Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Wizard of Oz - 3D

Today I saw The Wizard of Oz in 3D, starring Judy Garland and Margaret Hamilton.

It always feels odd reviewing a classic, especially one of this magnitude, because everyone already knows the story and has made their mind up about its merit.

But I'll give it a go anyhow.

Dorothy Gale (Garland) has dog, Toto, that can't seem to stay out of trouble. He's bitten Miss Gulch (Hamilton), eats hot dogs in mid-barbecue (before being asked) and jumps out of any basket he's confined to; really, he's a pain in the ass.

When Miss Gulch attempts to confiscate little Toto, he escapes back to his owner and fearing the authorities will return for him, Dorothy runs away from home.

While she's out the storm picks up and a twister forms near the small Kansas farm where she lives.

Not making it to the storm cellar in time, Dorothy runs into the house for cover and is soon transported to a magical place where she's greeted by a good witch and about a hundred little people.

Soon, she embarks on a journey to find her way home, following the path of a trusted yellow brick road, meeting friends along the way, all the while dodging the Wicked Witch of the West (Hamilton) who seeks revenge for the death of her sister, which she believes Dorothy caused.

The flying monkeys that help the witch never bothered me as a child, and they still don't now, but the dark forest is unsettling as are the voices and hairdos of the Munchkins.

The songs are fantastic (especially Garland's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which makes her sound years older than she was at the time) and the colors pop (even more so in glorious 3D), and Hamilton sets the bar unimaginably high for any woman who dares to be a witch thereafter.

When I was a child, watching this film was an annual event. It would come on the television on some random Friday night and we would put sleeping bags on the floor and eat popcorn out of a huge bowl. I don't remember ever paying attention to the beginning before the tornado hits or noticing that the Cowardly Lion had a Jersey accent.

It's still magic though, 75 years on.


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