The Bug Behind the Curtain

grasshopper peeking out from behind a leaf

So there’s a new Wizard of Oz movie out there, and I suppose some stories live on forever to inspire our imaginations. I am particularly fond of Ovid’s Metamorphoses; the details of the myths are more sparse than the contemporary modus operandi often is, but their scope is large and they inspire great thoughts and emotions. I have not read the original children’s novel by L. Frank Baum, but I imagine this new film falls well short of the original’s capacity for inspiring wonder and provoking the imagination. To some degree, this is a natural shortcoming in a more detailed and hence specific rendition of a story of which many people already carry their own personal version. Of course, that doesn’t mean a new rendition cannot be a great work of art with wide appeal (see The Dark Knight or Lord of the Rings trilogies); that’s why we like to tell the old stories over again; we can resurrect them and they can resurrect us, in turn.

But that’s probably all moot for Oz, the Great and Powerful. I say this, maybe unfairly (but I kind of doubt it) because I have seen the trailers for the film.  It is still a good idea not to judge a book by its cover, and I guess a film by its trailer, however, I do it anyway, especially with films. Mainly because I think if you’re going to make a work of art, you would want the introduction to reflect the work itself. A lot of commercial films are usually exceeded in quality by their own trailers; so an unconvincing and/or unentertaining trailer is a good hint that the film is lacking. I immediately thought of Tim Burton’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland interpretation (or whatever) when I saw the Oz trailer. Lots of CGI overwhelming too little story. It seems like a shame as these sort of epic stories falling short of their promise tend to be. The cast looks pretty strong, too; I especially like James Franco and Michelle Williams, but so it goes.

My tangent on retold stories behind us, I should add that this post came to me, because the grasshopper peeking out from behind its green “curtain” made me think of the Wizard of Oz in the first place. Bugs are always looking for cover and plant leaves provide some of the best. In the search for insects it is always good to look behind or under a leaf. A lot of times you come up empty, but sometimes you find something you didn’t expect at all.

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