Family Movie Night
By Karyn Bowman
This past week saw the release of The Great and Powerful Oz starring James Franco to the home theater market.
It is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz that many of us know – and perhaps love – so well. It is a movie that is referenced in so many ways that it may be hard to quantify.
The latest might be a crack about flying monkeys in last year’s The Avengers that was notable because it was the only pop culture reference that Captain America understood.
Anytime some one mentions no longer being in Kansas is a direct link.
Not to mention “And your little dog, too.”
Why do we need a prequel is not a certainty in my mind. But once it was created, I could not imagine not having it. This movie directed by Sam Raimi is eye-poppingly beautiful. The colors grab your attention.
But so does the acting and characterizations of key players in the movie that, sequentially, comes later. We see how various characters are related and why it matters. When we saw the movie at the theater, it was as if time had barely passed and then suddenly the movie was over.
It makes me wonder why we, the collective public, love this story so much.
In a strange way, I am reminded of Harry Potter. Both characters are orphaned, both live with an aunt and uncle, and both seem to think they do not belong to these families. While one will discover this last fact is true, both children go on a journey through incredible and fantastic land in order to save it from a greater evil.
Or as my husband puts it, the preteen angsty feeling that these people who claim to be your family is not really your family. Suddenly, the feeling that you did not belong has been confirmed and what a relief that must be since now you have found a place with magic to make you even a better person.
While I give credence to the first part of his theory , I do not think it is all about magic being the saving force with either character. Dorothy and Harry find a special tool (water and the expelliarmus spell, respectively) to defeat their nemesis but to get to that point they must have strength of character.
Both characters go through many trials and tribulations which hi-lights the best aspects of their beings – kindness, gentleness, concern for others, humility. While you could make the argument that Dorothy and Harry represent the fruits of the spirit, it needs to be noted that both are human and fall to the weakness of the flesh as well. We love them because of their good qualities, we relate to both because of their frailties.
As soon as I can, I plan to rent this movie for a family night that will find us wrapped back into the magical land of Oz. Come September, I will be on the look-out for the 75th Anniversary edition of the movie that became a classic when it was released in 1939.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.