Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Wizard of Oz Review

I have been known on these reviews to be critical of movies that don't age well with their effects, stories, acting, etc.  So how do you review a movie that is widely considered one of the greatest ever made and has entertained generations since 1939?  Part of me is a bit critical because the sets are shallow with hand painted backdrops.  The acting is that over the top melodramatic style that was all Hollywood used back in the day.  The effects, while the best they had at the time, really are nothing spectacular.  But this is all looking through the eyes of someone watching the film about 75 years after it was made.  For its time, this was a very elaborate production and, to an extent, it still is.

While the sets are obviously in a sound stage, what they do use is very elaborate and very well done.  The costumes, with the exception of the lion, are spot on.  And the only reason the lion is a little too human is because they just couldn't do song and dance numbers if they tried to be more realistic.  But I think the aspect of this movie that has aged the best is the makeup.  The Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Wicked Witch all still look fairly lifelike even if it is basically just paint.

If you made this movie today, it would be done a lot differently.  Just compare it with Oz, the Great and Powerful and you'll see what I mean.  Both go into the same magical land with a lot of the same aspects.  The new one relies a lot on the visuals to bring its story to life.  The original relies on light-hearted songs and a strong moral to basically reach the same end.  And I think that's the best part of the whole thing.  The songs keep this movie timeless.  We're Off to See the Wizard and Ding Dong the Witch is Dead are ingrained into our culture.  And it doesn't stop with the production songs.  The score for this movie is perfect as well.  It sets the mood brilliantly in every scene.  Even now, I get chills when the witch sends her army of flying monkeys to capture Dorothy.

Even though it is 75 years old, this movie still entertains.  The songs are catchy and it has an upbeat pace throughout.  It is an absolute classic that every one should see.  See it.

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