Wednesday, May 28, 2014

After the Wizard review

After the Wizard, a 2011 independent release telling the story of a young orphaned girl claiming to be Dorothy Gale, is a tough movie to place. It is neither a touching fantasy drama like the poster claims, or an adventure family. Watching it doesn't make it any clearer either.

It really isn't an Oz film. The Tin Woodman and Scarecrow are here along with a brief appearance by the lion and some flying monkeys and Toto, but otherwise it's really the story of Elizabeth and two adults who try to understand her. Not much happens, not much is explained, and not much is given for the reason behind this film. The idea of what happens after Dorothy's original adventures has been explored a few times already, so maybe that's why the filmmakers decided to try and tell something new.

If it was attempting to tell the story of a girl using fantasy as a way to deal with problems, it should have focused on exploring that idea, rather than having Elizabeth shout that's she's really Dorothy Gale and then try to run straight into a tornado. The movie feels suffocating, never really letter any characters develop, or action take place far beyond the depressing walls of the orphanage in Kansas.

I will say the costumes of the Tin Woodman and Scarecrow were done in an interesting fashion, a kind of steam punk version that's popular for Halloween costumes these days.

After the Wizard claims to be too much and then doesn't do much to try and prove it. Indie movie fans may find something reputable, but Oz fans need not waste the time.

Grade: C

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lea Michele on singing as Dorothy

Entertainment Tonight posted a cool little interview with Lea Michele where she talks about singing as Dorothy in Legends of Oz and what her favorite song to sing from the movie was.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Megan Hilty announces Legends of Oz contest

China Princess Megan Hilty dropped by The View today to announce a new sweepstakes for Legends of Oz fans.

 You can find out more about the sweepstakes here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wizard of Oz festival coming to Michigan June 2014

The Yellow Brick Road is closer than you think!

The city of Ionia, Michigan, will celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz by hosting its own festival June 20-21.

The event will include character meet and greets, lookalike contests, arts and crafts, a souvenir table and more. They will also screen the classic movie for 25 cents at the historical downtown theater.

You can find out more information from the official website and check out the event guide here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Legends of Oz soundtrack review

Legends of Oz: Music from the Motion Picture, is a soundtrack that is almost as enjoyable as the movie, even if some of the songs don’t hold up as standalone music apart from the movie.

Lea Michele gives a better vocal performance on songs more suited to her than a lot of what she recorded for her debut album, Louder. Maybe this is because show tunes are her natural habitat. She is good at blending her powerful voice into a character, and you truly hear Dorothy singing instead of Lea Michele (or Rachel Berry for that matter).

Her two solos, “When the World” and “One Day” are the standouts and worth buying the CD for alone. “Even Then” completely sneaks up on the listener as a surprisingly mature love song, while it could be looked at as a song of empowerment as well. “China Princess” is notable for Megan Hilty’s vocal stylings, and for the surprisingly smoothness that is Hugh Dancy’s voice. Hopefully he sings more in the future, as it is a shame he doesn’t get more opportunity to do so here.

The fault of the soundtrack are the Jester songs by Martin Short. Without the visuals and context of the movie, they fall flat and don’t scream out as a track that would be seeked out to listen to again on purpose.
The score is whimsical and fun, and elements of it bring to mind Beauty and the Beast.

I always say the strength of good songs written for movies are that they would be applicable to someone just listening to them as good music apart from a soundtrack, and Legends of Oz has several of those: “When the World”, “Even Then”, and “One Day”. The rest can be fun for the car or long trips.

Grade: A-

Emerald City

Although no cast members or premiere date have been announced yet, a new drama is poised to premiere sometime this year on NBC titled, Emerald City.

NBC has launched a teaser website with a graphic featuring a woman running from a tornado with the words "coming soon".

Emerald City is a one hour drama from the executive producer of The Sarah Conner Chronicles, and tells the story of a 20 year old Dorothy Gale, who becomes a warrior while trying to protect a "darkly re-imagined" land of Oz.

The official synopsis reads:

Desperate for clues that will lead to the identity of her biological mother, a young woman breaks into a sinister underground facility somewhere in the Midwest. Unable to complete her mission and surrounded by security, our feisty heroine steals a K9 police dog and drives away into the night... and headlong into the path of a raging tornado. In the blink of an eye, she is transported to another world, one far removed from our own - a mystical land of competing kingdoms, lethal warriors, dark magic and a bloody battle for supremacy. This is the fabled Land of Oz in a way you've never seen before, where wicked witches don't stay dead for long and 20-year-old Dorothy Gale becomes a headstrong warrior who holds the fate of kingdoms in her hands. You're not in Kansas anymore, and this is not your grandmother's Oz.

Emerald City is currently in pre-production.

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Legends of Oz deserves your time

First off, this isn't "Frozen", nor will any other movie ever be, or should any animated movie be judged against it. This movie needs to be viewed for what it is, and what it is, is pretty darn good.Let me say I do have a little bias because I love the world and story of "The Wizard of Oz", and I am a fan of Lea Michele. That being said, this was a pleasant surprise of a movie the trailer and critics don't give it credit for.

Dorothy is back in blue in "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return".

It's true, the animation is not on the cutting edge, but remember this movie comes from an independent studio from a budget of half of what the other movies this has been compared to had at their disposal. And what they've managed to come up with is an enjoyable film. There's a nostalgic charm to the whole thing. Dorothy is brave, spirited, and fun. She's not a secret sexpot or being cutesy dumb like many female protagonists are these days. Wiser and Marshall Mallow are two fun new characters, and the Jester is an interesting while not necessarily scary villain.The filmmakers have taken steps to respect the world of Oz and hid a few darling nods to the 1939 classic. (Spoiler alert: one of my favorite moments was when the Wicked Witch of the West made an appearance.)
Some of the animated sequences are truly inspired, such as the beginning credits with the tornado sequence, Dorothy's rainbow trip to Oz, the firefly sequence, and the Jester's back story.None of the songs slowed down the action and advanced the story. Hugh Dancy had a surprisingly smooth and pleasant singing voice, and "When the World" sung by Lea Michele is a highlight of the film. There were only a few shortcomings of the movie, one of which was the end. It seemed very abrupt, with Glinda and friends basically saying thanks and goodbye and quickly sending Dorothy on her way. Bernadette Peters' voice wasn't really a good fit to the design of Glinda as well.In conclusion, "Legends of Oz" was a pleasant surprise. Oz fans will definitely enjoy it, and anyone who likes animated films will too if they give it a chance.


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