Lost in Adaptation: The Wizard of Oz

The Cowardly Lion could kick your ass.

About The Dom

Reviewer of games, TV shows and movies. The Dom also likes to look at film adaptations of books and talk about what got lost transitioning from page to screen.

88 comments

  1. the choice to make her shoes Rudy slippers was made so that the shoes would stand out on the movie screen.

  2. The Mysterious M

    His name, at least as I’ve always heard it, is…well say “bow” (like take a bow) with an M at the end

  3. I’m glad you covered the thing that always bugged me most about the adaptation, turning the Cowardly Lion into a bipedal lion-man of some sort rather than an actual lion. I appreciate they had limited special effects, but I would have thought they could at least create a pantomime horse style lion suit with two men inside it.
    I think the point about Dorothy wanting to return home was more about wanting to see her aunt and uncle again rather than wanting to see Kansas again, but it would have been a nicer ending to have brought them to live in Oz with her rather than send her back.

    • It does happen eventually in the books. The tornado wrecking their home left her aunt and uncle even more broke and a slightly older Dorothy finally figures out their situation sucks. They all move to Oz where it gets so schmaltzy, you kind of regret common sense won.

    • They did actually consider casting MGM’s own Leo the Lion or a different real lion for the role, but they realized the production using a real wild animal would be too much trouble, so they opted for a man.

  4. At least the sisters Grimm series fixed it by saying that while in use the slippers glowed red with power but were silver when the magic wasn’t used

  5. One thing I liked, is that they used the china people, and some of the other concepts from the book, in Oz the Great and Powerful.

    • I appreciate the effort but for every time they did that they threw in elements of the movie as if they were nervous about just using the original book. Considering how badly ‘Return to Oz’ did it wouldn’t surprise me if the elements of the original movie were added afterwards.

    • I think it’s ironic that though the movie version of “The Wiz” is considered inferior to this…at least the Lion in that one turned out to not really be a coward, which was actually a step closer to the book.

  6. Wasn’t there something about mouse queen and mice dragging the sleeping Lion from the poppy field? I’m sorry, I didn’t read the original book yet (I read the Russian adaptation by Volkov countless times though), but I thought that it was there. In the movie, if I remember it correctly, Glinda neutralized poppies’ effect by her magic.
    Although I can be mistaken. There was quite a lot of changes in Russian version. Girl’s name was Ellie Smith and she lived with her parents. Toto[shka] talked in the Magical land. The word “Oz” wasn’t mentioned at all and the wizard’s name was Goodwin. Tin Man is Iron Lumberjack. Witches have different names and so on.

    • The Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow rescued Dorothy and Toto from the poppy field but were unable to resuce the Lion beause he was so big. While they were lamenting the fate of their companion the Tin Woodman spotted a fieldmouse being persecuted by a wild cat and saved it by decapitating the cat with his axe. The field mouse turned out to be the queen of all field mice and in gratitude for being saved she and her people rescued the lion (they were too small for the poppies to affect them) by towing him out on a wooden cart made by the woodman.
      Now I HAVE read the book, several times.
      It’s great!!!

    • The Russian version sounds weird.

      • Oh, so the part about the queen of mice was the same (she was called Ramina in this version because, apparently, Volkov couldn’t stand it then a character doesn’t have a proper name).

