To the surprise of precisely no one, Oz the Great and Powerful is a feminist nightmare

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People assume that the Bechdel test is a direct progression from one point, two points, feminist cookie! But actually from a non-simplistic, non-reductionist viewpoint it’s more like a big ball of gender-wendery, feministy-weministy stuff.

For those of you who are not aware, the Bechdel Test is a set of rules first presented in Alison Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. To pass, a piece of media must include 1) two or more named female characters who 2) speak to each other about 3) something other than a man. Since its inception, it has been misused and misunderstood. The Bechdel Test is not necessarily a litmus to determine if something is feminist or not; it is more useful as a diagnostic for the state of fiction in our culture. The problem is not that any one movie or book or TV show episode does not pass. The problem is that so incredibly few pass compared to the number of movies and books and episodes with two or more male characters who speak to each other about something other than a woman.

Another problem is that people seem to think that you can get partial credit by passing one or two Bechdel criteria. Surely, more female characters are better than none and it’s very nice if they get to talk to each other, but the concept of getting Bechdel “points” without passing the complete test is not as useful as one might think. In fact, I am of the opinion that media that passes the first two of the Bechdel criteria with flying colors while blatantly failing to pass the third is some of the least-feminist, most regressive of the lot.

And now we finally get to the point: Oz the Great and Powerful, aka A Bunch of Awesome Women Can’t Find Anything to Talk About Other Than Some Asshole Dude.

No
No

To be fair, I knew what I was getting into. In a world filled with so many fascinating female characters, the very concept of a Wizard of Oz origin story screams androcentrism. And I really wasn’t expecting much from a movie produced by a guy who said, “…a fairy tale with a male protagonist is very hard to come by. But with the origin story of the Wizard of Oz, here was a fairy tale story with a natural male protagonist. Which is why I knew that this was an idea for a movie that was genuinely worth pursuing,” in all seriousness.

Barf.

[There are spoilers beyond this point, but the movie is so mind-numbingly predictable that it renders the concept of spoilers obsolete.]

Silly girl, agency is for men
Glinda, Theodora, and Evanora are witches. Evanora killed Glinda’s father, the old wizard, and convinced the Emerald City that Glinda was to blame. Glinda was banished, and Evanora took the throne. Theodora lives in sheltered innocence, unaware of her sister’s trickery. Meanwhile, Glinda is organizing a resistance, hoping to one day clear her name and defeat her father’s murderer.

Holy crap. I would watch that movie. I would watch that movie ten times.

But, like a turd in a trifle, one little addition spoils the whole thing. Glinda’s father, you see, made a prophecy that a new wizard would one day arrive to defeat the wicked witch and claim the Emerald City throne. So these three interesting, varied, powerful, motivated women presumably sat on their duffs for years waiting for a douche to crash a blimp into a pond. And then when he arrives, even when he repeatedly proves himself to be selfish and useless, they fall over each other to cater to him and tell him how important he is.

I don’t blame Theodora. Her interest in the wizard is more girlish fantasy than strategic manipulation. Evanora, too – she was sitting pretty on the throne with her enemies on the run. Why should she do anything but enjoy her spoils and wait to see if some dupe of a wizard might show up and do her dirty work for her?

But Glinda.

Glinda > Wizard
Glinda > Wizard

You want me to believe that she heard the prophecy and was like, “Whoops, I guess that means I can’t take responsibility for my people and lead any kind of significant resistance?” She’s smart, insightful, and understands the people of Oz. And yet, even when she knew that he had no magic and was kind of a terrible person, she left her own fate and the fate of everyone she cared about in the Wizard’s hands. Was she so bound by the prophecy that she dared not make a move until it was fulfilled, or did the powers that be not think that hard about it?

Basically, either the people who made this movie are misogynists or the people of Oz are. (Hint: it’s both.)

