Nothing can replace the classic 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz in my heart, and I’m sure it’s the same for most people. Still, Hollywood has long been obsessed with the Oz novels, and that’s not about to change. Variety reports that the latest person to take on the Oz mythos is Mike Johnson, co-director of Corpse Bride with Tim Burton. His vision of the story is Oz Wars, a stop-motion/CGI flick for Vanguard Films. He’s working with a screenplay, written by Rob Moreland and Athena Gam, in which Dorothy is “caught up in a whirlwind of warrior witches, black magic, martial arts and monsters against a contemporary backdrop.” So, it’s Oz, but without the need for overly fantastical sets.
John Williams – the head of Vanguard, not that John Williams – said they’re aiming for a film both kids and adults can enjoy, with the world they’re creating being “dark, slick, sexy, and dangerous.” The film will be able to be produced under a very economical budget due to advances made in stop-motion technology and software.
Moviefone notes that Oz Wars is being announced during a year when there have been tons of other Oz productions being hinted at or announced. Take a look at what it’s up against: Oz (Warner Brothers’s Alice in Wonderland-like remake), Dorothy of Oz (Summertime Entertainment’s 3D animation musical), Oz: The Great and Powerful (Disney’s Sam Raimi-directed prequel), Wicked (Universal’s adaptation of the play), Surrender Dorothy (Warner Brothers and Flower film’s sequel), and The Wizard of Oz (yet another version from Warner Brothers, remade by Robert Zemeckis using the original script). Look at all that! It’s ridiculous! Three of them are from Warner Brothers too!
I’ve been a Wizard of Oz fan since before I can remember, getting the books read to me and watching the movie enough to wear out the VHS tape. I know there’s fertile ground to be explored there. But damn, that’s some crazy saturation they’ve got going there. Me? I’m still satisfied from watching Tin Man a little while back. Psychic lions, sun-locking weapons, and Zooey Deschanel in a realm absurdly called “The O.Z.”… good times.[Variety via Moviefone]