Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Video Review: The Patchwork Girl Of Oz

An independent computer animated movie that came out a while ago was The Patchwork Girl Of Oz from Thundertoad Animation. This is a direct adaptation of L. Frank Baum's seventh Oz book, that was also turned into a 1914 silent film.

The story tells of the crooked-but honest magician Dr. Pipt accidently turns his wife and his friend Nunkie into statues with a magic potion. Nunkie's nephew, Ojo the Unlucky, sets out to find ingredients to the Potion of Life to cure them. He travels with Pipt's living glass cat named Bungle, and a Patchwork Girl called Scraps also brought to life by Dr. Pipt. They befriend the enigmatic Woozy creature, and runs into Shaggy Man and Scarecrow who take them to the Emerald City. Princess Ozma has them seek out the other elements for the potion, and Dorothy joins them. After averting a war between the Horners and Hoppers, they collect the rest of the items and restore Pipt's wife and Nunkie.

The animation in this is pretty basic, even more than Hash Inc.'s CGI version of Tin Woodman Of Oz. However, it's still a faithful telling of the original story, and worth a looksy by Oz-files, or anyone interested in the further Oz books. The movie now is available on DVD, which has several deleted scenes and unused audio excerpts.

A Comic Minute: Marvelous Land Of Oz #1

Just thought I'd post this quick video review of Marvel Comics' The Marvelous Land Of Oz comic book from TGWTG.com.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Lurlinemas!

Hope you all have a great holiday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Witches Of Oz movie coming in 2010

Yet another Oz-based movie on the way, The Witches Of Oz, a full-length live-action independent production by Leigh Scott through his company of Blackthorn Industries with co-producer Chris Campbell. In it, Dorothy is a modern-day children's author whose life takes a turn when characters from Oz start showing up in the real world. The movie already has actors like Chistopher Lloyd, Lance Henriksen, Billy Boyd, Eliza Swenson, and Noel Thurman signed on to it. It's started filming now in Connecticut, and plans are to have a release date in either late spring or early summer of next year. See here for an article about the current filming.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Emeralds First Look: Glinda & Trot

Here's a preview of Glinda and her pupil Trot from Emeralds.

Emeralds Character Bios: Tin Woodman

Also known as "Tin Man", Nick Chopper was originally a woodchopper who fell in love with Nimme Amee, a slave girl of the Wicked Witch of the East. The witch cast a spell on Nick's axe which began to chop off his limbs and eventually his head. Fortunately, Nick new a "tinsmith" naked Ku-Klip who managed to give him metal parts, until he was totally tin. He then became rusted while cutting down a tree, and then years later was saved by Dorothy and Scarecrow on their way to the Wizard, who he got a heart from. Going by the name of Tin Woodman, he later became the Emporer of the Winkies after the Wicked Witch of the West was melted. Eventually, he went to win the hand of Nimme Amee, but found out that she married Chopfyt, who was a man created by Ku-Klip from remaining flesh parts of both Nick Chopper and Captain Fyter. Fyter was a soldier who also tried to win Nimme's heart after Nick went missing, but was also cursed by the Wicked Witch, and given a tin body by Ku-Klip. Tin Woodman has been on many adventures with Scarecrow and the others. In Emeralds, Nick Chopper has been restored to his original form thanks to Ozma's magic, in partially the same she turned Jack Pumpkinhead into a human. This will also lead into a possible relationship of Nick with a former enemy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dorothy character in MAR

In case you didn't catch it when it was playing on Cartoon Network's old Toonami block from a few years back, there was a character based on Dorothy appeared in the anime and manga series MAR, which is an abbreviation for Marchen Awakens Romance. In it, young nerdy Ginta enters the fantasy world of MAR-Heaven, and finds all sorts of strange magical people and enchanted creatures. Most of the main characters are based off of ones from fairy tales like Snow White, Jack And The Beanstalk, Pinnochio, and more. Dorothy is one of the major characters, although in this one, she is a pink-haired teenage witch who rides on a flying broom that doubles as a magical staff. She starts out as a hunter of ARM pieces, which are like summon monsters that double as pieces of jewelry or weapons. She teams up with Ginta on and off, and eventually becomes his main love interest, mostly because she rewards him with kisses instead of ARM. One of her ARM is a giant lion(similar to the Cowardly Lion), a large cerebus called Toto, and a spinning scarecrow on a pole. It's discovered later on that Dorothy is really one of two princesses, the other has become evil and leads a rival nation. Both the anime and manga is currently in print through Viz.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Video Review: Return To Oz(Disney)

During the 80s, Disney decided to do their own followup to the original 1939 Wizard Of Oz movie, but unlike Filmation's Journey Back To Oz, this one was live-action(although it had was some killer claymation). No relation to the Rankin/Bass animated TV special of the same name, Return To Oz was done in conjuction with MGM and weirdly enough George Lucus. The movie acts as a sequal to the 30s movie, as well as a combo of Land Of Oz and Ozma Of Oz.

