It’s been a heavy few weeks here on earth, and by turns hellishly joyful, nasty and eclectic with it. Obviously I haven’t got all day to sit around researching and being a perfect-journalist-type for you — who has? — and the world’s a big place, so I’m going to have to miss out on dozens — if not hundreds, if not thousands — of crucially important things worth mentioning, like soaring unemployment levels and all the stuff which is happening in countries which have it one hell of a lot worse than you probably do (I know this because you are reading this by beauty of the internet…and I deduce from this that there are people who don’t even have clean water, let alone electronics, let alone the internet). First there were the US presidential elections, before that there were yet more protests in South Africa — actually, let’s give up on making this chronological, it’s all scrambling my brain — and while all that was going on there was Hurricane Sandy and the whole Jimmy Saville/police-and-establishments-generally-being-unbelievably-incompetent-and-cheating thing (not to mention some seriously heavy stuff going down in Australia’s favourite soap Neighbours. For example, today I witnessed the aftermath of a suspiciously cleared desk as Paul Robinson and his new married fling Priya stood with knowing eyes, telling viewers in no uncertain terms that the desk being cleared moments before wasn’t an organisational thing…). On top of all that, today brought some genuinely horrible news, as it was reported that a woman in Ireland died from blood poisoning after being refused an abortion. It’s been a right old mess alright. What happens when people get together and fuck things up makes me very sad indeed.
Fortunately, this evening I made the wise choice of finding myself on The Guardian’s website, where I sat, staring at the words Oz the Great and Powerful: watch the new trailer – video. I didn’t know I was being wise at the time — come to think of it, do you ever sit there and say to yourself, “I am being wise, how marvellous, what a day!” — but I was. And it was then, reading these words, that I found myself blessed with the wisdom of an eighty-year-old not baffled by the internet. First I hovered my mouse over the words with the dexterity of a 30-something-year-old, then the little drop-down box appeared — thank you geeks! — and told me what the article in question was all about. I’m telling you, next time you feel like putting a geek down or slapping one, don’t do it. Without geeks, those little drop-down boxes wouldn’t drop down half as smoothly and we’d all be much worse off for it. In fact, if I was left to create them, I highly doubt they would drop down at all. Think yourself lucky that I’ll never have to.
Anyway, the point is that this trailer, it, it…put a big childish smile back on my face. Whereas before, there I sat feeling like the world was really unfair and nonsensical, there I now sat feeling similarly — even more so, actually, which doesn’t seem right, which is a little disturbing — but feeling also happy. Happy that a Wizard Of Oz prequel was being made. Had been made, even. And I’m never usually happy about these modern prequels, where the world looks much more futuristic than in the earlier, yet later films. So, you see, it was something special.
A Wizard Of Oz prequel. Read that back to yourself a few times and let it sink in. The Tin Man! The motherfucking Yellow Brick Road! All that stuff.
Note: to all you young ones who never saw The Wizard Of Oz, and are now Googling Yellow Brick Road or motherfucking Yellow Brick Road, my apologies. I should have mentioned something about there being spoilers in this article. Oh well, it’s done now, tough shit. But really, it was an accident. And anyway, it’s not my fault you haven’t seen The Wizard Of Oz yet, so if I was you, I’d take it up with my parents for being so hopelessly clueless and making you miss out.
Back to the film, which seems like a bizarre idea, considering that barely anyone living nowadays gives two shits about any wizard who isn’t something to do with either Harry Potter or The Lord Of The Rings. But there we have it, it exists. Thanks to Disney, we’re all going to discover how the plot of the original Judy Garland film came about. Perhaps. There I go again, spoiling things, although really, if you didn’t know Judy Garland was in the first film as Dorothy then you have no business reading this article, do you? Exactly.
Come to think of it, the more you analyse the trailer, the more it seems that the film is the result of a strange bet where way too much drink, drugs and caffeine was involved. Even more so than during the inception of most Hollywood films, like Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. The bet being “I bet you can’t make the strangest incarnation of The Wizard Of Oz featuring some of today’s most unlikely actors and get people excited about it” and the answer to the bet being “I can, and I bloody will. In fact, just watch me chuck millions of dollars at it.”
If you’re now wondering why I say it’s such a strange incarnation of The Wizard Of Oz, and why the actors seem unlikely, then consider this: the lead role is played by none other than 127 Hours star James Franco. The problem is, every time I see James Franco’s face, I get this agonizing pain in my arm like a 10,000-year-old boulder has just trapped it, and that really spoils the majestic, colourful vibe exuded by the trailer. Additionally, as I watched James Franco — he’s playing the role of a Kansas fairground magician who ends up getting whisked away to Oz — I kept thinking about Spiderman 3. Hmm, Spiderman 3…not one person I have ever met has said “did you see James Franco? He’s incredible in that Sam Raimi masterpiece Spiderman 3!” and that concerns me a bit. But still, maybe I’m over-thinking this. Then again, maybe not…at one point in the trailer — the point where he’s in the midst of a raging tornado unlike which I have ever seen — the Kansas magician screams with little authentic fear “I don’t wanna die, I haven’t accomplished anything yet!” Now, either this means that Kansas magicians aren’t typically afraid of anything, or this one has that condition which the guy does in Lucky Number Slevin. Either way, I hope he gets a bit scared during at least one point during the film, so we have a terrified hero to root for. Otherwise I’m asking for my money back, even if there is a Tin Man.
Next in line, we have Mila Kunis, who plays a good witch, and one who inhabits a forest yet always has perfect hair and pristine make-up. If you enjoyed her frequent stripping-off-of-clothes in that film with Justin Timberlake with a name which I cannot recall and never watched because I was certain it would be shit — is it shit? I still don’t know — you’ll be disappointed to learn that she likely does none of that here (I say that, but I don’t know, all I’m going on is the fact that it’s a family film, so I could be wrong).
Alongside those two, there’s everyone’s favourite sulky madam Michelle Williams of Blue Valentine/Dawson’s Creek fame, Rachel Weisz — she’s married to Daniel Craig, you know — and loads of weirdo CGI animals and Wow! moments which I probably shouldn’t think of as Wow! moments, because some of my male friends will never let me hear the end of it once they read this. Oh, and the Wicked Witch, who is really very wicked and has big clawed hands exactly like a transvestite Shrek.