Wednesday, January 5, 2011
The Marvelous Land of Oz
Genders of Main Character: Two
What a marvelous land it is indeed where the entire story can be drawn through with high walled gender divisions and at the end the main character, who is a rough and tumble boy child, can be turned into a luscious perfect princess and no one thinks this odd. He/she also adjusts to it rather well as, like the last story, soon after everyone gets what they want Baum takes a few pages to give a rough idea of an epilogue and then runs off to compete in somersault contest or something as important.
I say 'Main Character' though this book is an ensemble piece. A collection of underdeveloped personalities just deep enough so that near the end the "changes" the adventure caused are noticeable. Tip/Ozma's life theme is "I'm a mischievous boy who shrugs off anything that happens". Jack Pumpkinhead's carved on smile and his inability to frown is mentioned enough times for it to be a valid drinking game. he's also a manic worrier but only in terms of "will X thing make my head rot/break/cook" Just him mentioning the line then frowning is apparently enough to convey his worry. The Saw horse goes right from inquisitive to snooty and slightly moody. A character build that is echoed when the Gump is brought to life, but multiplied 6fold. I suppose being made from two sofas, a broom, and a moose head might seem make a bit of glumness justified, but Baum might've put the tiniest bit more development into him.
Of course the Scarecrow and Tinman make a reappearance. This time they've got the mirror dialogue as in the first book. Instead of being self effacing, half of the conversations are "brains are better" and "no heart is more important". This time they get to team their scowling towards an enlarged educated water bug in fancy dress. Apparently the only thing everybody hates in this country is a pun maker. With every line of the water bug's being a pun, apologizing for a pun, or trying to defend his pun by way of his learning, you wonder why they didn't find a house to drop on him three pages past his introduction.
The villain's are just as single paged and silly. A secretly practicing, though rather common sense deprived, witch and an army of vain, greedy, and color coordinated girls armed with sass and knitting needles. The single guard and one man army didn't stand a chance. I hope the next book is better but while looking up the pattern of these things apparently less violence and plot will continue. If there was any books that needed Michael Bay, these would be great contenders. Imagine! The army of just legal teens, more explosions, strap some jet engines to Gump, turn the witch into a cyborg, and cast Megan Fox as Glinda the good witch. People would watch it.
If the next book is as scattered as this I might switch it up and move on. We shall see!
-The Posh Panda