There is a huge trend in Hollywood*—remakes and sequels. In 2013 alone there are eight sequels or remakes set to come out. One of those is The Secret Garden—this is the fifth time they will try to put The Secret Garden book on the screen. But the worst offender of all of these is “Oz The Great and Powerful”. The synopsis according to IMDB is as follows:
A small-time magician with questionable ethics arrives in a magical land where he must choose between becoming a good man or a great one.
Mila Kunis will play Theodora (aka The Wicked Witch of the West), Rachel Weisz will be Evanora (aka The Wicked Witch of the East), and Michelle Williams will be Glinda (aka The Good Witch). First of all Glinda the Good Witch has red hair not blonde, first strike in my book. Second, the wicked witches are ugly….and green! Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz? Come on! Just stop it. Brace yourself for this—the Wizard is James Franco.
I understand that this is a prequel so this is a younger version of the wizard, but really? Franco? I know Hollywood likes attractive people but sometimes characters aren’t attractive. This is a classic book and film, these people are in our minds a certain way. The wizard is a little green man behind a curtain. He hides behind a curtain to appear to be powerful. What’s powerful in today’s day and age? Being attractive and charming…what’s James Franco? Attractive and somewhat charming (when he’s not mouthing off) how does an attractive, successful Franco turn into a short, frustrated, wrinkled Frank Morgan?
The screen play is written by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire. Mitchell Kapner’s writing credits are: Into the Blue 2: The Reef, Days of Wrath, The Whole Ten Yards, Romeo Must Die, and The Whole Nine Yards. David Lindsay-Abaire credits are: Rise of the Guardians, Rabbit Hole (based on his play: “Rabbit Hole”), Inkheart, and Robots. Oh, I should also say that David Lindsay-Abaire has just been announced to write the script for Poltergeist—because they’re remaking that too.
Two writers that have never had a hit, have fewer than six credits to their names, and they’re in charge of creating the backstory to one of the greatest pieces of children’s literature? Do you see the problem here? What do these two guys know about L. Frank Baum? Are they experts on him? Did they read his diary and know what he thought about the prior life of the wizard? No, they didn’t.
These two men are taking something that has a built in audience and they are trying to capitalize on it. That’s a lot easier than coming up with your own ideas and starting to build a following from scratch based on talent like say, oh I don’t know L. Frank Baum did.
I’m sure this movie will make money; I’m sure there will be yet another story to it—hell I bet they redo The Wizard of Oz and cast Elle Fanning as a blonde Dorothy. Where have all the original ideas gone? Stealing someone else’s work and making it awful does not make you a genius that brings it to a new generation it makes you a jerk that’s too lazy to create something new.
*Hollywood is to include television as well. Be sure to tune into NBC when they premier their new Dracula show! Dracula is played by an Irish actor but Dracula comes from America…but has to move to London. Why? You ask? Well, Dracula is trying to make money by bringing electricity to the masses and Edison ran him out of America…duh…just like Bram Stoker envisioned. Oh…and Renfield is his butler played by an African American actor not a crazy guy in an asylum that eats bugs, Mina is a medical student (that’s so common in the 1800s) and Van Helsing, you know the world’s most famous vampire hunter and Dracula’s arch enemy? Nah, in this TV series they’re BFF!