        Well, it was at times less weird – there were no people made of china, or living trees, no Hammer-heads – there were Marrans instead, who were just a tribe that could jump very well. There were saber-toothed tigers instead of that tiger-bear creatures.
        Description of the girl’s life in Kansas was much shorter and far less depressing – she wasn’t that much bothered with her surroundings and knew how to entertain herself. And she had rather resilient parents. So it was far more believable then she wanted to return home.
        Most of plot-points are the same, but there were lots of minor changes. It was something like this:
        Light-blue land – Munchkins (actually munch all the time) – witch called Gingema – caused that cyclone to harm people of the outside world
        Purple land – Winkies (actually blink all the time) – witch called Bastinda (was Gingema’s sister)
        Yellow land – the name of the people is unknown as well as their tic – fairy called Villina (good witches are called “fairies”) – made so that cyclone would harm no one, but take Ellie’s house and drop it on Gingema, didn’t expect to bring Ellie with it (because the family always left the house before in a case of cyclone).
        Pink land – Chatters (talk a lot) – fairy called Stella (instead of Glinda)
        Wizard’s name was James Goodwin and that’s why everyone called him Goodwin. He was also from Kansas (instead of Omaha) and Ellie meets him in a nearby town after returning home.
        Land is just called Magic Land.
        There was no kiss from Villina, Ellie was mostly protected by Gingema’s shoes (because somehow everyone knew that those are shoes of a witch). But Villina told her that she sees three creatures with three wishes in Ellie’s future and that those wishes have to be granted if she wants to return home.
        Fun thing about Strasheela (Scarecrow, name basically means “scary/ugly one”, who is guarding a wheat field instead of a corn one) is that his first complaint in this version wasn’t that he was brainless or that he had to be on a pole. It was basically “look what I have to wear!” X)
        As for Iron Lumberjack, it’s just the material, the story is the same.
        The fact that Totoshka (Toto) talked made it weird that they still had to stop him from attacking mice by grabbing his collar. You’d thought a sentient dog is easier to be reasoned with.
        Also there were parts like “Bastinda threatened that she’ll feed Totoshka to rats, so he lived in Lion’s cage so Lion could protect him”.
        It’s not like it’s entirely different story, but it has a lot of different details.
        It’s the sequels (5 of them) where things went completely different (although there still were some common plot-devices). Two about Ellie returning to the Magic land and three about her younger sister, Annie Smith, who was born then Ellie was in her third journey (it was predicted by Ramina that Ellie would be able to visit the Magic Land only trice). The first sequel is rather popular, it’s about a munchkin (Urfin Jus, who made himself stop munching by willpower) making an army of wooden soldiers (to overthrow Strasheela) and bringing them to life by a powder (I said that there were common plot-devices) made from a mysterious plant which was brought to his garden by cyclone. Damn, it looks like politics in this land is made by cyclones and people from Munchkins’ land…

        • Wow, where can I find these movies?!?!

          • If only there were movies… I wrote about it below – this stories were mostly read. There was a stop-motion series in the 70’s, but the book usually came first. Well, at least until my generation (born the year the USSR ceased to exist). Then we got animated series (4 parts) based on Baum’s book (and the girl’s name was Dolly, because it’s a mixture of Dorothy and Ellie), but I vaguely remember them. I didn’t even realized that it was Baum’s version (but, then again, it has the same plot). I didn’t remember Jack Pumpkinhead was in it (apparently he was O_o).
            As for the only live-action movie… to quote my mom: “What, we had a live-action movie based on that? O_O”. It was made in the middle of the 90’s (awful time) was shown on TV, pretty much fell into obscurity. I remember that I watched it, because I was a fan of the books… but, again, I remember almost nothing about it.
            So if in case of MGM movie you can say that this is how most of the people of the country know this story, I don’t think that’s the same with the Russian attempts to bring it to the screen. Still the most popular versions of characters’ designs are from illustrations by Leonid Vladimirsky.
            There were news that they are going to release an animated movie based on the second book (about Urfin Jus and wooden soldiers) next year, but:
            – it’s by “Melnitsa” and their recent movies were all about pop-culture references, song covers and all such stuff (although that 4-parter based on Baum’s book was their first project, but that was 16 years ago);
            – it’s gonna be _3D-animated_ -_-
            So I have a bad feeling about it =\

