We spent the big bucks to see The Wizard of Oz: An IMAX 3D Experience. Was it worth it? Yes! Such a great movie, with so many family memories and cultural reminders tied up into it!
While enjoying the movie, I wondered about some things.
1. Is anyone in the audience seeing this for the first time? Does anyone not know this movie? There were some young families in the audience. I tried to listen into the pre-movie conversations around us (I know it’s not good to eavesdrop!) but couldn’t tell if the little kids knew about the story. What would the new viewer think of the movie? Would the flying monkeys be frightening, or laughable? Without already loving it and already knowing all the songs, can a person in 2013 enjoy the film? I think so, as a modern person would enjoy any older movie.
2. The entire thing is shot on a sound stage. That means the MGM studio set designer had to build and the painters had to create a backdrop for a farm in Kansas (complete with a herd of pigs), Munchkin land, all the twists and turns of the Yellow Brick Road, Oz, the witches castle, the field of sleep-inducing poppies, the forest of apple-throwing trees, etc. I found myself looking for the point where the set ended and the painted wall began, but I do that for modern movies, too. I try to see what is real, and what is computer generated (computer generated doesn’t excite me as much as real.)
3. Judy Garland is simply gorgeous! Here is a young girl, just 16, carrying an entire film. She has to sing and act with dogs and an entire cast of unusual characters, yet she keeps us believing in Dorothy. Watch the scene where she sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow“. It’s in black and white, on her Kansas sound stage farm. She has to make her marks and interact with Toto on a tractor. She is lip-synching to her own voice, and still makes us believe she is singing this song about yearning for a peaceful place for the very first time. Once in Oz, and in color, she is polite, and scared, and amazed, and brave. And beautiful!
4. A movie of this cultural importance invites conversation and memories. “Lions and tigers and bears – oh my!” “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too!” “There’s no place like home.” How many movies and TV shows have referred to the Wizard of Oz? The flying monkeys never scared me as a child, but the wizard gave me nightmares! My daughters were part of the Lollipop League munchkins in a community theater production when they were very young, and they had fun playing with fake Toto after each show.
What are your favorite memories of The Wizard of Oz?
- The Classic – Wizard of Oz Shines Brightly on IMAX (tasithoughts.com)
- Captain America Wizard of Oz Reference (randomfilmmusings.wordpress.com)
- THE WIZARD OF OZ Comes to IMAX 3D for One Week (nerdist.com)