Taking place about 6 months after the cyclone hit, Dorothy's constant going on about Oz has her aunt and uncle worried that she's crazy, so they send her to a clinic to get lobotomized by a 19th Century pinball machine. She gets sprung by a mysterious blonde girl, and falls into the river during the middle of a rainstorm, and is swept back to Oz in a crate. Once there, she is suprised to see her hen Billina from back on the farm with her. They find Dorothy's old house near the ruins of the Yellow Brick Road, which is a little strange since the house didn't really go to Oz in the first movie as it was all a dream. She heads for what's left of the Emerald City where everyone has been turned to stone. Dorothy is then chased by some of the monsterous Wheelers(who're supposed to be in Ev!), and finds the robotic Tik-Tok in a closet. She winds him up, and he helps fend off the Wheelers. They then go to confront "Princess" Mombi, who here is more like the character of Princess Langwidere from Ozma Of Oz, where as Mombi from the books was your stereotypical wicked witch character. Princess Mombi kidnaps Dorothy so she can use her as one of her spare detachable heads, while Tik-Tok is unable to help her as he's wound down. While locked in a tower, Dorothy befriends Jack Pumpkinhead, a living wooden man with a pumpkin for a head. After winding up Tik-Tok again, they use the special Powder of Life to bring a flying creature with the head of a moose-like Gump to life and fly away. Dorothy and Co. end up on the mountain of the Nome King who they learned is responsible for totally screwing over Oz. The Nome King offers them the chance to save the Scarecrow who he's keeping as an ornament, but only at the cost of them turning into ornaments themselves. He also reveals that he managed to take over Oz thanks to the power of Dorothy's ruby slippers that fell into his desert when she went back to Kansas. After only Dorothy is left to go choose, she manages to free Scarecrow and the others, but the Nome King is a sore loser and threatens to devour all of them. Fortunately, Billina manages to lay an egg in his mouth, and eggs are poison to nomes. The Nome King kicks the bucket, and the Emerald City returns to its green glory. Dorothy is asked to become the new Queen of Oz, but says she wants to go home instead. However, Dorothy releases Princess Ozma(the true heir to the throne)from Mombi's magic mirror, who it turns out was the girl who freed her from the asylum, and uses the ruby slippers to send her back to Kansas.

The movie was a drastic turn from the cheery musical that had until then become an American standard, and drew it more into the darker tone that the original L. Frank Baum novels had. Another aspect of the books taken into the movie was the character designs and the look of Oz itself. The movie's scarier motif actually frightened alot of kids and parents from seeing it in theatres, which subsequently turned this into more of a cult film. If you were expecting this to be something you could sit your toddlers down to watch without them peeing in their pants, you might wanna wait until they're a little older. Aside from that, the film is an almost perfect homage to Baum's legacy. Most notedly are the performances by Fairuza Balk as Dorothy who is the closest to being like the fictional character as possible, while at the same time is modeled after Judy Garland, although more closer the Dorothy's actual age. The other good performance is by Jean Marsh as Mombi, who reprised her character of an evil witch in the film Willow. I greatly admired the effort put into this, and truly believe it is a worthy continuation of the classic movie. Hopefully future Oz-related movie productions will make the same attempt to capture the magic of the original books.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Comic Review: Adventures In Oz

Before his bigtime stint of adapting Marvel Comics' Oz comics, Eric Shanower did five one-shot graphic novels through First Comics and later on Dark Horse Comics. These were recently released in an album-sized graphic novel titled Adventures In Oz from IDW Publishing.

The first story is Enchanted Apples Of Oz where a sorceress named Valynn comes out of a hundred year siesta to reveal a tree holding magic apples which hold all the magic in the land of Oz, and the long-hidden Wicked Witch of the South and her overenthusiastic suitor try to steal them. Next in Secret Island Of Oz, Dorothy and Scarecrow try to find a special fish for the Royal Gardener which exists only in a special part of Oz. After running into Eureka, they come across an underground island, and try to save a bratty princess and her living wooden-boy from giant reptiles. In Ice King Of Oz, Ozma is kidnapped by an icy tyrant, so Dorothy and friends head south to try and rescue her, along with their new friend Flicker, a living candlestick man that was cursed by the Wicked Witch of the West. Following that is Forgotten Forest Of Oz where the wood nymph Nelanthe is banished from the forest of Burzee by Queen Zurline, and becomes the bride of the Goblin King to lead an invasion on the forest for revenge. After realizing she's made a mistake, Nelanthe tries to steal some of the Water of Oblivion from Oz so she can forget her misdeeds, but Dorothy stops her and manages to have the goblins get entangled with some rowdy dragons instead. Finally in Blue Witch Of Oz, Dorothy's quest to find out if there ever was a "Good" Witch of the East leads to a discovery by Glinda about the tragic past of a sorceress who lost her husband and then her son.