            As for other differences of Volkov’s version:
            Shoes were found in the nearby cave and brought to Ellie by Totoshka.
            Munchkins gave Ellie lots of food for her journey. They actually brought a several-year supply of food for her, but she took only what she needed. I was genuinely surprised that in the original she had to collect food supplies herself. Maybe it’s that mythical “Russian hospitality” talking – not only she’s a guest, but she freed you, how can you not offer food to her? (she attended celebration in both versions).
            She was called “Fairy of the Killing House” by Munchkins (and “Fairy of the Saving Water” by Winkies, although it sounds… ecological X) ).
            Iron Lumberjack, after becoming all made of iron, thought (I’m quoting here): “I, a man without heart, have no right to love a girl”. And he actually told her so and “returned her her word”, saying that she is free now from her promise to be his wife. But that “strange girl” wasn’t happy about it and said that she still loves him and is going to wait for him to change his mind. And the first time Lumberjack cried was while telling this story (Strasheela immediately rushed to wipe his tears away). And Strasheela interrupted him to tell that Gingema was killed by Ellie’s house.
            Gingema apparently was feeding upon leeches: Munchkins in the beginning said that she made them to collect leeches for her, in Lumberjack’s story she was promised a basket of “fattest leeches” instead of “two sheep and a cow”. And in the second book this goes on: Urfin Jus was her apprentice but he couldn’t eat leeches and was told that he couldn’t be a wizard if he can’t do it.
            Strasheela picked up a stick to use as a cane because he didn’t walk well. First thing Lumberjack did for them – made a better cane for him.
            Totoshka’s dream is to win a fight against neighbor’s dog named Hector.
            Before they met the Lion, Ellie was carried away by a “human-eater”. It was witnessed by a rather sexist squirrel. She was mocking that “two big strong men” couldn’t keep a little girl safe. Strasheela, a three-day-old strawman who can barely walk is “big and strong” just because he is – relatively – male? And Ellie is said to be a little shorter then grown-up men in that land. Lumberjack started crying again and Strasheela again rushed to wipe tears out, exclaiming “What are you doing? Ellie has your oil-can!”. They had to storm the castle of that creature (thankfully, he lived alone… because he ate all his servants long ago). As a result Lumberjack cut that human-eater in half (after Strasheela throw himself under his feet to make him stumble). Along with a copper kitchen pot he wore as a helmet. So yeah, kids, we removed the part about people made of china to bring you one more murder and – apparently – cannibalism (although it isn’t clear if he was eating his own kind or he was some sort of special creature)! Aren’t you glad? ^_^
            There was no squashed bug and crying over him and no crying after Strasheela got stuck on the pole in the middle of the river (because Lumberjack had already cried two times in more suitable situations).
            It was mentioned that Lion secretly took Totoshka to hunt with him at night, so Totoshka could eat leftovers of his prey. There’s a bit about how Totoshka caught a large mouse for breakfast and “fortunately, Lumberjack didn’t saw that”. And then you get to that part about wild cat and think “fortunately indeed O_O”.
            Guardian of the Gates is called Faramant.
            Some changes are very minor and somewhat strange: like buckwheat porridge and “black” (rye) bread instead of oat porridge and white bread in the original (and this food reminds Ellie of home). Or in the original Tin Man and Scarecrow “stood up in the corner and kept quiet all night”, but Lumberjack and Strasheela in the same scene were “occasionally speaking in a whisper” (well, maybe that still counts as “keeping quiet”).
            And I’m not even a half through X)

    • iron lumberjack? wasn’t that one of the jaegers from pacific rim?

    • SailorRustyBacon

      Ohhmygawd I really hope there’s a film version of THAT out there!

