Analyzing the Women of Oz

This is a rambling post~

I have willingly paid to watch a 3D Latino dub version of Oz: The Great and Powerful. What possessed me? I have no idea. I think I just wanted to try out the new theater that’s opened like… a step away from where I live. I had been largely ignoring publicity for a LOT of films, so other than knowing James Franco would be in it and that Michelle Williams was obviously gonna be Glinda, I really had no freaking idea that Mila Kunis was playing the Wicked Witch. I didn’t even think about the Wicked Witch being in the movie. That’s how clueless I was.

Though the 3D was average, except in the opening credits and some of the off-screen 3D effects in the black and white scenes, eye-candy was welcomed in the form of gorgeous shots like this:

oz-great-powerful-scenery

Full frame 1905 Kansas turns into Anamorphic Oz.

Of course, it was a nice nudge at The Wizard of Oz to see 1905 Kansas in such format, to then been given the wonders of Oz in glorious anamorphic high definition. I don’t think the reveal was as awe-inspiring as the 1939 version, when, you know, Dorothy opens the door, and oh my! The colors! My grown-up brain which has grown surrounded by colors on screen didn’t allow itself to be amazed the way it was when watching the scene in the 1939 version. However, even I have to admit that the 1939 version of Oz and Emerald City aren’t as stunning as the visual effects allow these things to be nowadays.

china-doll-oz

that China Girl was AMAZING!

But technology and visual artists aside, there were other details that had me and my mother discussing it. Besides the fact that she told me she almost fell asleep (not because the movie was boring, but because the air conditioning made it the perfect spot for napping on a spring-but-still-hot afternoon). Politics of Oz (oppressor to be taken down by a fool who will serve as image) and Technology/Magic battles (Technology won!? YAY?) aside, we discussed Women. Fresh off International Women’s Day [1].

amy

YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

8 Responses

  1. Did you hear about the producer of the movie saying that he was interested in this story because when he worked at Disney, he felt there weren’t enough children’s stories centered on male characters?

    • amy says:

      @Diandra Rodriguez, OH REALLY? No, I didn’t. And I thought John Carter was centered on a male character just like Prince of Persia was, and though Persia did make money, John Carter was a bomb.

      You got any link?

      • @amy, it came from a Huffington Post interview, which is linked to with commentary here; http://racebending.tumblr.com/post/44985034389/too-many-ladies

        • amy says:

          @Diandra Rodriguez, I find it interesting that men complain there are no strong male leads. I wonder do they think Oz is a strong male lead? He’s a con artist who cheats on women, and his “cheating” is the trigger for Theodora. By the end, do men think Oz becomes a worthy lead? He’s basically a sham. The image of what the people of Oz needed him to be?

      • @amy, While I haven’t seen this movie yet, I think his comment might have been sparked by the heavier marketing presence of the Disney “princesses.” Yet I have a theory that these female characters might have higher visibility because 1) they’re easier to group together than the Disney male heroes, 2) they’re squished into the “princess” trope that girls are encouraged to follow, and 3) girls may buy some of the general and “boy” toys but are also looking for any lead or secondary characters similar to them and, since more movies tend to have male leads, the girls will return again and again to the “princesses” and spend more on a narrower range of characters.

        • amy says:

          @Diandra Rodriguez, makes sense. My niece was watching BackStreet Boy’s Everybody, and instead of picking one of them as in “I’m dracula” or “I’m the mummy,” she chose the girl vampire.

          I enjoyed Oz, but these things really stuck out – not only here, but a majority of movies. A part of me wanted Raimi to whack Glinda and make HER the evil witch haha, but that would go against cannon and fans would be up in arms. I think the sexism people perceive comes with how dated material is. Girls do have something to complain about The Snow Queen, though.

  2. ghost says:

    Could we make similar assessments on other movie witches or other fantasy tales? For example, the last two Snow Whites?

    • amy says:

      @ghost, well. Kinda did? In Mirror Mirror, Julia Robert IS over 40, though the mood of the film is really campy and it’s all kind of historical. In Huntsman, Theron did come off better than Snow White, but that might be our bias against Kirsten. I still think Theron’s character was much better developed in it than Snow White herself.

      Hansel & Gretel does show a witch Famke that’s over 40, and she also has dark hair. And Pfeiffer is a blond over 40 on Stardust.

      If you can name me other movies, we could try and figure it out. In all of the above mentioned examples, we can’t be sure of what the grade of putting out is. We do know Theron does kinda lure men and kills them there… xD

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