This collection features some great storytelling and artwork by Shanower, and you can tell you how his style developed from the first one in 1986 to the last in 1992. There are two versions of this graphic novel from IDW. One is the standard paperback, while the hardcover edition has an additional material to it including the comic story General Jinjur Of Oz, alternate endings to Blue Witch and Forgotten Forest, a prelude to Ice King, and several other short Oz comics and illustrations. IDW is planning on reprinting this into a series of smaller graphic novels titled Little Adventures In Oz coming out in 2010. Definately pick up this if you love Oz or appreciate good family literature.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Emeralds First Look: Scarecrow & Scraps

Here's a first look at Scarecrow and Scraps the Patchwork Girl as they appear in our upcoming Emeralds comic.

Video Review: Journey Back To Oz

Beating out Disney's Return To Oz by over a decade, this fully-animated "sequal" to the original 1939 Wizard Of Oz movie was headed up by Filmation, the same studio that did dozens of Saturday morning cartoons from the 60s-80s. Their main claims to fame were the original DC Super Heroes cartoons, the Star Trek animated series, Fat Albert, and He-Man. The film was headed up by Fredd Ladd, who pioneered alot of the original anime TV shows that were first shown in America, including Astro Boy. During the 60s when he was producing an original movie called Pinocchio In Outer Space, Ladd tried to get an animated followup to WOZ, however it wasn't until 1974 that it was finally released in theatres.

The story is set sometime after the original movie with Dorothy and Toto being taken to Oz via tornado(again?!), and then head out to the Emerald City. Along the way, she meets Pumpkinhead(not Jack)who is a slave of the evil witch Mombi that "claims" to be the cousin of both the deceased Wicked Witches. Mombi plots to kick Scarecrow off the throne with an army of conjured-up green elephants. Dorothy and Pumpkinhead go to warn Scarecrow, and run into an abandonned merry-go-round horse named Woodenhead who is this movie's version of the Sawhorse. They ride their new friend to the Emerald City and alert Scarecrow of the threat. But Mombi and her elephants show up and take over, imprisioning Scarecrow and Toto. Dorothy and the others try to get help from Tin Man and then Lion, both of whom uncharacteristically chicken out. Glinda finally arrives, but says she can't assist Dorothy directly(how convenient!)but gives her a magic box filled with an infinite number of mice to scare the elephants away. Facing defeat, Mombi disguises herself as a flower, only to get trampled on by the panicked packyderms. So Scarecrow is made king of Oz again, Pumpkinhead and Woodenhead get swanky new jobs, and Dorothy and Toto get sent back home thanks to Glinda's magic(so much for magic slippers).

This film was basically yet another take on the second book, Land Of Oz, although once again Dorothy is added to it when she was never even in the original story at all. There were alot of famous actors who provided voices for it, including Liza Minnelli(Judy Garland's daughter)as Dorothy, Mickey Rooney as Scarecrow, Paul Lynde as Pumpkinhead, Danny Thomas as Tin Man, Milton Berle as Lion, and Ethel Merman as Mombi. The animation was signifigantly better than most Filmation productions, mainly because they hired some additional outside animators from studios like Disney, including Don Bluth. It makes for a pretty enjoyable kids movie, although there's a whole load of mostly unnecessary music numbers thrown in, which if they were left out would've made the movie about thirty minutes shorter. Fans of the Land Of Oz might not like the primary characters of Trot, Jinjur, or Wogglebug being left out, but will probably appreciate the effort made to homage the original book. It was as of recently put on DVD by the now defucnt Ink & Paint, but is still available from most retailers.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Scarecrow joke movie poster

Just put this together for fun!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Video Review: Tin Woodman Of Oz

Hash Inc. has come out with a feature-length online computer animated movie based on the tweflth Oz book, Tin Woodman Of Oz. It adapts L. Frank Baum's novel, but is done slightly out of order from the original story.