      Just for the possibility of Snob or Brandon Tenold reviewing it XD squeeeeee

      • Does the implication that it must suck means “because it’s different” or “because it Soviet/Russian” (“and they would watch it without translation so it would be even funnier”)? X) Because the changes that were made are no better or worse that ones made in the MGM movie.
        There’s a good reason why USSR called itself “the most reading country in the world” – a lot of entertainment came from books. Show-business wasn’t really a business, cinema and animation were sponsored by the state, so it didn’t work the way it worked in USA. Brandon’s “look at ‘War and Peace’!” argument doesn’t really work – it was the most expensive movie USSR ever made. Soviet cinema wasn’t about high budgets. And if someone tries to make effects with low budgets… you got _that_ version of “Hobbit” X_x So they mostly tried to keep it simple. So the Volkov’s books are actually known far better then anything made from them (but, then again, pretty much no one knew that _that_ version of “Hobbit” existed, so…).
        There is a stop-motion series made in 70-s. My mother remembers it very fondly (she was about 9 then it came out), although there’s even a joke “you remember then you were a kid and hurried home to watch some cartoons, turned a TV on… and the cartoon was _stop-motion_?”, meaning that quality of such cartoons wasn’t that good. The thing that really bothers me about it is that Strasheela (Scarecrow) looks like a freaking egg in a vest O_o I know that a popular Russian image of him is different from American, because the most popular illustrations portrayed him as a little chubby man (because he is _stuffed_)… but he was made from clothes, so he would scare the birds because they would mistake him for a man! Why is he an egg-shaped sack in a vest? =\ Some people say that this version of Ellie looks like Audrey Hepburn (maybe… if her eye-lashes were of the size of the pencils… and there were two of them for each eye…).
        But for the most part it’s on the same level as other little cartoons with little budgets. The song about how main heroes are heading to the Emerald City became very popular, even people who didn’t watch cartoon know it.
        And yes, they finally made a live-action version… in the 90’s. And 90’s was so horrible in Russia that criticizing anything made in that period by its quality is like kicking someone who is already down =( But the director of this was the director of “King Stag”, which I really like (but, then again, I can imagine what a review of it would be like if someone would watch it without translation or context, just making fun of everything on screen: production was very theatrical and they used hobby horses instead of real ones and so on) so I don’t think he didn’t at least try… but then again, even if he tried something with dialog, you’d never know because it would be reviewed without translation XD

  7. That was a wonderfully done review, I laughed and now really want to read the books (I got some of them but haven’t made the time yet)

    Every time I thin of Kansas I think back to the book “What’s the Matter With Kansas” and cringe. I don’t recommend you read that one, it’s all about U.S. politics.

    But I do hope Princess Bride will appear on this show, it’s an example of the modern phenomena of the book’s author also being the movie’s screenwriter.

  8. Finally! A side-by-side comparison between these two works!
    I love the book, I consider it one of the best children’s books of all time and one my favourite novels as well as the land of Oz being one of my favourite fantasy worlds.
    I have a dislike for the movie for two reasons;
    Firstly I would be more then happy to treat the book and the film as two seperate entities…If everyone esle would; the movie was so good and is considered such a revered classic that any subsequent movies are immediately compared to it. Which means that when they stick closer to the book they are judged not in how well they stick to the book but how distant they are form the movie. When ‘Return to Oz’ (one of my favourite movies of all time) first came out it wasn’t just slammed for being dark and scary, it was slammed for being dark and scary where the first film was so bright and colourful. Even people like Siskel & Ebert and Leonard Maltin were slamming the film and they always compared it to the original film and left the books out of the equation. On the other hand when ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ came along and couldn’t make up it’s mind whether it wanted to be like the original film or the original books people quite liked it meaning that the original books are pretty much taboo for adaptation.
    (sarcastically) Thanks Leonard Maltin!
    The only consolation is that ‘Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return’ was such a massive bomb that the Oz brand is pretty much box office poison. Not the ideal situation but at least we won’t be getting ‘Oz the Great and Powerful 2’!
    The other thing is dislike about Oz is the inky blank cloud it’s left over the fantasy genre; I dislike the idea of taking a straight up second world fantasy and twisting it into a story with a moral against escapism. How many times have you been watching a fantasy movie and enjoying it only to have some bulls**t moral against escapism thrown at you to make you feel bad for enjoying what you just watched? Don’t believe me? Then what was the moral of ‘The Forbidden Kingdom’? or ‘Legend’? or ‘Dragonslayer?’ or any of the countless fantasy movies made before Lord of the Rings came along and showed that it was OK to like fantasy?
    See what I mean? And it all started with the Wizard of Oz.
    Despite all this there are plenty of things I like about the Wizard of Oz, I like the production design, I like the music, I like the comedy, I like the acting. The cornier elements and obvious symbolism irritate me sometimes but on its own its a pretty good film. It’s just the mark it left on the Oz brand name and on the fantasy genre that I object to.
    This was a pretty great review. Can’t wait for see the one for ‘Return to Oz’.
    I’ll be watching
    >:)

    • The most faithful adaptation was the anime series, & even it used the MGM Dorothy.

