Minority Report

This is about a movie but not Steven Spielberg’s fine 2002 sci-fi flick, Minority Report. (If you haven’t seen it, check it out, it’s got a BSG kinda vibe.) Instead, I’m talking about Sam Raimi’s new film, Oz the Great and Powerful. Audiences have flocked to it but the critics have been lukewarm. A critic I admire, David Edelstien of New York Magazinesaw a different flick to the one Dr. A and I saw. He called it “peculiarly joyless” whereas I thought it was spot on and charming as all get out.

There were technical diffculties at our screening so we actually changed theatres at the multi-plex and saw the first hour twice. It made me appreciate the much maligned performance by James Franco. Yes, he was detached and a bit arch BUT he was playing a self-described Carny trickster for chrissake and they are not known for their earnestness. I’m not really much of a Franco fan (he’s supposedly a horrible neighbor too) but I enjoyed his performance and Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis, and Michelle Williams were to die for.

I realize that people are very protective of the Wizard of Oz. I am too. The original evokes great memories from my childhood and still holds up very well indeed. Yip Harburg’s lyrics also had a lot to do with making me a horrid punster. Is the new film as good? Maybe not but it benefits from being very different since it’s about the time *before* Dorothy and Toto too landed in Oz.

The vice of many of the reviews is one that always bugs the living shit out of me: the whole “this is the movie they should have made” shtick. I, for one, was pleased that Raimi didn’t make it into a musical or bring back most of the characters we know and love from the 1939 film. The film should stand and fall on it’s own merits and I had a very good time at the movies despite covertly pining for the lollipop guild.

3 thoughts on “Minority Report

  1. pansypoo says:

    since i managed to miss the ORIG oz flick i suppose i’d be a blank state. i loved ;over the rainbow;.

  2. ArchTeryx says:

    It’s actually inspired quite a bit by the book canon, rather then the Judy Garland movie. Watching the Wizard’s landing and his adventures through Oz, I could reel off location after location that was lifted from the books. They also put in a couple of things little known outside the books, and gave them a MAJOR upgrade – the Fighting Trees (which had glowing eyes and fangy Venus Flytrap mouths in the movie) and China Country.
    This more Grim-Dark view of Oz is *far* more in keeping with the books then the original movie. It even sort-of hews to the books’ history of Oz: that four Wicked Witches murdered the King and split Oz up amongst themselves, before two (the witches of the North and the South) were defeated, leaving the Wicked Witches of the East and the West when Oscar first made his appearance.
    Glinda was also spot-on from her depiction in the books. She was a powerful fairy, and thus gave off a luminous, not-quite-there exterior — but underneath the facade, she was very sharp and woe betide anyone who crossed her.

  3. adrastos says:

    Excellent points. I neglected to mention my affection for the books, which I read as a wee laddie.

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