Monday, February 25, 2013

Adventures in Oz the Great and Powerful

So Oz the Great and Powerful is coming out in a little under 2 weeks. A new big-screen Oz adventure. Top Hollywood talent both in front of and behind the cameras.

Unlike Disney's previous attempt at an Oz movie (Anyone remember Return to Oz?), this one is trying to emulate MGM's Wizard of Oz. As a fan of the novels, I really liked Return to Oz since it was an adaptation of the next two books in the Oz series. But fans of the classic movie were disappointed that it didn't maintain the same tone as the previous film. Apparently, Disney has learned its lesson by aiming for MGM fans this time around.

Though the tricky thing is that they can't get too close. The movie's copyrights are held by Warner Brothers and they're not too friendly with Disney at the moment. In fact, I'm inclined to think that my copyright fight with Zazzle was part of the backdraft from these media giants sparring.

So Disney has tried to lean on public domain sources for inspiration. But just inspiration, it seems. While I was pleased to note that at least one movie trailer showed the Dark Forest and the China Country. I recognized them instantly from the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as places that Dorothy encountered on her way to Glinda's Palace in the Quadling Country. (Fun fact: The Cowardly Lion went on to rule the Dark Forest as King of Beasts as a result of that adventure.) But when I saw this map of Oz put out to promote the new movie, I found out that they had been moved to the Munchkin Country, which was somehow on the left side of the map.

While I'm disappointed that they didn't go for something more faithful to the original novels, I do understand why they did it. By having their own version of Oz, they have stronger intellectual property protections than if they had used public domain sources or Warner Brothers copyrights. Just like Ruby Slippers are distinct to the MGM movie, China Munchkins are clearly Disney.

Though I'm sure you didn't come here just to read my tedious explanations of copyrights. So here are some Great and Powerful Oz goodies for you.

If you want to see what a humbug Wizard might look like in the AiO rules, I already did that and you can find it here.

And a special magic item in honor of the movie:

Glinda's Travel Bubble

Power: Summon/Travel (3)
Scope: Self/person/object (0)
Ritual: Simple (0)
Item: Single Use (-2)
Effect Power: 1

The subject of this spell is transported via bubble to a destination determined by the caster/creator.

Notes: For some reason, every time I write up one of Glinda's spells, it comes out as a magic item. But then, she is the Good Witch of the South, so between her magical resources and healthy supply of Oz Points, she can throw around a lot of oomph fairly readily.


flash_cxxi said...

I really enjoyed Return to Oz. It was a lot darker than The Wizard of Oz, and rightly so since the books themselves are a lot darker than Ruby Slippers Oz would have us believe.

Tony Laplume said...

Big fan of Return to Oz. Still think that the Baum flavor needs to be recreated on screen more faithfully, though. It would be an ideal animated film that wouldn't have to rely on many of the familiar tropes in the genre.

F. Douglas Wall said...

I loved it. It was a good movie. It's only flaw was that it wound up being viewed as a sequel to the classic film. If they had had the ability to do their own Wizard before they did Return, Return would be much better remembered.

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