Saturday, May 07, 2016

My thoughts about Disney and Oz

This an op-ed piece. This is solely the opinion of Jared "Jay" Davis, and not necessarily the opinions of Oz fans as a whole or any of the other contributors to the blog.

With the word that Disney has plenty more fantasy movies in the works, some Oz fans have noted that there's no sign of the sequel to 2013's Oz the Great and Powerful. Early word is that a script was commissioned, and it seems it was delivered. But since then, no word except for Disney announcing plenty of other movies. Trailers are already running for Alice Through The Looking-Glass, Pete's Dragon, The BFG, and they're gearing up to release a live-action Beauty and the Beast. In addition, word is we're getting sequels to Maleficent and Mary Poppins, a new version of Peter Pan, and a film version of The Nutcracker. This is in addition to their regular animated fare from their own animation studio and Pixar, other live action films, and output from their acquisitions of Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm.

As any longtime reader of the blog knows, Disney has a long history with Oz, and even though there's nothing on the announced schedule yet, it's inevitable that at some point, Disney will make another Oz film. The question is when and what will it be?

Although it might be too early to declare that an Oz the Great and Powerful sequel is dead in the water, honestly, I'm not sure what the sequel would do. Early word from people involved with the movie claimed the sequel would still be set before the events of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. But what would the story be?

As a fan of the books, I was disappointed to see the first movie seemingly change important details. Ozma was seemingly written out of the continuity as the previous king of Oz was now Glinda's father with no mention of siblings. Now, there'd be enough wiggle room to establish that Ozma is Glinda's younger sister, but how could a story that ends with Ozma missing or hidden away end satisfactorily enough? How can you believably advanced the shoehorned romance between the Wizard and Glinda? Frankly, these quandaries make me think that we won't be seeing Oz the Great and Powerful 2. It's quite possible that after getting the script, Disney has decided not to move forward with it. This could change, however.

There are other ways Disney could begin an Oz movie franchise. Begin with The Marvelous Land of Oz or a story that establishes a status quo for sequels, such as The Emerald City of Oz. And there's plenty of spin-off possibilities. Imagine if Disney decided to do a direct to video movie featuring Polychrome, reimagining her as a Rainbow princess.

Or, if Disney really wanted to be bold, simply do a new film adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, taking nothing from the MGM film, and using the same storytelling sensibilities found in their new movies based on Cinderella and The Jungle Book. With Disney's effective marketing, I'm sure that if any studio could pull it off, it'd be them.

But, that's just my opinion. What do you think? Should another studio—such as Dreamworks, 20th Century Fox, Paramount—attempt an Oz film? Or what Oz-based or inspired film do you think could launch a movie franchise?

1 comment:

Ozfan95 said...

The problem with doing a new "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" movie that's directly based on the book is that there will always be those people who think that the MGM film is the original, and they will shout, "Remake! Boo! Why did you remake a classic?" It happened with "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," so I know that it will undoubtably happen here. It makes me sad that so few people know about the book. Did they even read the opening credits to the MGM film? It clearly says, "Based on the book by L. Frank Baum." How do they miss something like that?