Is there another family movie as timeless as this one? I don’t think so, pal. Not that it’s the greatest of cinematic achievements, but it’s packed with memorable places and characters, as well as great songs and a magical story. And now, some 60 years after its first release, the film comes back in theaters with brighter image and sharper sound than ever. But in the end, it’s not the technique but the imagination that’s fascinating with this movie. I’m pretty sure you’re all familiar with the story, but who knows, some dude who’s been hiding in a bunker since the last World War might be reading this. So it all starts out on a farm in Kansas, as a little girl who lives with her aunt wishes she could be somewhere else. She’s Dorothy, the nicest girl to ever strut her stuff on screen. Judy Garland plays her with such sweetness and innocence that she’s practically dripping with sugar (whatever that means ). Well, it goes with the mood of this feel-good movie where everyone is happy and everything is bright. Dorothy is accompanied by Toto, the coolest dog there is. I know I’m sounding stupid, but I tell you, Toto’s one kick ass pooch. Anyway, Dorothy’s having some problems on the farm because of some old bitch who wants to destroy (!?!) her dog, so she runs away from home, dreaming of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.
But some guy convinces her of going back, and she does yet it’s too late. There’s a twister coming, and her family is hiding in an underground shack. As she’s looking for them, the tornado swoops up the house all the way to the wonderful world of Oz, right on the wicked witch of the East, who is crushed to death, ending her reign of terror over MunchkinLand. And so Dorothy enters this new place, and the film goes from black&white to Technicolor, enhancing the contrast. The Munchkins treat her like a hero, singing and dancing for her. And man, these dudes are hysterical. They’re a bunch of happy midgets with ridiculous high-pitch voices who wear colorful outfits. They’re so cool! Do also meets the good witch of the North, who tells her that to go back home, she must go to the Wizard in the Emerald City, all the way down the Yellow Brick Road.
Along the way, she meets the unforgettable characters that will become her best friends. There’s the Scarecrow looking for a brain, the Tin man who needs a heart and the Cowardly Lion with no courage. They walk down the yellow brick road, dancing and singing timeless tunes like “We’re Off to See The Wizard” and “If I Only Had A Brain”. The cast really seems to be having fun, and it’s contagious for the audience. There’s a few darker parts, like when the bunch faces the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys, as well as when they meet the badass talking tree (my favorite). Yet this remains as wholesome a film their is, and both kids and grown-ups will love this classic tale. In our cynical times, it’s nice to watch a movie that cheerful.