I have never liked The Wizard of Oz. I didn’t like the book, and I hated the movie. I’ve avoided it in all incarnations ever since having to watch that mess on television when I was a young sprog. I’ll probably give this, um, take on Oz a miss too. It will be a visual feast, no question about that, given direction by Tarsem Singh. (The Cell was one of the most visually beautiful movies ever, but boy, was it stupid. If you want visually stunning and a good story, watch The Fall.) Tarsem Singh knows how to bring the stunningly beautiful, but he needs to be reigned in a tad by a good story and by a specific sense and style. Else it’s just a free for all, and that’s what happens here, going by the trailer at least.
This looks enjoyable enough, in a popcorn way, but the trailer exposes a terrible mishmashmush of, well, damn near everything, and some glaring admissions of “hey, went with bog standard norm boring.” A serious plus is Vincent D’Onofrio, because when isn’t he a plus? But I found the trailer troubling, on many levels.
Dorothy isn’t white. Well, that’s a start, I guess. I was initially heartened by the pride rainbow in the Kansas farmhouse window, but that gets quickly blown away, along with Dorothy. Could have been exciting if Dorothy were genderqueer, or lesbian (there’s no reason the scarecrow love interest couldn’t have been genderqueer or lesbian, right? But no, standard uber-hunky white British dude.) Well, it is on network teevee, so it’s probably best not to expect too much. The munchkins are gone, replaced by what looks to be some sort of semi-primitive tribe of Indians. There’s progress for ya. The rest of it looks like they tried to steal from every fricking culture and era ever, a bit Chronicles of Narnia here, a bit Game of Thrones there, and probably a bit of The Holy Grail somewhere, too. What it doesn’t seem to have is its own distinct style, and that’s enough to keep me away, even if I do want to watch just for the eye candy, and boy, is there a lot of that.