What female friendship?
God forbid a genre movie show two sisters, even villains, in a healthy sibling relationship. Theodora and Evanora’s interactions are all manipulative and poisonous. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal (there are lots of terrible sibling relationships in fiction and real life) if the basis of nearly all of their interactions in the movie did not revolve around the fricking Wizard. By making a romance subplot the center of everything they talk about, the movie genders their relationship. It’s not just about a cruel older sibling taking advantage of her naïve younger sibling. It’s about women using their sexualities as weapons against each other, and it’s gross.

The sad thing is, Theodora and Evanora could have been really interesting. There was a hint of something near the beginning of the movie where Evanora implies that Theodora is inherently wicked, despite her attempts to be good, and Theodora reacts violently. This could have been a fascinating exploration of the movie’s moral prescriptivism (with everyone divided into either good or wicked camps with no room for ambiguity), but instead it’s never brought up again, and that little exchange remains the closest the movie ever comes to passing that final Bechdel hurdle.

Please make a movie about these two.
Please make a movie about these two.

There was also something promising in the way Evanora implied that she wanted to rule Oz with Theodora – despite her wickedness, Evanora cared about her sister. She only burned the goodness out of her so that they would be able to work together with no secrets between them. And when Theodora became more wicked than Evanora ever expected or wanted, she was legitimately frightened and saddened. But almost all of this was left in subtext, to be conveyed by subtleties in the actresses’ performances. It is never explored in the text, and it is not given the consideration it deserves.

So there was no reason for the two of them to be so boring and regressive except that the powers that be deemed it so.

The Wicked Witch of the West

Hells to the yes.
Hells to the yes.

She is one of the greatest fictional villains of all time. Instantly recognizable, hugely popular, and resonant through a metric ton of our culture. Back-stories for villains like this can be loads of fun. Just look at Wicked.

But instead of taking a cue from Wicked and considering how the Witch might have a long and varied history which led her to take actions that she believes are right even though they go against the Wizard, in a move that is as insulting as it is hair-pullingly frustrating this movie decides to go with being jilted in love as her sole character motivation.

What?

And even then, the Wizard treated her like such garbage before she turned wicked that I had a really hard time not rooting for her after the fact. Actually, screw that. I full-on rooted for her. All she wanted was to be a good witch and get married and live in peace, and she got used by the Wizard, manipulated by her sister, and cast out of her home.

And then the Wizard has the temerity to tell her that being wicked isn’t her fault, and that if she ever wants to apologize she’s welcome to come back? He can go eat a bag of dicks.

Good people are beautiful; evil people are ugly
There’s, um, not much to say about this. The movie played this trope unbelievably, depressingly straight.

Okay, there was the nice touch that Evanora covered her ugliness with a glamour while Theodora reveled in her new appearance. I love the idea of the Wicked Witch embracing her green skin, beady eyes, and pointed nose. Because who cares? Why should she spend a single iota of magic making herself look more like how other people would prefer her to look?

But then there was that line about how she didn’t want to hide her ugliness because she wanted the Wizard to see what he had done to her, and… okay, so you’re still basing choices about your appearance on a man. Awesome.

I’m just going to go lie in the corner over here.

But why should misogynists have all the fun?
There’s plenty of discrimination and shoddy representation to go around!

Of the six main characters in the closing scene, two were black and one was a little person. That seems like pretty good statistics, right? Hold up. Those two characters got less screen time combined than any of the others did alone, and their character development was basically nil. The head tinker came in at the end and was almost entirely a plot device. And while Nook did get a few good lines in, during all his scenes I got the uncomfortable, nagging suspicion that the movie was expecting me to laugh and go, “Awwww, look at the angry little black man!”

I wish he really had broken the Wizard’s nose…

I give up
You know what? This article was going to be about how this movie was really pretty and quite enjoyable, but betrayed by its own fatally flawed premise. I was going to talk about how the beginning scenes were cleverly done, with the action springing out of the confines of the reel and into widescreen. I was going to talk about the color and set design of Oz. I was going to talk about some of the genuinely touching moments.

She was actually pretty great.
She was actually pretty great.

But no. I’m done. This movie has broken me. I’m going to talk about plot holes instead.

