Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Morning folks!

As I am out of work and without a way to become re-employed, I'm going to try and read one book every day, or every weekday. We'll see how well this keeps me from going into a coma, or insane, or an insane coma, which is like a regular coma but with more bees. My first book is 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'. Please to enjoy my ramblings.

L. Frank Baum says that his story of Oz is purely to entertain and not to frighten children into being kind or moral. Even without the main intention of teaching littles to be nicer or to work together, this still clearly comes through the story. You can't tell of an adventure that meanders through a wondrous land with color coded townships, magical monkey armies, and almost constant dangers with no one learning anything. A good folk tale improves on the main characters, making them more brave, more caring, or just a bit smarter. If it's a really good one, us too.

I like reading a book that a movie is based on after I've seen the movie. If it's ever the other way round then the movie never matches up. With the exclusion of Harry Potter. You never get the detail or inner monologue, and often much of the story is cut out or changed to appeal to a wider audience, or to play well in less than a two hour span. BALDERDASH I say! then again, I'm not really one to talk as I am going to try and read a book every weekday. With 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' there's no way I could have read it before the movie. I had watched it before I was out of diapers and even knew what the alphabet was. I like the small details of each town having a different color scheme, of witches wearing white, and the walled in porcelain city.

I should tell you now I'm a big reader of fairy tales, folk lore, and mythology. So when I read something in that genre or style, I may be a bit of a snob. I did enjoy the story and the little bits about the magical genii monkeys and green goggles are nifty. But sometimes it seemed as if Baum had set down the manuscript, came back, and realized he had to write the story in less than a week. the scarecrow especially got a bit "oh I need to learn how to be smart without realizing it" towards the last third. every line or action was swapped between him having brilliant ideas, and usually only him, and him saying "oh gosh aren't I dumb"(not direct quote) I began to feel like he was a talented emo kid who kept insulting himself to get a rise out of everyone.

Everything was a bit more macabre in the book as well. Twice Dorothy cleaned out dead witch to wear sparkly slippers, even though she had her own shoes, ragged though they were. I am pretty sure the Wizard jacked up the lion on absinthe for courage, but that's just a theory. Everyone seemed to go through the book with equal parts "this is an important adventure" and "oh everything is pointless to think about after it happens so why bother". Break a dairymaid? no worries, crush a witch? meh, last chance of getting home and leader of the biggest city in the country float away in a rickety balloon with no news ever heard of him again? cry for 2 min then fugettahboutit. I understand this is a book for children, but I really think Dorothy's mood swings might need to be monitored once she gets back to Kansas, that is if anyone there has invented psychiatry yet.

I did enjoy it though. Classic fable ending, everyone gets what they want and if you don't end up a ruler of somewhere then at least you find a way home. even it is it grey old Kansas. Unless you're an evil character, of which there are two. You just end up dead at the hands of a tiny bipolar tourist.

Tomorrow:The Marvelous Land of Oz

-The Posh Panda

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