|By Timothy Falk||Thursday, 25 Dec 2008|
Long, long ago, when I was about Five. Or Six. Or it might’ve even been Seven or later. The time does not matter, it is merely the event which counts, I suppose. But anyways, when I was young, my Mother purchased for me a movie. It bore a familiar name, and a Paramount logo, so being young, I trusted these three things: My mother, familiarity, and corporate logos. So I popped it into the VCR, and didn’t quite understand. This was nothing like “The Wizard of Oz”! So I watched it once, and then let it sit for years and years. In fact, I don’t know where my original copy is. In a bout of pure nostalgia and depression I went through earlier this year, I bought myself a new copy off the internets. Still VHS format, because I still believe that VHS is the perfect movie medium. Also because the movie does not exist in any other format. But I still like to think that given the choice between DVD and VHS, I would’ve taken VHS. As soon as I received it in the mail, I popped it in. This time though, my reaction was quite different. Holy crap, was this awesome. At least for my tastes. That is to say, awful in a good way. If you take this movie at face value, then you may be disappointed. However, I do not. Thus, this movie transcends awesomeness. Just to see that it wasn’t only me, I gathered a group of like minded people, and we all watched it. A group viewing only enhances the experience. But I should really start the review, rather than telling a story involving what I’m trying to review. Forgive me. In 1982, Toho Animation delivered unto the world a retelling of a classic children’s tale. It’s a familiar one. Dorothy, lovable, young Kansas farm girl, gets swept away in a tornado with her small dog Toto, to the land of Oz. Along her way, she meets a Scarecrow, who much like a zombie, only wants brains, a Tin Woodsman, who needs a heart, and a Cowardly Lion, who desperately needs
a win to avoid going 0-16 courage. In the end, they all commit murder in the first degree and learn that they had what they wanted all along. But this retelling of the story gets a Japanese twist to it. Yes, this is an anime. The colors are bright, the animation is about late 1970s quality, and there are some pretty wacky things going on. Strangely enough, no tentacles though. It is definitely something that should be experienced, rather than explained. The dialogue is what makes this movie “shine”, though. There are only two voice actors of any renown, and only one of them that I know did anything else. After further research, I guess most of these people have huge resumes. In fact, the top billed actor is the one with the fewest things to their credit, Aileen Quinn. But the lines they deliver, and sometimes the way they deliver them, are superb. One of my personal favorites happens during an exchange, if you can call it that, between Dorothy and Toto. Dorothy tells Toto that she “misses Auntie Em and Uncle Henry already” (They’ve been gone for about 5 minutes.), then she pauses for about 5 seconds, literally, and then declares “I do like pie!” I like to think she’s contemplating that she was just talking to the dog about loneliness, but the announcement of pie love kind of kills that idea. The actors do a pretty good job of conveying the emotions that are going on throughout a scene most of the time. Although, I totally hope that Christen Bale sees this movie and adopts the Lion’s voice for the next Batman movie. The music in this movie is great too. There is a lot of synth going on throughout most of it, and everything sounds real good. It also has what I like to call “old anime sound”, that is to say, there is a certain style and sound to anime that stopped at around the mid-80s. Some of the music is really kick ass, to tell the truth. During the battles especially. But the music and sounds lend very well to the movie, and everything seems in place. The only real flaw, I think, and it is but a minor one, is Aileen Quinn’s singing. There are three vocal numbers in the movie, and a 2 of them are reprised at least once. The movie kicks off and ends with the disgusting and annoyingly inspirational “Strictly Up to You”, that tells us that we can “count on rainbows without rain”. In the middle is “I Dream of Home”, which within the first couple of lines asks “Why
did I roam/So far away from home?”, which is dumb when you think about it. Dorothy didn’t roam, a fricking tornado picked her up and carried her away. That’s like someone asking “Why did I choose to come to Guantanamo Bay?” You didn’t. You got dragged there, kicking and screaming. The final of the three songs is the cheesily titled “Wizard of a Day”, wherein Dorothy insinuates that all the fish in Oz know what day it is. Specifically, June 1st. Why June 1st would have significance to fish, I don’t know, but certainly, the fish in Oz must have their shit together. The characters themselves are pretty cool, and don’t quite fit in to what the stereotype of these characters are supposed to be. Dorothy-Looks more like Lewis
Carrol Caroll The Guy who wrote “Alice in Wonderland”‘s Alice, airhead, really, really likes pie, doesn’t take shit from most people, kind at heart. Toto-Yappy, causes about 90 percent of all the problems in the movie. Also, “has his way with the Chickens.” Scarecrow-Clumsy, can’t run very well, has dreadlocks (sort of), comes off as kind of a prick, comes off as kind of
a creeper. Tinman-Total badass. Kills things*, chops wood, trips the witch, and one of the first things he says to Dorothy is “Could you oil me all over?” Lion-Says he’s a coward, but constantly disproves that, very shameful, pretty cool voice, and his actor’s name is Thick Wilson. The only one of the group who saves Dorothy’s life. I can’t say enough about this movie. I guess, to illustrate how much I like this movie, I’ll tell you, I was copying this to DVD for my Secret Santa, and screwed up the first two times, and ended up watching it three times until I got the recording right, and I was ready to watch it again. Which I did later on that night. Seriously, find some way to get your hands on this film.