During the final assault on the Emerald City, when the Wizard takes off as if it was his plan all along to ditch his friends and make off with the gold, why in the hell did the movie show the others clearly not having a clue what was going on? There’s no reason for him not to tell everyone what he’s really up to. And later, when the balloon crashes, it makes absolutely zero sense for them to be there at the ready with the projector to complete the plan if they thought he was serious about running away.

And then what was with the ending? After employing like a hundred tinkers to build him the projector that he will use to make people believe that he’s a ghostly face in a cloud of smoke instead of an asshole behind a curtain, he gathers five people into a room and they say, “Your secret’s safe with us!” Yeah, I’m sure all the people who built you a machine designed to make things look bigger and floating in the air won’t tell any of their friends now that your face is bigger and floating in the air.

Whew. Um. I think I’m really done now. I’m just going to go lie down and put a cold washcloth over my eyes.

Please don’t see this movie. Goodnight.

Yeah, you WOULD like Thomas Edison, you hack.
Yeah, you WOULD like Thomas Edison, you hack.

Author: Christina Kim


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Comments

  1. Ugh. Sad thing is, I really did enjoy this movie. Probably still will, just on teh account of pretty and Mila Kunis. (Because Mila Kunis.) But yeah, it was flawed. Very very flawed. And though I didn’t notice the misogyny when I watched the movie, the Little Angry Black Dwarf made me incredibly uncomfortable. Especially when it seemed that the head tinkerer had also just been put into the last scene to give some Optimistic Black Wisdom to Glinda so that she could have a bit of last-minute character progress.

    Also, on the subject of plot holes, the wizard talked to his minions (yes I’m going to call them minions because that’s how they were treated) about their secret plan WHILE HE WAS STILL BEING A SMOKESCREEN. So presumably everyone in Oz, including Evanora and Theodora, learned of his great plan of ‘I have no magic but I HAVE TECHNOLOGYYY’, and then just didn’t understand what he said?

    Ffffff.

    1. Weirdly enough, I actually enjoyed it too. I wasn’t joking when I said that I meant to highlight some positive aspects of the movie. James Franco was really cute and sincere, I loooooove Mila Kunis, it was gorgeous and the 3D was done well, the little porcelain girl was fabulous… But the bad just strangled out the good for me. I kept waiting for the ladies to have some kind of character development outside of the wizard or Glinda’s father, and they never did. The actors and visual effects in this movie deserved a far better script.

      I think you’re spot-on about the tinker and Nook the herald. They were extremely token-ish. And that entire ending battle was a mess of plot holes uuuuugh.

      1. See, an aspect of the movie I DID like, was that Oz was portrayed as a f***ing asshole for most of hte movie. Now, because he’s the main character, obviously he’s gonna change. But I like that because of FInley (who points out some of the more shady and shitty stuff he does) and, to some extent, the three witches, the movie does tell us for quite some time that no, he’s not supposed to be a hero. He’s not a hero. He’s a dick.

        This is true. The ginormous faults of this movie were NOT attributed to the actors; they did an awesome job. I have to confess; in the Wizard of Oz, I f***ing hate Glinda. I think she’s one of the most annoying characters ever. Now, because of Wicked, Glinda as a character has been saved to me, and I love that version of her. (Seriously, though, Can we have a movie version of Wicked soon, plzkthx.) And I was really worried that she’d be the same brand of annoying in this movie, but Michelle Williams gave her a lovely depth – or as much depth as she could have with that trainwreck of a script. Good on you, gurl.

        I kept waiting for Nook to go “Mm!” after every sentence, like Chris Rock does in his impressions of stereotypical black men. Blagh. DNW.

  2. I also appreciated that the movie was aware of how bad Oz looked in the first half of the film. It could have been a lot worse. But in my opinion, they went too far and made him too unlikeable. That coupled with the way Glinda and Theodora bent over backwards for him made his redemption arc ring hollow for me. It’s like we wasted this whole movie holding Oz’s hand as he learned how to be a decent person, meanwhile actual important things are happening!