      I have yet to see this adaptation of Ozma of Oz from the 60s or 70s. It looked kinda promising. I saw a trailer for it on VHS decades ago, but can’t really find it. Had a helluva time trying to find the drastically altered Treasure Island adaptation where Jim & Silver are tight but Trelawny & the crew keep trying to kill Jim.

    • Oz the Great & Powerful was just dreadful. Itt was more of a Prequil to Wicked, which I also hate.

      • Huh? Um, no. The Oz the Great and Powerful and Wicked don’t really fit together at all in terms of continuity.

      • I really really wanted to like Wicked but I only liked ‘Defying Gravity’. Admittedly I only listened to the full soundtrack on YouTube so maybe if I see it on stage I’ll see something I’ve missed but it feels like they sacrificed so much story potential for oz-themed high school drama.
        And yet strangely I still want them to make a movie, I’m a bit of a masochist at heart I suppose.
        Oz the Great and powerful was awful, Raimi has made SO much better (Darkman is one of the best superhero films of all time!!!).

  9. I read some of the books. They are pretty great. I should read some of the other ones some time. They had some pretty dark moments in them. They had some pretty great female characters as well.

    Gotta watch Return to Oz at some point. It looks awesome.

  10. Don’t ask the Wizard for trousers. He’ll just say that you have the trousers to change all along. xD

  11. Courage is not the lack of fear, nay, a lack of fear is nothing but foolhardiness, true courage is the ability to act in spite of fear. Too bad there weren’t any saturday morning cartoons in 1900 because every kid knows that now.

  12. 1 – They changed her shoes from silver to ruby in order to take advantage of the new movie trope of having films in coulour. (It’ll never catch on.) Silver shoes wouldn’t have stood out as well on the screen.

    2 – In the book, Dorthy was a little girl, not a teenager, so it’s understandable why she was always wanting to go home, no matter where said home was.

    • Believe it or not MGM wanted Dorothy to be a little girl too. Judy Garland was their second choice becuase they couldn’t get Shirley Temple.
      In some parallel reality there exists a version of the Wizard of Oz with Shirley Temple as Dorothy. In another parallel reality there exists a fully animated movie version made by Disney as a follow-up to ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’.
      Which universe would you rather live in?

  13. And oh yeah… that childhood thing that scared the shite outta me… I had two. One was the woman who was turned into a robot at the end of Superman 3 (Shuddup.), which I believe influenced me to this day with my aversion to amputation and prosthetic limbs (they creep me out)

    But the other was actually in one of your other reviews that you mentioned here. The Gomok (the black wolf thing) from The Never Ending Story. Scared the pants off of me as a kid and I guess it still does ,because as I was watching your video for that adaptation, you showed it for a brief moment and I jumped. Still. Like… 30yrs later. Still scares me.

  14. I heard that the silver slippers were silver in the book as an allusion to the silver standard populist platform politics of the time, not sure if that is true or just one interpretation. And I heard that – like with Lucille Ball’s hair – they were made red for the movie to really show off brand new color at the time.

  15. I once had a history class that took a populist interpretation of Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Of course, it sucked the joy out of it by turning a whimsical fairy tale into allegories for farmers, gold v. silver standard, inflation and turn of the century politics. But I think there is probably a lot of validity to it. It might help explain why the protagonist is specifically from Kansas and why she wants to return, a romanticization of farmers, or at least pro-farmer. Oz and the emerald city representing the wealthy elite (bankers, tycoons, politicians) and essentially being con-men. and so on. really, these turn of the century themes (distrust of banks, the 1%, the politicians, how the system is set against the poor) are still pretty valid today. I wouldn’t know if the actual author, L. Frank Baum, was a political activist of his day though.

    • Its a popular theory but it doesn’t really carry any weight since it wasn’t created until some 60 years after the book (and decades after the movie), and it would have clicked much sooner if it had really been that obvious. The theory didn’t really catch on till the 80’s after Watergate.

