This book to movie review is a little different to the others, because Oz is a prequel to the EXTREMLY famous The Wizard of Oz movie based on the books by Frank Braum (Although I was surprised (and excited) to discover that there are tonnes of books based on the land of Oz). Summary from Goodreads:
‘Join Dorothy Gale, Toto, and all of her friends as they explore the incredible land of Oz. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is American’s most enduring fairy tale. From the moment Dorothy puts on the silver slippers (changed to ruby slippers by MGM to take advantage of their new advance in movie making: color) until the moment she clicks her heels and returns home to Kansas you will be swept away and captivated by her extraordinary story.’
I really enjoyed this book – I loved the movie as a kid and it was really interesting to see the differences and similarities between them. I did feel though, that the characters weren’t as well developed as they could have been, and I would have preferred the plot to have been a bit meatier. It is one of those books that I really wanted to adore because its a classic, but I have to say, in comparison to some books of that era that I’ve read, it just doesn’t compete. That been said I have only read the first of the Oz series, and I am definitely open to reading more and I didn’t dislike it, I just wasn’t head over heels for it.
Summary from IMDB
‘Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. At first he thinks he’s hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking. That all changes, however, when he meets three witches, Theodora, Evanora, and Glinda, who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.’
The first thing about Oz that is it is visually stunning. Every single shot is just droll worthy and although I am not normally a fan of 3D I have to admit it was used really well and not at all gimmicky – I also loved the nods to the original film.
However, this isn’t a poor man’s Wizard of Oz rip off. Oscar, the main character, is as flawed and sometimes unlikable character as they come. I loved this – it made a distinction between the original. Oscar develops so much as a character throughout the film. I really loved James Franco’s portrayal of Oscar – he really made him come to life in a really believable way. After journeying into Oz, the first witch Oscar comes across is Theodora, a very naïve young woman who is desperate for peace in Oz. Theodora also seriously changes throughout the movie – although I would have loved to see a more gradual change rather then BAM. I think it would have been more true to her original character to see her struggle a bit more. I liked Mila Kunis’s portrayal of Theodora – but I wish she put a bit more into the change in her. Evanora, Theodora’s sister was probably my least favourite character – there was nothing to her – no layers, nothing – I really disliked her. I loved Glinda – she differed to the original and was a bit more feisty. The plot was pretty average – there were a couple of twists and turns, but I never felt that Oscar wasn’t going to win – I also felt that there was no retribution for his earlier actions. However, I really LOVED watching this film – it was entertaining and fun and beautiful and I will be getting the DVD. I definitely recommend it.
Angelas Anxious Life also has a great review up!