    Wicked changed my viewpoint on a lot of the characters (though I suppose that was the point!). I would kill for a movie adaption that followed the book instead of the musical.

    ps. I’m not sure why it’s not letting me reply to your comment…

    1. I dunno, I *just* managed to like him, which I think was because of James Franco’s acting. But yeah, I wanted to continually shout at the screen “how about you get teh f*** over yourself for a couple of minutes and ACTUALLY HELP OUT.” And although Theodora and Glinda’s catering to him grated on my nerves, I never felt that way with Evanora, because it was all an act. I actually quite liked that. And I LOVED the near-Bechdel moment where Theodora screams that she’s not wicked. Which immediately made me want Wicked as canon even more. *clutches musical to chest*

      1. Yes! Evanora’s interactions with Oz were really fun, because it was clear that she didn’t respect him in the slightest and was playing him from minute one.

        I didn’t mean to diss the musical; I just never got into it so much. I guess I don’t much like the idea of a happy ending for Elphaba and Fiyero. It doesn’t really fit the tone. But I adore the music and I’d love to see it live one day.

    2. Exactly! Especially after you learn that she is in fact the wicked withc, or at least not as innocent as she seems, you start liking the sugar-sweet, horrible voice she gets around himXD

      That’s quite alright; personal choice and everything. Wicked has been my favorite musicals for years, though I really wish I’d find the time to read the book version of it as well. I don’t know. I like singing and dancing. XD
      Bah, I’m a sucker for happy endings myself, tbh. Though I’ve always added the headcanon that at some point, Elphaba sneaks back to Oz and Glinda leaves to join the two of them. :3 /desperate musings of a fangirl I suppose

  3. This may be a difference of opinion based on my recollection of the novels being poor, but aren’t the witches extremely old? My interpretation of Evanora becoming ugly was as a high-speed aging proces a-la Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. As far as exposition of female characters in the film, I think that is largely a result of shallow exposition of all of the characters other than the wizard. There are three or more points when you expect douchebag redemption and he falls through. The interplay between the sisters acts as plot exposition and gives some background, whereas Finley doesn’t get any such exposure.

    This movie definitely could have treated its female roles much better, but I think some of the writer’s choices are more open to interpretation than you have made them seem.

    1. It doesn’t really matter WHY the witches look the way they do. It matters how the narrative treats them. Theodora was beautiful until she turned evil, and then she was ugly. Evanora was beautiful and at first people think she’s good, but when she’s revealed to be wicked it’s also revealed that she was ugly all along. Oz thinks Glinda is the Wicked Witch until he sees that she is beautiful, and then the possibility that she might be wicked is completely discarded. Whatever the reasons they give, the movie reinforces and never questions that good-pretty;bad=ugly paradigm.

      You’re correct that everyone revolved around the Wizard, not just the women. But I think it’s more of a problem when it comes to the witches than when it comes to Finley. Finley cannot carry a movie by himself. The witches absolutely could, and should have. Oz’s story detracted from theirs, and was less interesting. And having a man be the basis of everything a female character does and says is a lot more problematic than the same being true of another man.

      1. My interpretation of this was just different I suppose. It is possible I would come to this conclusion after several more viewings, but at first glance I felt differently about it.

  4. I knew it would diverge from canon, but yeesh, it’s like the creators said, “L. Frank who?” None of this is possible based on the actual series. Ozma’s father was the last leader of Oz, and the wizard becoming the leader was due to bizarre circumstances. As if the misogyny weren’t bad enough. I can’t see this movie–not that I planned to in the first place.

