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
After the sprinklers have turned off, everyone is suddenly dry. See more »
Now I'll never get my brain!
Nor my heart.
Or my courage
But you don't need them now because you've had them all the time. Scarecrow, you're the one who figured out how to find the yellow brick road and how to destroy Evillene, and every smart move we've made, didn't you? Lion, you wouldn't even give up when Evillene strung you up by your tail. And, Tin Man, you have more heart than anyone I've ever known.
Yeah, you never needed anything from the fake wizard, anyway.
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Fitzstephens, Jack ... Music Editor & Guru See more »
Oof! THE WIZ lasts 133 minutes, and you can feel each one of them. While things pep up for a few interludes--Nipsey Russell's two songs, Ted Ross's "Mean Old Lion," Mabel King's "Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News," and the wondrous "Brand New Day (Everybody Rejoice)"--this movie mainly just makes one bad move after another. Leaving aside the hiring of Joel Schumacher to write the screenplay, who thought Sidney Lumet was the right guy to make a musical? He specializes in gritty dramas, and he turns this into one ugly and depressing song-and-dance extravaganza.
Miss Ross is, yes, all wrong for the role. But even the moments when she might be able to wow us vocally are undercut by odd directorial choices. (Case in point: wouldn't "Ease On Down the Road" have been a much zippier number had it not been shot FROM THE BACK? I recently saw this movie with an audience, and you could feel the anticipation as the song began. By the end of the number, all the energy had been drained from the room.) Michael Jackson does a decent job with "You Can't Win," and it's nice to see his original face, but he's rather mewly throughout, and that gets annoying fast. And alas, Richard Pryor didn't seem to have any G-rated humor up his sleeve, so he offers little to the movie outside of stunt casting. (They could have gotten Bill Cosby and it would have made little difference.)
So while THE WIZ isn't a complete disaster, there's a lot to slog through to get to the good stuff. And Oz-as-New-York seems like a rather seedy place to visit. But then it's the pre-Giuliani Oz, after all.
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