      But Baum’s actual politics were pretty definitively NOT populist, (the opposite in fact) and the man that originally wrote the essay in the 60’s, Littlefield, later admitted it wasn’t based on any sort of fact but his own personal musings.

      The analogy can still sort of fit if you really want to, but it pretty clearly wasn’t the author’s secret intent in any way, same way Dark Side of The Moon doesn’t really match up to the Oz movie unless you’re really trying to make it fit.

  16. The Wizard did tell Dorothy and her friends in the book that they could see him, but they had to see him separately, unlike in the movie where they all saw him together. The Wizard appeared to Dorothy as the Head we saw in the movie, but to the Scarecrow, he was a Lovely Lady. To the Tin Woodman, he was a Beast. To the Lion, he was a Ball of Fire. This is something I’m glad the movie changed, because the way the book does it is not efficient storytelling. They each go the Wizard one at a time, he introduces himself in the exact same way, he asks them the exact same questions, and he tells each of them that he won’t give them what they want unless they kill the Wicked Witch of the West. Not bring back her broomstick like in the movie. He said point blank that they had to kill her.

  17. You forgot two –

    1: Dorothy was a five year old blue eyed blonde.

    2: Dorothy was a racist little bitch.

    Seriously, read the books – the entire original series. She calls anyone who’s not like her “ugly” and “stupid” and other names and always blames them for things that are not their fault. Like the time Toto ate one of the people in a village made up of all living, breathing baked goods.

  18. ManWithGoodTaste

    There is also Tin Man, which is a brilliant miniseries retelling. Probably the best retelling by the director. Totally worth your money and time.

    And who could forget the infamous russian versions? The first book was translated into Russian by a Alexander Volkov several decades ago, with some name changes (Dorothy = Ellie). But due to the iron curtain at the time, translation of any of the sequels could not be arranged. So the man wrote his own sequels, 5 of them in total. It was quite something. All of those books have been translated into English, although they are hard to find.

    And about that alternate interpretation you mentioned. If you ask the right people, everything under the Sun is represents homosexuality. You might be better off if you ask no people.

    • I like “Tin Man”. It manages to stay cool even though it feels like there were re-writings (especially the fact that it is called “Tin Man”, but the story isn’t centered around him). So it makes me wonder what would it look like if it was changed less…
      And I grew up with Russian versions by Volkov. As far as I can see, without reading the sequels of the original yet, they tend to be less creative then Baum’s books. But they only book I was displeased with is the last one. I can’t remember it o_o

      • ManWithGoodTaste

        Re-red them.

        • I actually did several times in the last few years (well, except for the last one because I thought that “finished after the author’s death”+”has an alien invasion in it”+”I can’t remember a thing about it”=”I don’t want to read it yet”). I still wouldn’t call them bad.
          The only thing that I actually thought was “too much” was how Urfin treated those dwarfs in the 5th book. I know that he changed his views, but he was literally cooing over them XD

    • Tin Man? The one where monkeys fly out of the witch’s boobs and the Scarecrow does kung fu about as convincingly as a real scarecrow? With memetically terrible series with lines like, “You’re the only one who knows what a homo looks like” and “A homo is a man weak of heart”? Where they try to be edgy and call the setting “the O.Z.” and give it random CGI monsters based on nothing?

      • Yeah. And I still liked it X)
        And I thought that CGI-monsters were based on poppy field… Yeah, that doesn’t sound better than “based on nothing”…

      • That’s fine, people can like anything. I’m mostly replying to ManWithGoodTaste saying it’s brilliant and people should spend cash on a SyFy flick.

        • Well, I too think that it is worthy of attention. It has problems, but, I think, people, who like the Oz universe would find it interesting. It has so many shout-outs X)
          And for a SyFy flick it has less CGI-animation. I actually was thinking “aren’t they infamous for their effects?” – and then those “poppies” appeared X)

      • ManWithGoodTaste

        Wow, you are a classic Internet Asshole.

  19. Great episode. The movie is really good, but I love the book, and I wish they hadn’t changed so much. There was an animated adaptation made in 1982 that followed the book much more closely.