  5. This isn’t an attempt to troll, but I need to ask: how the heck is ANY movie supposed to pass the Bechdel Test? I don’t for a moment believe that men are an indispensable conversation topic when it comes to women, but Point 3 would require female characters to never reference a man or male character at all in any contest. Hell, the movie mentioned in that “Dykes To Watch Out For” comic strip, “Alien”, doesn’t even adhere to the conditions of the test in question. Lambert and Ripley have a brief exchange about whether or not to break quarantine and let Kane on board and later discuss whether either one of them has slept with Ash (whom they believed to be a man at the time). o_O

    1. Sorry if I wasn’t clear – to pass the Bechdel Test, the characters only have to have one conversation that isn’t about a man. It doesn’t matter if they talk about men at other times.

    2. Butting in here, sorry.

      Like Wallmaker Relict says, you only need a single scene or conversations in which two women talk about something that isn’t related to a man. At this point, the test doesn’t even have a time limit, which means that many movies BARELY pass the test on accounts of five-second conversations and similar. No doubt critics will use Theodora’s “I’m not wicked” conversation to state that yes, Oz the Great And Powerful did indeed pass the Bechdel test.

      As you see, it is by far an exact scientific test; it’s meant to show a general indication rather than to serve as an absolute test. You can have a great movie without it passing the Bechdel test, for example. It just highlights an obvious problem in Hollywood(and elsewhere); that men and men’s stories get the vast, VAST majority of attention and screentime.

  6. Seriously? Just watch the movie and enjoy it… too many people complain about shite that doesn’t really matter. Guess what? The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is “racist” against Goblins/Orcs/Half Orcs, also Dead Wrath Kings, and of all things, Elderly Fire Breathing Dragons… that’s just the tip of the Mountain. What did you expect from Disney and James Franco? Wasn’t the literary “Wizard of Oz” a douchebag anyway??? What’s the big deal?

    1. The big deal is that originally, this story is about female characters, and they are GREAT characters who deserve a film of their own, without ‘a literary douchebag’ to hog the screentime. The big deal is that the writers have tweaked a good story about women into a mediocre movie and a man, and besides it being something we have seen so many times before we want to throw up a little, we’re also disappointed that we didn’t get to see the original story on film (because, presumably, it wasn’t deemed ‘good enough’). You’re right that loads and loads of other movies have problems with gender, race, sexuality and other stereotypes, but that is the exact reason why it’s important to highlight this when it’s so obvious. So that later films WILL NOT BE THE EXACT SAME BRAND OF BULLSHIT.

      Also, for your information, it is perfectly valid (and normal) to enjoy a movie/series/book/game and still be critical of it. I’m highly critical of the Tomb Raider series, for example; it doesn’t change the fact that I have loved and admired Lara Croft since I was five years old.

      Also, why do you spend time and effort commenting on a post that you disagree with? Just scroll past it and read some other article. What’s the big deal, anyway?

      1. I could be wrong, but I’m fairly sure this movie wasn’t about the witches. Actually I’m almost certain this movie is about how the wish granting wizard of Oz from the first movie came to be in the Emerald City.

        Neither this nor the first movie or book were centred around any other characters. In the Wizard of Oz, the main goal of the protagonists was to get to the Wizard so he could get Dorothy home, the Lion some courage, the Tin man a heart and the Scarecrow a brain.

        In the end we find out that the Wizard is a simple old man. Oz the Great and the Powerful is a story about how that man got there. Maybe there will be a movie version of Wicked to show the point of view of the witches, but this movie was never meant to be that.

  7. “Um, can I carry your books to school for you? Like, forever?”

    F*** no, I ain’t that kind of girl. You can take my books half the time, and then I’ll do the same for you. <3

  8. Theodora wasn’t as sheltered and innocent as you might think. From what was shown in the movie her wicked side was shown long before the scene where she blew up stuff in her anger.

    The main reason she was angry with him is because she wasn’t going to end up being the queen. Heck when her sister tried to fool Theodora into thinking that Oz went to Evanora, she pointed out to Theodora that she was the one who tried to push Oz into making her the queen. Oz never discussed it with her, she just straight out said that she would be the queen and rule with him in the first scenes when they met.

    As to plot holes, there were none. The only reason he told the head tinkerer that he was going to fake his death was because he needed his help in making the balloon. He needed the rest of the people to think that he died to make the witches believe that he really died and became all powerful like Obi Wan Kenobi.

