Everyone knows the 1939 film version of “The Wizard of Oz,” but there were also a large number of animated film and television adaptations of the L. Frank Baum books. On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” Kevin Scott Collier, author of “The Wonderful Animated World of The Wizard of Oz,” discusses how Dorothy and her friends occupied the animation genre.
It’s pretty sad that at the end of the day, director Sam Raimi had to waste his talents on what is basically a regurgitation of the classic “Wizard of Oz” 1939 film adaptation. He doesn’t even get to think outside the box and offer up his own vision of Oz. Basically, “Oz the Great and Powerful” is yet another version of the movie, but in the view of the all powerful Wizard. The Wizard of Oz is one of cinema’s great macguffins, a big goal the characters work for in the 1939 movie, that they find out was nothing but smoke and mirrors.
When you get down to it, Toto is the most important aspect of the entire epic. He discovers the Cowardly Lion, The Wicked Witch, The Flying Monkeys, he marches in place with the incognito troop from Oz, and surely enough he is the one who manages to uncloak The Wizard and reveal him to be nothing but smoke and mirrors. He’s the twisted government official who is little more than a sniveling little man hiding behind a sheet and some smoke. Toto has always managed to be regarded as something of a secondary element to the overall narrative of this adaptation, but when you get down to it he’s pretty much the audience, the one who watches and goes along with all of the other characters in hopes of making heads or tails of this whole charade. He’s the watcher, and surely enough, he’s the one who keeps Dorothy and the group’s moral center in tact the entire time they’re fighting with apple throwing trees and that dreaded field that puts the entire clan to sleep.
Whether or not you actually agree with Leigh Scott’s methods of filmmaking and business, whether or not you like Asylum, whether or not you’ve ever bothered to see a film from Asylum, you can’t argue that Leigh Scott is definitely ambitious and has an eye for detail. Though films like “Transmorphers” and “Pirates of Treasure Island” were considered busts and universally mocked, there’s a definite knack for detail and cinematography there that you can’t deny.
Leigh Scott went to work for Asylum pictures a long time ago becoming their most prominent director, a man who guaranteed to get their movies out there in time with a solid cast, and since then he’s branched out to make films on his terms and try to emulate the directors he’s come to admire as a film buff. The Milwaukee born filmmaker is still at it, and now has the chance to hit the scene in a big way with a revisiting of the L. Frank Baum tale “The Wizard of Oz” which is a modern take with a twist called “The Witches of Oz” about an adult Dorothy now being called on to save her own reality when the Wicked Witch of the West decides to conquer Earth.
Often a controversial filmmaker spawning many articles and questions of his practices, Scott has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon and continues to power on with this much talked about production expected to have a limited release soon. Though Leigh and I have a rather interesting, volatile, infamous (any other adjectives you can think of) history together, I thought it would be a good chance to interview Scott and see what he’s been up to and why he decided to twist the tale of “Wizard of Oz” for the modern age.