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We're Off to See the Wizard

by Jilliane - 1 Comment(s)

Well it looks like audiences will be spending some time in the Emerald City in 2013 because two major Hollywood films are set to be released. The first is Dorothy of Oz, an animated film, which follows the more traditional storyline and is jam packed with famous voices including Lea Michele as Dorothy, Dan Aykroyd as Scarecrow, Kelsey Grammar as Tin Man, and Jim Belushi as the Cowardly Lion. My guess is families and Gleek’s will be flocking to see this one.

The second re-imagining of Frank L. Baum’s classic is Oz: The great and Powerful. This film is intended to be a prequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and tells the story of how the wizard (played by James Franco) came to be in Oz. This film also boasts an all-star cast with the likes of Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, and Rachel Weiss who are all taking on prominent roles.

If you haven’t watched it already check out the new trailer, which was released at San Diego Comic Con in mid-July. It looks absolutely fantastic!

So I know what you’re thinking, 2013 still feels like it’s ages away. Don’t worry we’ve got more than enough to keep you busy till then.

For those Oz purists, or anyone who might want to start right at the beginning, be sure to start with Frank L. Baum’s first book about the land of Oz, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Once you’ve finished that you might want to move on to other books in the series such as the sequel, The Marvelous Land of Oz. And of course, one can’t talk about The Wizard of Oz without mentioning the 1939 film starring Judy Garland so be sure to check out the DVD/Blu-ray or The Wizard of Oz soundtrack, all available at CPL!

Wonderful Wizard of Oz Marvelous Land of Oz Wizard of Oz Wizard of Oz Soundtrack

Now if you’re looking for a bit of a twist on the classic tale there is plenty out there for you too. One of the most popular spins on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is undoubtedly Wicked: the life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. While most people know her as the Wicked Witch of the West, this book shows her simply as Elphaba, the misunderstood girl who also happens to be green (and it’s not easy being green). If you have yet to read this book be prepared to have all of Oz turned on its head.

If you’re more of a visual person you might also want to check out The Wizard of Oz: The Graphic Novel. Don’t let the name fool you though, this is a completely new interpretation of the classic tale. For one thing Dorothy Gale has been completely updated - she rocks some skinny jeans, a studded belt, wristbands, and a bandana. There is a definite manga influence in this one as well, so if that’s up your alley this may be the version for you.

Another graphic novel which reinvents the magical land of Oz is The Royal Historian of Oz. In this story Ozma (the ruler of Oz) has decided to sever ties with our world and no longer allow stories to be written about Oz. Despite this royal decree Jasper Frizzle is determined to write yet another story about Oz. Needless to say this failed writer has no idea what he’s gotten himself into and he’s about to drag his son Frank with him.

Wizard of Oz the Graphic Novel Royal Historian of Oz

Okay so I couldn’t make this list without adding my personal favorite, Return to Oz (1985). In this film Dorothy (surprise) returns to Oz and finds it is not the same place she left behind. If she is to save Oz she must confront the evil witch Mombi as well as the formidable Nome King. While this film may be found in the kids section, it has more than its fair share of creepy moments. I mean, how many kids’ movies do you know of that start with the protagonist being sent to a sanatorium to be treated by electroshock therapy to forget about the mythical place they claim to have visited?

Another version I really enjoyed was the four hour mini-series Tin Man (2007). This version features a young woman named DG (Zooey Deschanel) who is swept away from her Kansas home and finds herself in the Outer Zone, or the O.Z. as the locals call it. Like the original, DG is desperate to find her way home with the help of some new friends. As the story unfolds, however, it turns out that DG’s new friends have some dark and complicated pasts. If DG is going to get home she will have to find out who she can trust, and survive the attacks made by the evil sorceress Azkadellia and her long coat soldiers. While this version may be a bit too dark for some viewers, if you are interested in seeing what The Wonderful Wizard of Oz would be like with a sci-fi/steampunk edge this one can’t be missed.

One of the newest mini-series to be released is The Witches of Oz (2012). This one falls more into the “family friendly” category and may even be a bit on the cheesy side, but the premise is a spin I have yet to see. In this version little Dorothy Gale is all grown up and has spent her whole life believing that she is the inspiration for the fictional character, when in reality the stories are her childhood memories. Not only does Dorothy have to cope with her newly remembered past, she also has to deal with the residents of Oz who start showing up in New York City…

Wicked Return to Oz Tinman The Witches of Oz

With more than 100 years of lore to draw from, there are countless stories to tell about the land of Oz, so hopefully these will help you get started because 2013 is right around the corner!

~Blog by Kelly~

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by Alex

Not to mention the CBC Reality Show "Over the Rainbow" through which Canada gets to vote on ten talented young ladies who could be cast as Dorothy in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's upcoming Toronto production of "The Wizard of Oz" -- he even wrote some new songs for the show!!!

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