    The only way he could defeat the witches was by trickery. If you can’t fool your friends, you won’t be able to fool anyone, much like Sherlock Holmes had to fool Watson in the Adventure of the Dying Detective. His life depended on it, otherwise if the witches suspected anything such as Glisinda or the others slipping up he’d have ended up the charred and electrocuted corpse of Oz.

    1. Theodora only talked about being queen after she and Oz spent the night together, during which it was heavily implied that he took advantage of her. She’d never been admired before, she’d never been asked to dance. She was taken in by the Wizard, and wanting to be queen was very much an extension of wanting to be with him. I actually think that your reading of her character is very interesting, and I probably would have preferred it to how she was handled in the movie, but in my opinion there isn’t much textual evidence for it.

      As for the plot hole: it still made no sense to leave Nook and/or Finley out of the loop, since Oz would need help to run the projector. He had no guarantee that his entire invasion force wouldn’t retreat from the city as soon as they thought he’d deserted him. Telling a few trusted lieutenants his plan could not possibly have endangered it; in fact, it would have helped it.

  9. J Unit: That’s kind of exactly my point. This movie was about the Wizard, but it shouldn’t have been. The way they wrote it, and from what we know about canon based on the books, it would have made much more sense for it to be about the witches. The amount of bending over backwards and character warping this movie has to perform in order to keep the wizard at the center of the story is ludicrous.

    If the movie absolutely had to be about the Wizard, they should have started by scrapping the prophecy. That’s lazy storytelling. They should have developed the witches’ conflict and built the world, then stuck the Wizard into it and made him work for his recognition. But instead they made all of Oz revolve around him, even though there should have been more interesting things going on than just his story.

    For example, look at Lyra from His Dark Materials. She is special, and there’s even a prophecy about her. But Phillip Pullman never uses that prophesy as a crutch to avoid fleshing out side characters and world-building.

    Harry Potter, too. People tended to make allowances for Harry because of his specialness and the prophecy about him, but all the characters in those books had their own motivations. Hermione recognized that Harry would be instrumental in a war that would decide the fate of her entire generation, but the books never used that as justification for her to run her entire life around him.

    A story is more than its protagonist. While I think making an origin story for the Wizard is ridiculous when there are better and more interesting characters in this canon, that’s beside the point. The point is that they made an origin story for the Wizard and NO ONE ELSE.

    And if you’re implying that the original Wizard of Oz movie was primarily about the Wizard, I’m going to have to laugh in your face.

    1. If you’ve read or seen the Wizard of Oz it was all about the Wizard. He was in charge of the entire land and everything revolved around him granting people wishes. The main quest for the protagonists of the Wizard of Oz was to get to him. You could say it was a yellow brick road straight to him with side paths along the way to keep the story interesting.

      If you wanted a story about the witches, that would have been an entirely different movie. Their origins are completely different from his and maybe there will be a movie one day about them, though this movie did build the characters of Theodora and Glinda quite well.

      Theodora as I said in a previous comment was not a simple little sheltered and innocent girl. She was wicked long before Oz showed up. Heck she’s the one who forced herself on him trying to take power by becoming the queen.

      Glinda was shown to not be the good little witch that she looks to be. She is manipulative and shrewd. She knew she couldn’t mount a resistance by herself. What will you do with an army of pacifists? She also couldn’t fight an army and two witches alone.

      Instead she waited on someone who had the means to do what she couldn’t and she used the con man to get power back and take revenge. You remember the scene where she tried to take out Evanora? That isn’t something a good little witch does.

      In the end only Evanora didn’t really get her character developed. She was wicked through and through, from beginning to end. The only time she showed a twinge of anything other than evil was when her sister started becoming worse than her.

      1. The Wizard of Oz was about Dorothy. The Wizard was little more than a plot device. There’s not much more that can be said about that.

