellow blogger wants a reimagining and gender-switched Dorothy to let Michael Cera vehicle it.