Monday, July 23, 2012

Seven thoughts from the first half of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Anne Hathaway is still reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to me and we're about halfway done. More notes on the first half:

  • My memory of the movie is that the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion all have significant moments late in the story that show that they already have brains, heart, and courage. In the book, that happens almost as soon as you meet them and several times.
  • I'm not sure which I like better. I appreciate the drama of doing it later in the story, but it really is cool to see the Scarecrow figure things out before everyone else and to see the Lion being brave while claiming that he's not.
  • Unfortunately, the Woodsman's heart is limited to his crying over hurt animals, but okay.
  • I understand the special effects limitations of the film, but I'm sorry that they didn't include the Mouse Queen and her subjects. They make the poppy field scene a whole lot more fun and memorable.
  • I also dig how the Wizard calls each member of the group separately and appears as something different each time. 
  • Overall, I'm loving the book a lot more than the movie so far. 
  • It's really making me want to read the Eric Shanower/Skottie Young adaptation.


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

I vaguely recall the scene of the Wizard appearing in different forms to each person, and regret its cut from its most famous adaptation as well.

Mitchell Craig said...

Yesyesyes!!! Do buy and read the Shanower/Young adaptation!

John Retzer said...

L. Frank Baum wrote 14 Oz novels and together, I think they constitute a unique and wholly American fantasy world that is at least as complex as that of Middle Earth. Baum's achievement is underappreciated by modern audiences. He managed to develop a fantasy world without the usual heavy reliance on European fairy tales.

I've read them all many times and the count among my favorite works of literature.

Michael May said...

Thanks, John. One of the main reasons I started "reading" this book was to dig into the whole world of Oz with the rest of the series too, so I'm glad to hear that the series stays strong. Can't wait to get to the rest of it.

John Retzer said...

There's also been a theory around for some time that the original book was a parable on Populism. Google that for more. It is also well worth reading Martin Gardner's "The Annotated Wizard of Oz."

Michael May said...

Thanks for those recommendations. Baum wrote in his preface that he didn't intend for Oz to have any "meaning," but clearly he failed in that goal. As he should have. :)


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