        I’ve already told you why I disagree with your assessment of Theodora. By the way, since the movie never portrayed Theodora as anything less than earnest in her feelings for the Wizard, and pretty clearly showed the Wizard taking advantage of her crush, your description of that scene as her “forcing herself on him” is super-skeeving me out.

        As for Glinda, I never implied that she was a “good little witch,” whatever that means. But if she was constrained by her army and her means, then she never showed any frustration over it. If she recognized that having an army of pacifists was a liability, she never acknowledged it. Like I said before, I like your interpretations of Glinda and Theodora’s characters, but there is not enough textual evidence to support them. Which is exactly my problem with this movie. That textual evidence should have been front and center! It would not have been hard to put a little more effort into the witches’ motivations, making them into pieces of a dynamic ensemble cast instead of relegating them to hollow secondary characters.

      2. “Theodora as I said in a previous comment was not a simple little sheltered and innocent girl. She was wicked long before Oz showed up. Heck she’s the one who forced herself on him trying to take power by becoming the queen. ”

        Are you high? Or are you just extremely set in your ways of seeing everything from the man’s persepctive? I appreciate different views, I do. But there’s one thing to discuss differen interpretations of a scene that’s unclear (*cough*Wizard hiding his balloon *cough*), and it’s another thing to twist and bend film facts so they’ll fit your view of the poor innocent Wizard who’s being manipulated by all these Wicked, Wicked witches. (I’m guessing you also think Theodora ‘had it coming’, am I right? )

  10. Leaving Nook and Finley out of the loop was the smart thing to do. They were in the crowed and the witches knew they were his allies. You can’t fake a reaction like genuine sadness, he needed to make all of them believe that he was really dead.

    This is similar to what Sherlock Holmes did to Watson in the Adventure of the Dying detective. He had to fool everyone around him into thinking that Sherlock was dying so he could catch a murderer. Otherwise the whole ruse would have been found out, similar to how the witches would never had believe that Oz had become almighty.

    1. I see your point, but I don’t think it quite applies. Holmes left Watson out of the loop because he knew that Watson would have to speak to the villain face-to-face and convince him to come to Baker Street. The Wizard’s allies were under no such scrutiny. In fact, I’d say Finley jumping into the Wizard’s arms in joy after finding out that he was alive was more conspicuous than it would have been if Finley knew what was happened and simply faked being sad.

  11. It’s a shame. I kept seeing trailers for it on TV (and I’m in Japan) and it looked so good that I was seriously considering the somewhat expensive ticket to go see it. Guess that’s a thousand plus yen I won’t be spending.

  12. I agree that he was douche at times, but this review is written by a hardcore feminist she only focused on that part in whole big review…. Chill it’s just a movie

    1. It may be ‘just be a movie’, but apart form being very, very pretty it was very, very boring and predictable. That is the problem with this kind of character interplay, even if it’s a prequel you still want some twists and turns happening to keep it interesting but in this case you’re just not gonna get it.

  13. Wow. Seriously, I think the reason that the woman writer here is so pissed off is that the movie reflects real life in some critical ways that women may dislike, particularly feminists.

    Women’s power is analagous to magic in that it reflects the embodiment of nature particularly sexual power, and magic is nature’s mystical power, woman have been seen as conduits of nature’s power thusly in the form of witchcraft.
    But the most powerful magic users in fiction have been men. The wizards of fantasy such as Merlin, Gandalf, Dumbledore, Sauron, Voldemort etc reflect man’s power in manipulating the forces of nature. In a way it is similar to the culinary arts. Many more women cook than men but the best, and the worst cooks are men.
    This is also reflected in IQs. Women are more grouped around the average but men are more evenly spread across the spectrum creating more dumb men but more genius men than women. This makes evolutionary sense, the bigger the difference between men’s abilities the more easy it is for women to select the fittest mates, also the best of a diverse group of men is going to be much more intelligent than the best selected of a group of average men. Thus humanity’s intellectual evolution advances more rapidly, e.g. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-483707/Only-men-geniuses–far-stupid-men-women.html

    The geniuses of society are overwhelmingly mostly male and man’s ability to manipulate nature via science is thematically linked to men’s control over women and magic is a symbolic empowerment for women who feel disempowered, not necessarily by men but by life generally.
    Oz and his tricks that deceive the witches are a fictional reminder of real world themes.

