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Posts Tagged ‘Walter Murch’

Return to Oz

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

June 21, 1985

Forty-six years after MGM’s beloved Technicolor musical THE WIZARD OF OZ, Walt Disney Pictures produced their own journey through the world of L. Frank Baum. Though titled and framed like a sequel, writer/director Walter Murch and co-writer Dennis Gill (WALK THE LINE) treated it more as a literary adaptation, basing it mostly on book #3, Ozma of Oz, combined with some characters from #2, The Marvelous Land of Oz. In an article by Alan Jones in the July, 1985 issue of Cinefantastique (my most quoted source in this review series, you may have noticed), executive producer Gary Kurtz (THE DARK CRYSTAL) says they “pondered at great length” whether to even use the iconic ruby slippers, since in the books they were silver.

Like its predecessor, the not-really-sequel is full of whimsical characters and underpinned with fairy tale menace, but in most other ways it’s wildly different. The colors are subdued rather than vivid, the settings are grounded rather than stagey, it stars 10-year-old newcomer Fairuza Balk as Dorothy rather than a teen like Judy Garland, and she doesn’t sing, because it’s not a musical. While WIZARD’s costumes, jokes and dance numbers come out of the vaudeville tradition, RETURN creates its world and characters with the rapidly evolving cinematic puppetry, animation and visual FX technology of the Lucas/Spielberg era. Murch told Cinefantastique, “At first I was worried about using state-of-the-art animatronics, but so many of the OZ personnel are graduates of The Muppets, STAR WARS, and THE DARK CRYSTAL that I realized it would be pointless to worry.”

The result is a classic entry in the unique-to-the-‘80s subgenre of dark, imaginative, FX-heavy fantasy for children, preceded by THE DARK CRYSTAL and THE NEVERENDING STORY and followed by LABYRINTH. (read the rest of this shit…)

THX 1138

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

tn_thx1138So, we got this new STAR WARS movie coming up at the end of the month. The world has breathed a sigh of relief that the Star Wars story and characters have been liberated from the tyrannical grip of their creator and are finally where they belong: as a trademarked intellectual property of the Walt Disney corporation to hire different less visionary/uppity directors to make authorized fake versions of every year forever.

But what do we really know about former Star Wars creator George Lucas, other than that he is one of history’s greatest monsters and childhood rapers? Not much. We know he moved millions of people for generations with his Star Wars movies, revolutionized the technology of special effects and theater presentation, sold his creations for $4.05 billion (actual number, not funny exaggerated one) and then donated almost all of that to charity. That’s kind of nice trivia, but of course it doesn’t change the sinister fact that he altered a bunch of things in his beloved movies years after the fact and then made three new movies that some people thought were bad, making him the boogie man of twenty first century pop culture.

But perhaps there is a way for us to separate the artist from the special editioner. Exhaustive research has uncovered evidence of Lucas’s name in the credits of other films that do not even take place in space. Outlawvern.com is prepared to EXCLUSIVELY report that George Lucas had a hand in some movies that weren’t about any star wars at all. And though it may be painful, though it may be politically uncorrect, I thought maybe they would be worth getting to know and understand. How do we prevent this from happening again, etc.

So, throughout this next month or two, depending on how long it takes me, I will be doing LUCAS MINUS STAR WARS, reviewing every non-Star-Wars movie released by his company Lucasfilm (note: I already reviewed HOWARD THE DUCK so I might skip that one) and a few others that he had a hand in outside of his company, starting with his directorial debut THX 1138. (read the rest of this shit…)

K-19: The Widowmaker

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

tn_k-19Well, I was stupid to write off K-19 all these years. I don’t know why I did. I didn’t even know what it’s about. I think I knew K-19 wasn’t a mountain, it’s a submarine. I knew it had kind of an audacious name but was directed by this year’s #1 Oscar snub, Kathryn Bigelow. That should’ve been enough, but I never heard anything too good about it and didn’t feel the need to see it.

Maybe it’s the submarine thing. I know this is blasphemy to alot of people, but I never even got into that one submarine movie that everybody loves that’s by the director of DIE HARD and PREDATOR. I’ve tried and it’s fine and everything but I just can’t get myself excited about it like everybody else. Maybe I’m subconsciously rebelling against my old man, who worked on subs. I never went that way. I’m a proud surface dweller. Strictly a land man. Vote no on Atlantis.
(read the rest of this shit…)