The movie starts out with the Winkie boy Woot visiting Tin Woodman and Scarecrow in the Tin Palace. TW tells Woot his origin about how he was originally a woodchopper, but the Wicked Witch of the East's curse on his axe cut his body up, and because of it he never got to marry his love, Nimmie Amee. This causes him to reflect on leaving her, so the trio set out to find her. Along the way, they meet the strange balloon-like Loon people, and eventually make it to the tinsmith Ku-Klip who gave Tin Woodman his new body. Ku-Klip them that he took most of Tin Woodman's remaning human parts and assembled them(along with a metal arm)into a new body he called Chopfyt. Ku-Klip directs them to where Nimmie now lives. Once there, Tin Woodman is shocked to find that she is already happily married to Chopfyt, even if he is henpecked by her. Our crew leave with Tin Woodman feeling depressed, but accidently wander into the house of the evil magic-using giantess, Ms. Yoop. She turns Tin Woodman into a tin owl, Scarecrow into a teddy bear, and Woot into a green monkey. Yoop then keeps them as prisioners, but they are set free with the help of the tin girl, Nimee Aimie. She was a substitute that Ku-Klip made for the Wicked Witch in place for Nimmie Amee, but was later on enslaved herself by Yoop. Despite his new owl form, Tin Woodman takes a real shining to the tin girl, and the four escapees make their way across Munchkinland. Luckily, Ozma(who here seems alot older and looks more like Glinda)shows up and transforms them back into their normal selves. Tin Woodman and Nimee fall in love, and the two go back to the Tin Palace along with Scarecrow.

There's alot of differences in the original version of the book and this movie. For one was the absense of the Tin Soldier character, and the addition of the Tin Girl. This did make for a slightly happier ending at least for Tin Woodman, despite the fact that the Tin Girl's character wasn't in the book. Also left out were the regular Oz characters: Dorothy, Jinjur, and Polychrome. Plus, Ms. Yoop gave off the appearance of a large dragon-woman as opposed to a human giantess. The sequential order was shifted around too, like Tin Woodman reuniting with Nimmie being near the beginning where as in the original it was more at the end. The animation is pretty good for a totally independent production, although not up on the Pixar level, and it makes for a good flick for the kids. The movie is currently online(check out this playlist for the proper order)along with some out-takes and deleted scenes. Hash Inc. is planning on releasing it on DVD soon, as well as doing a sequal to it adapted from the ninth Oz novel, Scarecrow Of Oz(see some test videos), to come out in 2010-2011.

Oz Wars! Nothing but Oz Wars!

According to Variety, a movie production from Vanguard Films(Space Chimps/Happily N'ever After)is coming out based on the unreleased The Oz Wars graphic novel. John H. Williams marked the title at this year's San Diego Comic-Con by spotting it in the con's gallery and acquired it from the author who goes by the handle "Dorothy Gale". The story takes place in the Emerald City where the Witches(whether these are just the Wicked ones or not is unknown)are trying to take it over, and the resistance fighters lead by the Wizard are trying to ward them off. It seems like its more of a take on Lord Of The Rings starring the regular Oz cast. This film will probably be animated as opposed to live-action since that's Vanguard's main dish.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Baum's Kidnapped Santa Claus becomes a comic

Harper Collins recently released a small hardcover graphic novel based on L. Frank Baum's original book, A Kidnapped Santa Claus, adapted by Alex Robinson(Box Office Poison). The book was a followup to Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus which told Santa's origins. In this story, Santa gets captured by some evil demons, so a bunch his elves and fairy friends(including Zurline)mount a rescue. This actually turned out to be a great comic for young readers, and I highly recommend it as a holiday gift. You can find copies of it here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Comic Review: Land Of Oz-The Manga

The sequal to Antarctic Press' series of Oz-The Manga was this comic broken up into two parts, Land Of Oz-The Manga. This is another adaptation of the 2nd Oz book by L. Frank Baum. The first half is just called Land Of Oz-The Manga, while the other is Land Of Oz-The Manga: Return To The Emerald City. I'm unaware as to why it was decided to have it run this way instead of simply doing a strait run of eight issues, but it was possibly done as some kind of marketing stragedy to differentiate is from the Marvel Comics version of Wonderful Wizard Of Oz which was being released at the time.

The story was very much the same from the original Marvelous Land Of Oz novel, although for some reason instead of the regular guardian of the Emerald City gate it has Tik-Tok(who is called "Tick-Tock")who doesn't even show up until the third novel. The character designs are also slightly redone in traditional manga-style. Tip looks like he/she's out of a steampunk anime, Jinjur is at first wearing a proper military uniform and then later on she's gussied up like a Disney Princess, Mombi appears more like a Munchkin considering she's from Gillikin, Jellia is even shorter than average, and Wogglebug is very distinguished. Tin Man is back with shiny nickel-plating, and Scarecrow is very sharp in his new royal duds.

There's currently two Pocket Manga graphic novels, although the comic issues are very much worth a look, especially the cool variant cover to the first issue, and a cool wraparound cover to the first issue of the second chapter. There hasn't been any news if there'll be a comic about Ozma Of Oz, but if David Hutchison's work on the previous manga satisfied you, then you'll love this one too.