    1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

      No, no wait. I’m okay. I got this, I…

      pffffffBAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      In all seriousness, I usually try to engage in reasoned debate with misogynists. Even the ones who don’t deserve it. But this? I just… I can’t. You cited a TABLOID NEWSPAPER. And that article you linked to is Poe’s Law in action – it’s almost hard to tell whether it’s a parody or for real. I read the whole thing; it was hilarious. As for you, I’m not even sure you pass the Turing test. Your soapbox is so obvious that I’m still not convinced that your comment wasn’t written by a program that makes a case for male superiority via evolutionary psychology on any article with “feminist” in the title.

      Please go be a condescending dickbag somewhere else.

    2. I refuse to believe that this isn’t a parody. You cannot be serious.

        1. Even better: the study he’s citing didn’t use an IQ test. It used a military aptitude test. Because the military has always been such a bastion of gender equality, am I right?

          1. Indeed. 🙂

            Honestly, that article looks like something you’d see in the “Weekly World News”. 😛

            This reminds me of an interesting test in “MythBusters” recently to test the old adage ‘throw like a girl’ which produced some extremely interesting results. They tested males and females across age groups by having them throw baseballs at a target and found that, overall, while men threw harder and faster, women threw more accurately. They then got rid of gender/cultural bias by repeating the tests with the same subjects, but having them use their non-dominant hands this time. The end result? The differences vanished, which shows just how much our environment influences our mindset.

            And finally, just to put the icing on the cake, they brought in a professional female softball pitcher and compared her to the major league baseball pitcher they brought in earlier. She held her own and analysis of her movements using a motion capture system showed that she “threw like a man”, thus proving that it’s totally not something you’re born with but rather something you’re taught how to do, whether consciously or subconsciously. Kinda makes you wonder what other stuff might yield the same results. 😀

  14. Ugh…
    Theodora was the innocent and the only witch enamored by the “powerful” wizard.

    Evanora was interested in the “will to power” solely, so there’s your feminist prototype.

    Glenda was a statesman who only after the wizard had proven his ingenuity and ethics, judged him as worthy; otherwise, she was just using him as a tool in the whole “make-the-people-believe” prophecy.

    And it’s not like the producers could just rewrite the whole Oz narrative.

    What a waste of time critiquing a director like Raimi who has already made some wannabe-chauvanistic, but not really, movies.

    Get a life?

    1. The original Oz narrative didn’t even have the “jilted lover” or “witches bending over backward over the wizard” nonsense that this movie does. Your point there is moot.

      And whenever a writer, director, or any other artist puts a work out in the public eye, they automatically open it up for critique. Analyzing a movie, no matter how silly of one it is, isn’t a waste of time.

    2. That wasn’t part of the Oz narrative, and get a life? It’s sad that you weren’t anywhere near clever enough to come up with an original and meaningful insult, or to research the narrative of the Oz stories before commenting on them. You need to get an education, and some critical thinking skills.

  15. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I watched this movie this weekend and though it was incredibly pretty, something about it bothered me that I couldn’t put my finger on. I thought at first it was simply because I’m a huge “Wicked” fan and I was just being an unpleasable fangirl, but reading through your article I find myself agreeing with your points. It bothers me that a movie that could have had strong, interesting female characters instead became a mess of love triangles and women falling over themselves because of a jerky guy character.

    Though the thing that bothered me the most was Theodora’s “fall to darkness.” Not just the “jilted lover” angle, but the fact that it’s basically a spell that destroys her heart and renders her evil. Who needs character development when you have MAGIKS? *eyeroll*

    I echo other readers’ opinions that we need a “Wicked” movie. Hopefully with as much of the original Broadway cast as possible…

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