    The main reason Dorothy wants to get home so badly is that she loves her aunt and uncle. There’s even a bit in the book where she mentions that if she doesn’t get home they will assume she’s dead and go into mourning, which they won’t be able to afford because the crops weren’t good the previous year.

  20. The Dom has got “it”

    Normally I just come here for Critic, Brain, and ole Mike J. It’s their humor and the way they tend to bookend their reviews seems almost educational. It’s not just for that particular film in the episode, but you learn something about cinema you didn’t know before.

    This kid has that.

  21. SailorRustyBacon

    The wicked witch never bothered me as a little girl; she just came across as cartoonishly evil.

    Now, the Wheelers, the Deadly Desert, and especially Mombi from Return to Oz, creeped me out! While my 6-year-old self was still able to watch the Wheelers & how they ended up turning into sand, I couldn’t stand to see those detached heads being awake in their glass cases; I always ducked and covered during those parts :p

    I hope Dom gets around to comparing Return to Oz with the book, combined with Ozma of Oz. I also hope he covers Charlie & the Chocolate Factory especially. (wtf is with that Glass Elevator sequel??)

    • Even though I love ‘Return to Oz’ that scene where she wakes up the mombi heads gives me serious goosebumps. I once watched ‘Return to Oz’ with my father and he said there was something disturbing about the Wheelers in Kubrickian way.

  22. The thing that scared you as a kid but didn;t bother anyone else….My creepy-ass Teddy Ruxpin animatronic.. Turning itself on at midnight, singing “My Friend” in a drowning voice, talking to Grubby (who wan’t there), his eyes rolling into the back of his head…Needless to say, his batteries were low & his eyes were in need of repair.

    Actually, it was the witch’s belt, not her hat, that controlled the flying monkeys. & the Scarecro’s brain was a mishmash on pins, needles, & bran, not putty.

    Yeah, Scarecrow’s pretty straight on from the book. In latter books you realize that he’s still a complete idiot who thinks he’s a genius & plays the role of Captain Obvious. It’s never pointed out, but I think his friends just put up with it & let him think he’s smart as not to hurt his feelings. He does seem smart compared to Wogglebug & Jack though.

    The Road to Oz really fleshed out the Tin Woodsman. Nick Chopper blatantly likes Scarecrow more way than his other friends, he’s obscenely narcissistic, infatuated with bling, & has a rather threatening & insistent personality.

    Lion was a very modest bully. I got a kick out of his friend Hungry Tiger, who never ate any babies but only ever talked about eating babies.

    Glinda is probably the biggest badass in the books, very powerful, lives like a queen in Quadling County, uses her all-girl military to in a little war in Oz to install a new ruler, & taught Oscar Diggs (Oz) how to use real magic.

    Oz was no taller than a child. Fitting since there were almost no tall humans all of Oz, except Glinda. Everyone says he’s a good person, yet when King Pastoria of Oz died, he left the crowned princess in the care of a known wicked witch, who turned him into a boy, & he took the throne of Oz for himself. Sure Ozma was too young to rule, but it makes him look like he conspired with Mombi.

    Dorothy was pretty heavily changed. She was much younger, blonde, wore a white dress & a hat in all but the first book, she was a pushy, bossy, insistent person, & she wasn’t afraid to get punchy. Unfortunately after the first 4 or 5 books, Baum toned her significantly more polite & saccharine, but every once in awhile she’d pull a bitch, like with this one sad sap who annoyed her because his body made noise whenever he moved. At that point, he’d also watered down the series by pretty much doing away with antagonists. Truly, The Marvelous Land of Oz was his most mature entry, while The Road to Oz was probably the most insipid. Baum cutting back on the animal cruelty was nice though.

    • Thing that scared me that doesn’t bother anyone else: the scene in Beetlejuice where Geena Davis’s eye pop out of her head. That scene has prevented me from watching the movie to this day but no one else seems bothered by it.

