Of Glocca Morra, Ireland, Finian McLongeran, who has his own unique belief system of Irish legends, uproots himself and his adult daughter, Sharon McLonergan, and heads for the mythical ... See full summary »
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Dorothy, a twenty-four-year-old kindergarten teacher born, raised, and still working in Harlem, is celebrating Thanksgiving with her extended family, but she doesn't seem to be thankful for much in life. She lives a self-imposed sheltered life; she is shy and unfulfilled. Things change for her when she is caught in a snowstorm while chasing after her dog, Toto. They are transported to the mysterious Land of Oz, where she is informed that the only possible way to find her way back home is through the assistance of the powerful wizard in the Emerald City. As she goes searching for him, she befriends some creatures who are facing problems in life just like her. In their quest to find and get help from the wizard, they also face Evillene, the equally evil sister of Evermean, the wicked witch whom Dorothy inadvertently killed when she arrived in Oz, and who may be their biggest obstacle in achieving their goals. Written by
In Brazil this movie was released under the title of "The Unforgettable Wiz" and this is what this movie is not. The black version of one of the greatest book and movie of all time "The Wizard of Oz", "The Wiz" Sidney Lumet's film is a very disappointing and depressing musical who, again, comes to tell Dorothy's journey in a different and magical world helping her three new friends.
Instead of a young girl Dorothy (Diana Ross) is a 24 year old woman, shy, frightened with the world and during a storm she ends up in the City of Oz along with her dog Toto. The rest if you know the story is the same: she mets a Scarecrow (Michael Jackson) without a brain; a tin man (Nipsey Russell) without a heart; and the Coward Lion (Ted Ross) who wants courage. All Dorothy wants is to return home and to do that she must find the Wizard of Oz (Richard Pryor) the only one who could possibly makes her wish come true. But there are dangerous in the yellow brick road too! Moving objects, the Old Witch of the West who wants to revenge the death of her sister killed accidentally by Dorothy.
Now what makes this film good to see? "The Wiz" is a musical that presents to the audience new songs to an classic story, typical sounds of the 1970's, a few good musical numbers and two great and unforgettable moments, the two first songs sang ed by Michael Jackson. And Michael's performance is fantastic. Not only singing but here you can see he's a method actor, playing the down and out Scarecrow. The Art direction and the costumes are incredibly great (nominated for Oscar) but Oz instead of being Oz is appears to be like a bizarre and altered New York City where there are five Chrysler's building and the World Trade Center is where the Wizard of Oz lives.
My concerns about this movie: It's very boring and depressing. 90% of the songs presented here moves in some darker issues such as fear, absence of things, "I want to return home" that kind of thing. Okay kids might not noticed that (when I watched this film as a kid it was one of my favorites) but the more experienced viewer gets bored easily by watching Diana Ross crying in almost every song she sangs. She was totally miscast and this movie end up her movie career (she only made two TV movies after that). Also the fact that for a musical it runs too long, tried to be funny and end up being over dramatic. Bottom of line: it didn't needed to be made and even Ray Bolger (the original Scarecrow) said this: "The Wiz" is overblown and will never have the universal appeal the original movie obtained." Right!
Lesson that Dorothy of the 1939 movie learned: "There's no place like home". Meaning = things might be bad in home but it's better to be there than be in another place else. Lesson learned by Dorothy in this movie: "Be brave, don't be too shy and go teach in a school for teen students where you're gonna get a better paycheck". If you pay attention in the beginning when Dorothy's mom says something like that and when Dorothy returns home you're gonna have that idea as the story's moral.
Sorry Mr. Lumet but you'll be better remembered by masterpieces like "Network", "12 Angry Men" and "Dog Day Afternoon". But it wasn't your fault. Perhaps the one who needs to be blamed of its failure is the writer Joel Schumacher. What he was thinking in writing a low and sad movie for kids? We're never wanna know! 3/10
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