What I Learned from "Oz: The Great and the Powerful"

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I have one and a half siblings. One of them, my older sister, I grew up with in the same household. My half-brother was primarily raised separately. My older sister is many things - A scholar, vegetarian, runner, yogi, and well, she's not lazy, and recently she became a wife. And my half-brother, well, he's a different story for a different day.

Anyway, my sister has several interests. One of her biggest passions is feminism. She did work for the Vagina Monologues one year at her undergraduate college. She is always posting feminist-related blogs and articles about current events, most recently Seth MacFarlane's performance hosting the Academy Awards. Every time I see the subject of abortion appear in politics, I always make sure to forward her the story just so that I can see her reaction, because I know it will be equally as entertaining as it is intelligent. And, well, she's not lazy.

Hey jackass, I thought this was supposed to be about the new Wizard of Oz movie? What does your sister's views on gender equality have to do with this?

I'm getting there! The reason I am boring you (the reader/audience) with my sister's backstory[1] is because while watching "Oz: The Great and the Powerful", one thought that kept filling my noggin was "I wonder what my sister would think about this film". And here's why:

Because if there is one thing that I learned from "Oz: The Great and the Powerful", it's that even when given supreme power and ability, that women still need a man around to get the job done.

[1]Not that if she were a man it would be any more interesting.

I was honestly blown away at how each time Oscar[2] met a new witch, they would slobber on his balls - "Oh? You're the Wizard? We've been waiting for you". It was almost like bad hardcore porn feature where one man seeks to please every woman he meets. Except instead of nudity, fellatio, intercourse, and anal sex, there was just a bunch of singing, dancing, and special effects from 2004.

[2]Also known as Oz, or the Wizard of Oz. I am calling him Oscar to avoid confusion, because he happens to have the same name as the world that he entered. It would be like if the state of Washington named a city "George", and then someone named George Washington moved there and you tried to write a story about him.

Each witch has their own special abilities and evil motive. Evanora seeks to kill Glinda so that she can rule Oz unopposed. Thedora seeks to make Oscar her lover because she's stupid and actually fell for the notion that he was a savior of a Wizard, and thus wants to rule Oz with him. And Glinda lives just like a divorced trophy wife in a civilization full of men that will do her bidding without having to put out. That bitch.

And yet, despite their distinct, supernatural abilities, none of them can figure out how to control or rule Oz. Which is why they desperately need a man - Even if he is a sleazy con artist that wound up in a position of power by mistake. After all, there is nothing special about Oscar - He's nothing more than an innocent, failing magician from Kansas who tries to pork every single woman that he meets. And yet every woman tries to use him to get their way. Evanora cannot get through Glinda's bubble barrier, so she sends Oscar to off her instead. Glinda needs Oscar's showmanship to intimidate her evil witch sisters. And Thedora, probably the most retarded witch in the history of literature, thinks that if Oscar is truly a Wizard that she can attain power by seducing him.

And that's pretty much the movie: Three greedy women fight over a buffoon of a man, and then fight for world domination. Even when given superior ability, women still need a man to get what they want. They cannot negotiate with each other, function with one another, or coexist. Typical women. Oz just could not get their shit together until a man got there.

However, one could argue that this is all a load of garbage considering that Dorothy, a preteen girl, is the protagonist is both "The Wizard of Oz" and "Return to Oz" (with a group of men following her lead throughout her journey). On the other hand, all of that was a dream. Because after all, a female saving the day can only happen in someone's dream.

Anyway, I brought all of this to my sister's attention as soon as I got out of the movies, and not to my surprise, she was already a step ahead of me. She had not even seen the movie, and sent me a link to a blog written by a feminist stating how the film is a step back for women. Apparently I'm not the only one who saw this male-dominated theme.

Another thing I could not help but notice, while keeping in mind that the film was directed by Sam Raimi, was how similar it was to "Army of Darkness". The overall plot, as well as a few plot points, kept reminding me of the Raimi cult classic from 1996. Here are some parallels:

  • Both movies begin with the protagonist getting sucked into a storm, and warped into an unfamiliar world. Upon being warped, they are greeted as being part of a prophecy where they save the people.
  • Just like Ash's first love interest, Shiela, turns into an antagonistic monster - Oscar's first love interest, Thedora, turns into a wicked witch.
  • Ash goes into a dark forrest in search of the Necromonicon. Oscar goes into a dark forrest in search of what he thinks is the evil witch.
  • Both Oscar and Ash attempt to leave after their first stroke of failure.
  • Ash raises an army to fight the deadites, using tactics and weaponry from his world to defeat the enemy. Oscar gathers the people of Oz and uses tricks and tactics from his world to confuse and defeat the enemy.

Aside from the similarities between the two Raimi films, I do find it interesting that Raimi is now making big budget, family-friendly films like "Oz". Meanwhile, the two film series that brought him to prominence - "Evil Dead" and "Spider-Man", are both being rebooted and perhaps done better than his original creations. It's just a shame that when he got a chance to reboot something like the "Oz" films, that he came up a little short.

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