To Settle a Score

I have been hearing so much of the ‘competition’ between the Wicked fandom (the glorious Wicked fandom) and the so-called “OtGaP” (Oz the Great and Powerful) fandom. Ugh. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with people belonging to two seperate fandoms and contesting for which is better. Well, as a devoted fan of Wicked (book and musical), I’m here to officially state which is better. To start, let’s start with some basic historicity. Oz was created by Lyman Frank Baum, a brilliant writer from the late 19th and early 20th century. He wrote several books (starting with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900, with Dorothy’s original arrival in Oz), and then passed on the series to other people, who passed it on, and so on for a few authors. The original Oz told stories with political bents through a seemingly child-oriented book (this was a surprisingly common form of propaganda back in the day). Over the years, however, the Oz series became rather, shall we say, diluted. Some authors began to warp Oz in their own forms, ruining (in my opinion) what L.F. Baum had worked to hard to establish. Anyways, dozens of books later, Oz was basically put to rest. Some decades later, Gregory Maguire wrote and published Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, in believe in 1995. This was a brave move, but it was (and thankfully still is) highly successful. A reimagining, the book took a look at the mysterious Wicked Witch of the West, and presented a unique and different (I call it more grown-up) version of the land of Oz. As with its conceptual predecessors, Wicked tells us a story with political motivations. Not only a nice story and interesting plot line, it tells of the dangers of over-devotion to any cause (it carries many other themes as well, but I’m too lazy to list them here). While the musical avoids the more political themes, it still carries an important way of thinking: we must never idolize people without keeping some healthy skepticism (the Wizard was suppossed to be this good man who fixed everything and kept the land happy; in reality, he causes the strife and turmoil he was imagined to defend against). Very good book, very good musical, and very intelligently written and planned. And then there’s OtGaP. Oh god. This is an absolute abortion of a film. Terrible. Cheesy. Snotty. Not only is it bad, but it thinks what makes it bad is a good thing. To start, the message: um, what message? There’s no point! Baum never wrote about pre-Dorothy Oz beyond mentioning the fate of the Ozma line etc., so why is Disney making a prequel? Money. That’s the only answer to all this nonsense. They saw an opportunity, and took it. The witches? Cheesy and unoriginal. The Wizard? An asshole and he never changes! Ooh, he scares off the witches, who are apprently idiots to fall for his bullshit. What was with the apple? Seriously!? An apple!? Come now, Disney. You simply must try a little harder. And what was with the WW of the East? The source of her power was an emerald!? Honestly!? Gods above. But, so, if it was the source of her power, why/how does she gain control of Munchinland? The flying 'monkeys’ (properly known as baboons)? But, they serve the WW of the West in all versions of Oz. And in regard to those 'monkeys’, if this movie is so loyal to Baum’s books, where’s the Golden Cap that the WW of the West uses to gain control of the flying monkeys in Baum’s books (a witch put them under a spell that made them obey the holder of the cap after they dunked her husband in a river; bitch)? And, um, can we talk for a sec about how the WIzard totally takes advantage of Theodora? He basically rapes her! At least that bit is similar to Wicked. And Glinda. Oh gods, Glinda. She was NOT Princess Ozma, her father was NOT the 'king’ of Oz! And, again, in the original Oz books, Glinda was a gingerSo, Disney, where’s your loyalty? They basically bullshitted their way through this movie. Before I go, I just really wanna say, fuck James Franco. Yerp, that about does it. Suck it OtGaP fans, long live the Wicked Fandom!

Oz Review

Whoever was in charge of writing Oz The Great and Powerful should have been fired and replaced. I could have wrote that better, and that’s not me bragging, that’s me saying just how horrible it was. Orginary people, not known for writing movies, could have written that better. They treated the Wicked Witch of the West, an iconic villain for seven decades, as if she was unnecessary and chipped away her character for the sake of keeping all the focus on Oz and Glinda. She hardly left an impression as she should have. All interaction between Theodora and Oz was rushed and lacked meaning. There was no good way to see inside Theodora, the person that the Wicked Witch of the West was before she turned wicked. They very clearly rushed the beginning and left the plot to dry for the amazing CGI scenery. That should have never happened.

They made really good references though. The poppy fields being deadly, how the scarecrows came to be, the crystal ball, the back potted chalice that the Wicked Witch of the West uses in the Wizard of Oz was present, how the fly baboons/monkeys and Winkies came under West control was shown, Theodora’s tears burned her skin (that was done perfectly), how Theodora got the broom idea and utilized it to inspire fear, how the West was much more wicked than the East of the two sisters… They did not however explain how Evanora came to rule the East instead of the West like Theodora.

They did not end it well either in the sense that while Oz and Glinda still had victory, the Wicked Witches were still out there to terrorize Oz… you know, like what Theodora does in the Wizard of Oz… This was a prequel not a stand alone movie! So they had some gaping holes that could have been fixed if they had just utilized basic story telling instead of going all fancy about the CGI and scenery.

In short: don’t bother seeing it.