Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nathan on "Scarecrow of Oz" Film

The Scarecrow from the Oz series is already animated, but in this case I'm talking about a different sort of animation. A computer-animated version of L. Frank Baum's The Scarecrow of Oz is the latest project from the same people who did Tin Woodman a few years ago.

Strangely enough, this is actually written as a sequel to that earlier film, although the Scarecrow book came out three years before Tin Woodman.

I'll admit I wasn't too fond of the changes they made to the story in Tin Woodman, and here they're even worse. Most of the basic ideas from the book are there, but in a completely different order, and with some elements altered for no particular reason. Trot is Gloria's cousin, and she and Cap'n Bill were actually intending to reach Jinxland? This added nothing to the story, and just confused me as someone who has read the book.

I also wasn't too keen on many of the designs. Trot looked like some weird Raggedy Ann doll, and Pon like Pinocchio. There was a very Rankin-Bass look to many of the characters, which probably would have worked if they'd actually done the film in stop-motion animation, but doesn't make sense in a computer-animated feature. I did like the Ork, aside from the fact that his mouth was under his beak and had teeth, which bothered me.

For that matter, the Scarecrow had unnecessary teeth as well. Googly-Goo had a weird design, but since the main things we know about him are that he's rich and ugly, it worked.

The effects with the water were quite good, and I enjoyed some of the little touches like King Krewl's statue and the fact that the Tin Woodman was reading his own book at the beginning. Overall, not great, but I'm still impressed that it was done at all. It's nice to know that there are other fans of the Oz books out there, even if I don't always agree with their design choices.

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