‘Wizard of Oz’ adaptations Must be Stopped Now


Why, Oz, why?!

A brand new big-screen adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s kids’s basic “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is headed our means like a cyclone, according to a Deadline report. The movie from New Line might be directed by Nicole Kassell of HBO’s well-liked “Watchmen.”

Here’s an concept for her: Drive all the way down to Ace Hardware, purchase a jackhammer and rip up the Yellow Brick Road so no person can ever entry it once more. Just like we did with “Peter Pan” and “Alice in Wonderland,” the world has reached important mass with Dorothy and Toto.

The dreamy land of Oz and its characters have been plundered time and again since Baum’s e-book was first printed in 1900 and, sure, society has fond recollections of precisely three riffs: 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” (“Somewhere Over the Rainbow!” “The Wiz” (“Ease on Down the Road!”) and “Wicked” (“Defying Gravity!”).

The relaxation of them — and there’s a boatload — call to mind one other catchy tune: “If I only had a brain!”

That’s as a result of 99% of Oz adaptations are senseless gunk.

The first notable stinker after Victor Fleming’s Technicolor basic was a low-budget 1969 movie referred to as “The Wonderful Land of Oz,” primarily based on Baum’s second novel “The Marvelous Land of Oz.” It is alleged to be trustworthy to its supply, and is taken into account by some to be one of the worst films ever made.

1978’s “The Wiz,” starring Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Diana Ross and Ted Ross, was one of the solely successes.
Everett Collection

The movie’s origins had been, appropriately for the late ’60s, in porn. Well, “nudie” flicks — a titillating style that petered out in the ’70s and, whereas not displaying full intercourse, featured loads of bare ladies. Suffice it to say, no person left the theater raving about the dialogue.

In the two years earlier than Barry Mahon directed “The Wonderful Land of Oz,” he helmed such high-class indulgences as “Forbidden Flesh,” “Instant Orgy,” “The Warm, Warm Bed,” “Sex Club International” and “Run Swinger Run!” He thought the style was getting too smutty — actually — so he transitioned to household fare. And what a transition it was.

In the two years before Barry Mahon directed
In the two years earlier than Barry Mahon directed “The Wonderful Land of Oz,” he directed “nudie” flicks.
Courtesy Everett Collection

His first go-round is a disturbing descent into distress and tastelessness that’s barely watchable immediately. Mahon cast his son Channy as Tipp, a bit of boy who runs away to Emerald City and finds himself in the center of a creepy palace coup. There are not any stars, the setting seems to leap from shabby cabin to shabbier cabin and lots of of Tipp’s compatriots, together with one thing referred to as the Wogglebug, appear to be nightmarish bugs. It’s on YouTube. Watch it if you need. I’m not your physician.

Less than 20 years later, Disney sank its fangs into the Baum model, too. In 1985’s “Return to Oz,” Dorothy (Fairuza Balk making her debut) lands with a thud again in Kansas six months after her stint in Oz. The annoying lady can’t cease rattling on about flying monkeys and a tin man, nonetheless, so an affordable Auntie Em thinks she’s lost her marbles. Shock remedy, it’s! Not so shockingly, the film made simply $11.1 million at the field office in opposition to a $28 million price range.

Fairuza Balk played Dorothy in 1985’s “Return to Oz.”
Fairuza Balk performed Dorothy in 1985’s “Return to Oz.”
©Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett

Then in 2013, that mannequin of restraint James Franco wished a bit of the motion. He starred in a prequel (ugh) to the 1939 movie referred to as “Oz the Great and Powerful,” which Post critic Lou Lumenick hailed as “long-threatened!” It tries to clarify how a Kansas huckster turns into a robust chief, and why everyone is terrified of the Wicked Witch. It didn’t assist issues {that a} decade earlier, the Broadway musical “Wicked” did a a lot better job of that. The aforementioned hag was performed by Mila Kunis, who gained an MTV Movie Award. A feather in her pointy hat.

The flops, they carry on coming.

James Franco starred in a prequel to the 1939 film called
James Franco starred in a prequel to the 1939 movie referred to as “Oz the Great and Powerful” in 2013.
©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett

That’s as a result of the most well-known e-book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” has been in the public area since 1956, so anyone can take a crack at it. Kassell and New Line’s prime benefit is that the 1939 movie, which had unique components similar to the ruby slippers, is in the Warner Bros. library. She can borrow no matter iconic components she likes.

From the sound of it, although, that is going to be like each different movie that gloats about the way it will expose a basic to a brand new era: a soon-to-be-forgotten dud. The dismal “Annie” with Cameron Diaz arrogantly drained to do this. So did “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” with Johnny Depp.

I’ll let you know proper now, if I’ve to observe a ginger Billie Eilish sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on this factor, I’m altering professions. That’s a dare.

THE WIZARD OF OZ, Margaret Hamilton, 1939
Please rip up the Yellow Brick Road so no person can ever entry it once more.
Courtesy Everett Collection