COLUMN SEVENTY-TWO, JUNE 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)
A NEW 'WIZARD OF OZ'?
(Copyright © 2001 Visual Radio Television)
opening scenes you know this is the next E.T., the next Star Wars,
the new Wizard Of Oz. But
where Oz denied us the Wizard's magic with the focus on Dorothy and her
dilemmas, Harry has the ability to get out of the trouble he gets himself into
just by, well, being the chosen one. He
is Keanu Reeves in The Matrix---only young Dan Radcliffe has acting
talent and a bit of a clue. The oracle had it right in the Matrix, when
she called Keanu cute but "not very bright."
Harry is very, very bright, and with the werewolf image of his foster
parent on a motorbike flying in the sky to descend on Privet Drive, well, I told
you E.T. would factor in.
and Uncle Dearest make the abuse by Aunty Em in Oz seem like real
love---what good and pure Aunt would allow Elmira Gulch to take little
Williams' score sounds like a replication of Danny Elfman's Batman work
in the Timothy Burton edition of the DC comic book character. It’s surprising
that Williams is not showing originality, or even copping his own riffs.
The choice of a magic wand is original, if a bit predictable, but finding the secret platform to the Hogwarts Express is very original, and very magical. And
in a world
that wants to believe
in fairy tales
promise of the two-and-a-half-hour film really takes off.
The audience is transported to Oz in a way that MGM promised but
failed to deliver when further Baum books were not brought to the big screen
(with the exception of the Disney sequel almost two decades ago).
I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched were fabulous shows
because people want escapism, want to believe in magic, want the fulfillment of
all the promises that faith makes.
draws from familiar territory, like the amazing pseudo soccer game on
broomsticks, but that familiar territory (clearly, this is the racing car scene
from the most recent Star Wars, Vol. 4 which is really Vol. 1 or
vice versa, whatever...)---that familiar territory is done so much better.
dungeons and trolls and...violence---a bit too much violence, not the kind of
thing you want to bring young kids to. Seeing
little Hermione Granger in the girls lavatory with the big troll smashing the
sink and out to kill her is the stark reality that makes this an adult kids
film, a film for big kids, a Peter Pan for the new millennium, the I
Don't Want To Grow Up mentality. It's here, in all it's glory.
people will write pages and pages about this extraordinary work, Mrs.
Doubtfire Meets Die Hard 7, and let them, don't let me keep you from going
to see this seven or eight times. Why
are you reading this now? Go! Get to the theater (or to Blockbuster!) You'll
want to watch it again and again at home. The
Harry Potter phenomenon is real. Coca Cola is going to have a better quarter
than AT&T and Viacom, bet on that. And
after so many near misses we finally have our new Wizard of Oz.
Joe Viglione for Visual Radio Film Library Visual Radio-Television
P.O. Box 2392
Woburn, MA 01888 USA
tel:(781)935 5386 ##
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMN SEVENTY-TWO
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMNS
The Blacklisted Journalist can be contacted at P.O.Box 964, Elizabeth, NJ 07208-0964
The Blacklisted Journalist's E-Mail Address:
THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST IS A SERVICE MARK OF AL ARONOWITZ