Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dark Oz - Yeah, Right...

Hey, folks, sorry for not blogging much recently. Haven't exactly kept my head in the Oz world this week. (Save some posts on the Oz Club Message Board and the Regalia mailing list.)

Recently, on The Daily Ozmapolitan, I noticed this article about a movie that's been announced, based on the Oz (later Dark Oz) comic book series. If you plan to read this entry further than this, please see that article, as I will be commenting on it.

Now, keep in mind that the poster is a concept poster. In fact, when I sent a link to Sam Milazzo, he mentioned he'd seen the artwork for it on the internet before, so you likely won't see it up at the local movie theater.

Another thing that stuck out was the 2010 planned release date. It could happen, I'll admit, but they'd have to start filming soon, and they say they're still re-writing the script.

2010 is going to be another major year for movies. In March, we have Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, then in May, there's Iron Man 2, Shrek Goes Fourth, and Disney's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the rest of the summer will likely be filled with action movies and animated family entertainment, headlined by the Disney/Pixar Toy Story 3. Later in the year will bring us the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and the Fox/Walden production The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (Even though everything is subject to change, the Wikipedia page for 2010 movies gives you a pretty good idea of what other movies are coming.)

And it doesn't end there. Two other Oz movies have also been given tentative 2010 release dates, three if you count The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus. A computer-animated version of that story, John Boorman's CGI-French animated adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Alpine Picture's Dorothy of Oz all are expected to be released in 2010. (Dorothy of Oz and Santa Claus are expected for holiday release dates, while Boorman's Wizard has not been given a specific time, and I'm thinking might go straight to home video.)

So, not only is 2010 filled with other adventure/fantasy movies, there are two Oz movies, and another Baum-based movie.

If you look at the plot summary they have for Dark Oz, it sounds familiar. Yes, the plot seems to have already been done in both Disney's Return to Oz and the SciFi Channel's Tin Man. My comment there even helped one fellow come up with this video:

My surprise is that the movie got greenlit at all. The comics it is based on are obscure as anything. I'm not really surprised they're being reprinted as graphic novels, as the publishing industry is largely moving to Print-On-Demand and digital versions. Books can stay widely available because large numbers of copies being printed is no longer required.

However, I'm not saying Dark Oz won't get made, as over the recent years, the price of making a movie has dropped with the increasing number of High-Definition ready cameras, video editing software packages, and more intuitive special effects and animation programs. (This does not mean that a motion picture won't stop costing millions of dollars, but now production costs don't need to be quite so high, save to pay the people involved and other fees.)

Distributing the movie is really the biggest matter here. A lot of fairly interesting films never become mainstream movies. Some independent or "artsy" movies are only released in film festivals and art houses before getting onto DVD. (Which is also easy now due to new technologies and trends.) Even big name actors like Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, and Alan Cumming have appeared in such films. Some movies don't even make it into film festivals and are never seen by the public. Digital distribution, using sites like YouTube, is just about a last, though still viable, resort.

Anyways, Dark Oz may or may not get released, but if it is, it's up for some stiff competition, Oz or no Oz.


Nathan said...

Prince of Persia? Is that based on the video game?

I have to wonder why everyone wants to mine spin-offs of the Oz books before the books themselves. Sure, Return to Oz didn't make much money, but that WAS almost twenty-five years ago. I can see traditional Oz not being much of a box office draw, but wouldn't it be more of one than something adapting comics BASED on those original books?

Oz RPG said...

Interesting that they mention Dorothy, since the heroes of the comics were original characters.

Oddly enough, those comics are what got me designing my Oz role-playing game. Mostly because I didn't think they were very Ozzy.

Nathan said...

I guess people who aren't that familiar with Oz are going to expect Dorothy in a major role.