  23. Moviemantweeter1999

    You called me your beautiful watcher now I feel special. Anyways good episode and the china town was used in the recent oz flick OZ:the Great and Powerful and that one was a decent flick but they made it in the film that you have to feel bad for the Chinatown doll character they introduced(which I guess I did). But people like Lindsay Ellis didn’t really like the movie but I don’t agree with them. I also think you don’t think you need too be saying your pharaprasing since I think we got that allready!!! Also Im not gonna say if I was scared by the witch or not because that would make me a liar if I gave the answer away to that.

  24. I do love the books, for all that I enjoy the film

  25. The Oz books are amazing, but I’ve managed not to see this film in its entirety despite living in Kansas.

  26. Please, please do The Congress one day. It’s the perfect example of an awesome movie that also is an atrocious adaption.

  27. Oh dear. I didn’t need to find more reviewers to love…I don’t have much time to screw around as it is…but…damn you, this series is fun as hell!

  28. the notorious white moth

    I love the Return to Oz movie; never read the book.

    I think the change to ruby slippers was, like so much of the film (including the reason The Wizard of Oz with its very strong color motifs was the first color film in the first place) just to show off the new color rendering technology. This movie was a tech demo.

    For those who have read the first book: does anyone else think it odd that Nick would weep bitterly for any ants he might have stepped on, but didn’t even bat an eye at decapitating two cats for trying to not starve – and we’re supposed to sympathize with him on both fronts? The blatant hypocrisy in that bothers me.

    The wizard gave the scarecrow bran – a more sophisticated grain, good for the brain; and that ‘green bottle’… what’s a liquid that comes in green bottles and gives people courage? Yeah, that was hard liquor. He got a wild animal that everyone was already afraid of drunk.

    Also, in the book, Dorothy was much, much younger – like… barely more than a toddler if that, and consequently very naiive. Overall, the book was very inconsistent in its themes, very much style over substance, and at times, became very much an author tract.

    • Yeah, he was looking a bit hypocritical for me too. Although I read the Russian version, where the scene of weeping over a crushed bug was removed (and another scene of murder was added =D). But still, it was “all of the life is precious AND I WILL DECAPITATE YOU IF YOU’RE THINKING OTHERWISE!!!” (while two of the group are carnivores).
      But also I thought that that scene with the rescue of the mice queen was strange either way. He interrupted the perfectly natural thing. By decapitation. And, sure, it was lucky for them that the mouse was the queen and mice helped them for this. But what if it was other way around? What if the cat was the king of wild cats and was killed? If mice helped to drag a _lion_ from the field, just imagine that wild cats could do if they cared about their ruler o_o
      Well, at least in the Russian version it is mentioned in the narration that he wasn’t feeling good because of having to kill a cat.

  29. You need to do John Carter of Mars next, I was surprised reading the books how faithful the movie was which is why I’m kinda disgusted by how much hate that movie gets. You should also review some Tarzan at some point.

  30. I keep seeing people mentioning that they hope to see The Princess Bride. I hope to God not. That book ruined the movie for me because I didn’t realize until I read it how stupid Buttercup actually is. She’s in the Too Stupid To Live category. She didn’t deserve to be a heroine, she’s just TOO DUMB.

    I’d love to see a (positive! cause I’m sick and tired of seeing negativity) side by side review of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter book and movie. (Did you know that aside from the vampires and the fact Will was actually the friend of one of Lincoln’s sons, not Abe himself, that movie is actually more historically accurate than Spielberg’s Lincoln? Right down to the wallpaper.)

    I’d also love to see books that have had a lot of different movie adaptations done like The Phantom Of The Opera to see which version is the most like the book. (Dear God, people, CHRISTINE IS A BLUE EYED BLONDE WHO SUFFERS FROM NEARSIGHTEDNESS! NOT A BROWN EYED BRUNETTE WITH PERFECT VISION!!!! Hell, her nearsightedness is actually part of the reason why Erik was able to fool her.) Or Dracula.

    (Okay, so I might have some issues in regards to Phantom.)

    And some books where the movies actually were (in my opinion at least) way better than the book. Such as Forrest Gump and The Woman In Black (the one with Daniel Radcliffe, I haven’t see the older adaptations.)

    But please, for the love of all that’s holy, NO PRINCESS BRIDE!

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