Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is a film based around a young girl named Dorothy who accompanied by her dog Toto are swept away by a tornado and land in the mysterious land of Oz. She finds out that because of her travel her house has landed on the Wicked Witch of the East by which she is congratulated by the Good Witch of the North but threatened with revenge from the Wicked Witch of the West. Dorothy goes about her travels in an attempt to reach the Wizard of Oz who may be able to help her get back to Kansas. On her way she bumps into a scarecrow, a Tin man and a cowardly lion who all in search of something to make them feel whole. When they arrive at Oz they meet the wizard who refuses to grant their wishes until they kill the Wicked Witch of the West. As they go on their way to kill the Witch they are attacked and Dorothy is kidnapped by the flying monkey minions. When the others attempt a rescue they are all chased and cornered to where Dorothy accidently knocks water on to the witch and kills her. The group go back to Oz who tells them that they have already themselves fulfilled their wishes and Dorothy realises that home is never too far away.

‘The Wizard of Oz’ put simply is a story to do with the fear of growing up. ‘The Wizard of Oz’ simply lays bare primal emotions, exposes our childhood anxieties about abandonment and powerlessness and brings to light the tension between the repressive comforts of home and the liberating terrors of the unknown marking all our adult lives.’ By Trevor Johnston http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/64725/the_wizard_of_oz.html. At the beginning of the film the audience is introduced to the main character Dorothy who feels very misunderstood and decides that to escape this she must run away into the big wonders of the world. But when she is transported to Oz Dorothy realises from an image of her Aunt that she is missed bringing through all her insecurities and feelings of being alone. Kansas is a signifier of being safe almost child-like, the colours are plain and the setting is natural where as Oz is extravagant and provoking much like that of adult life, it presents fear because of its falsities which provides an unnatural setting with its colours and inhabitants. At the end of the story it shows that Dorothy is not ready to leave her childhood she wants the security which family provides, even blandness therefore enticing her decision into going back to Kansas.

The use of colour signifiers has a slight twist in the Wizard of Oz in looking into Dorothy and the Witch. ‘Both characters are defined by two colours: white and blue, black and green. Black and white are opposites, that part is obvious. But what about the relationship between green and blue? They're not "opposite" colours; they're both primary colours of light, in fact. Green, blue, and red.’ http://antagonie.blogspot.com/2009/08/1939-whiz-of-wiz.html. Looking deeper into the film it is noticeable the obvious connection of Dorothy and the Witch with the colour red. Dorothy wears red slippers and the witch turns up in a puff of red smoke, has a red hourglass and of course the slippers she seeks from Dorothy. It seems that there is a slight undertone of a primary colour battle with the witch linking with red and green and Dorothy a calm blue to enhance the conflict between the two characters.

The environments for Oz are astounding, made entirely inside in stage sets and only the sky shots being filmed outside. With the use of Technicolor the sets look so artificial but it is what gives Oz the dreamlike separation from the real world. ‘Even compared with state-of-the-art CGI, the visual effects are breathtaking - the staginess only enhances the sense of cosy otherworldliness.’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2006/12/11/the_wizard_of_oz_2006_review.shtml. With the use of over the top colours and matte paintings for the background the world seems very integrated but theses visuals are false and leading back to the second paragraph what make Oz almost menacing at times.

The Wizard of Oz is undoubtedly a spectacle which holds its own against cgi family films. It has a spark of innocence but is a deeply menacing film, and what makes it so magical to watch are the visuals and songs which become ever more intoxicating, reciting through your head over and over.


  1. Interim Online Review 09/11/10

    Hey Max

    Panic not - you've turned an important corner; and yes it took a while, but that's they way it is sometimes before the penny drops... Your latest concept art is a million miles away from where you were before and I think you're right to be excited. You've changed the rules for yourself by remembering that you're designing worlds for an ANIMATION. Your challenge now is to ensure that you combine a clear mastery of perspective/depth perception etc. with your new aesthetic. I wish you well and I encourage you to work-like-stink to generate an extraordinary body of work. Be bold. Don't look back....

    That said, in terms of your visual concept, you know it might be great if you were actually look at the original film of The Lost World:


    Imagine, if you will, that your designing your concept art to 'resemble' something hand-made, hand-crafted; so that your world feels like this nostalgic world of miniatures - with strong sepia elements; even looking at the textures and colour temperatures of old photographs etc. to fold into your world. A kind of 'Wallace and Gromit + King Kong stop-motion + childhood nostalgia' world? I think you're getting there already, but yes, how about embracing a kind of 'early cinema' ' visual concept - a bit cute, a bit clunky and purposefully artficial?

    Re. your latest review for the Wizard of Oz - great stuff! You maintained a formal tone throughout and turned up some genuinely fascinating commentary on the 'system of meaning/metaphor' used throughout.

  2. Here is a list of links back to the CGAA Group Blog, where I have recently uploaded loads of information regarding the way I want students to tackle their written assignments. As you now prepare your unit 2 assignments on production design, pay close attention to the advice given. I will be looking for clear improvement in terms of use of language, academic ‘voice’, use of conventions, argument structure and correct methods of referencing.

    Academic style/Do’s & Don’ts


    1st Person to 3rd person conversions


    Use of footnotes


    How to satisfy essay criteria/assignment presentation/hyperlink to referencing methods


    Also – be sure to check out the 2 student essays uploaded to myUCA/Space/Unit Materials – good examples of degree level written assignments. Take the time to read them.

  3. Thankyou for the encouraging comments Phil this has cheered my really rubbish day up I will aim to provide as much as work as possible over the remaining period.
    Thanks again.