*Having recently taken a number of transatlantic flights, I'm pretty caught up on the selection of B tier movies that are offered to insomniac fliers. They ranged from the surprisingly good to the incredibly awful. And then, of course, there was the Kill It With Fire selection. Which one do you think we're going to talk about? Ha! Trick question! That said, Jack The Giant Killer was surprisingly good and you should see it instead of this complete disaster of a flick.
I couldn't finish Oz the Great and Powerful. I made it as far as the creation of the Wicked Witch of the West and no farther. I've heard the Wicked Witch of the East is killed off toward the end, which makes perfect sense because Oz is all about killing women. The magic of Frank L. Baum's legacy lies in it's social commentary. He created a world for children with almost entirely female leads and he trusted boys to stay with it. He did not say "Well, this book is for girls and therefore the boys may be excused from the room." Baum wrote about a myriad of women in complex ways (especially given his contemporaries). He wrote about flawed women, shallow women, greedy women, saintly women, naive women, frightened women, brave women, women who were once men. These women have adventures. They rescue others, men included. They expose corrupt leaderships and galvanize others to carry on in their names. They are conventionally beautiful (Ozma) and unconventionally attractive (The Patchwork Girl).
Here is what Baum never wrote. He never wrote about a shallow flawed abusive man with a "good heart" (Lord save us from that life lie) who was the only hope of otherwise capable women. He never wrote about girls turning against their sisters or standing by and waiting for the arrival of a worthless dick holder to create meaning inside them. He wrote the opposite of that. I was cursing through OTGAP long before the Hollywood moment of West turning green with envy for Glinda. The core message of OTGAP was that women are frequently bitches and any sad excuse for a man is better than one of them. Everyone in the film exists to tell Oz (a charlatan and a fraud, as in the book but with the new addition of womanizing) what a good boy he is. He can do it! He can find the tiniest scrap of soul and use it to lead a kingdom to victory over two sisters that just want power and gold. Since Oz also wants power and gold, he likes this message. The hot babe attached to it doesn't hurt either. This is a man who lies to get with women, who plays them like toys and disposes of them just as casually. But when one of those women finds herself engulfed in fury over his lack of sincerity, she is to blame. Her inner evil is revealed. The problem isn't in him, it's in her expecting anything else.
I couldn't watch another frame from the point West drops into Munchkinland to wave some threats around. I don't want to see anyone in this movie in any other movie. I don't want to watch a film anyone associated with this writes, directs or sweeps floors for. Because the problem with Oz, the thing that needed (apparently) to be fixed, is that it's not about a worthless boy and the jealous bitches he has to deal with. Look, Frank L. Baum was a deeply flawed man. He was a racist with colonialist views and genocidal leanings. But he was able to see women as complex individuals capable of great adventures. What does it say that 100 years later one of our major film companies couldn't? Nothing I can discuss without profanity. Do better, Disney. Do much, much better.