The famous yellow brick road. Magical ruby read slippers that gleam. A good witch and a bad witch. Cute and kindly Munchkins. Lions and scarecrows and tin men, oh my! The Wizard of Oz, which first made an appearance in 1939 with Judy Garland as its star, has since become a movie classic.
Now, almost 75 years after the land of Oz was epitomized in the 1939 Victor Fleming-directed film, another movie has come out in theaters, ready to whisk viewers away to the magical land once more. Oz the Great and Powerful, starring James Franco as Oz, stays very true to the beloved 1939 film. It is a different story altogether, transporting viewers back many years before the events of Dorothy's adventure, and with all of the new movie technology and CG effects, it looks much sharper and fantastical.
But it is, without a doubt, the same land of Oz, and this new film parallels the old. In 1939's The Wizard of Oz, beginning events of the film are shot in black and white and color is only introduced when Dorothy reaches Oz. In 2013's Oz the Great and Powerful, the beginning of the movie is also shot in black and white and doesn't become colorful until Oz lands in the land of Oz, via hotair balloon. In the older film, characters of Oz represent people in Dorothy's life back in Kansas (Miss Gulch is the Wicked Witch of the West, Hunk is the Scarecrow, Hickory is the Tin Man, and Zeke is the Cowardly Lion). In the new film, characters from Oz also represent the people Oz left behind in his reality (his love interest Annie is the good witch Glinda, his assistant Frank is the faithful monkey Finley, and the girl in the wheelchair he cannot cure is the China Girl who he can fix with glue). The Munchkins return and when Theodora transforms into the Wicked Witch, her sharp, green features mirror that of Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch from 1939.
Two totally separate films with two entirely different directors and two absolutely unconnected casts...but the concept is shared and linked. Yet there is one difference...or rather, addition...that completley floored me.
The land of Oz has a cemetery.
I suppose this fact shouldn't be as suprising as I find it. In our world, there are cemeteries in every town of every state of the United States and that's not even mentioning the numerous, uncountable graveyards in other parts of the globe. People die and they must rest somewhere and I guess magical lands are no different. But to see the tombstones, the various shades of darkness, a witch about to enter through the wiry gates that surround the entire cemetery...I think this discovery could be added to the list of Things That Set Nicole's Imagination On Fire.
Who is buried in this Oz cemetery and is it the only cemetery in Oz? Maybe it's the main cemetery, the one that is the most occupied and the most crowded. Perhaps, like the town of Savoy where I live, there are other small graveyards sprinkled throughout the land in the most obscure places; on hillsides, deep in the woods, in backyards, in posion ivy patches. For certain, we only know one Oz individual who is definitely buried in this cemetery and that is Glinda's father, the king. We know this because she visits him in the film, along with Oz, Finley, and the China Girl.
But who else? Perhaps this is where Munchkins and Winkies are laid to rest and kings of past ages and good witches, too. I have not yet read the books by L. Frank Baum and I know there are many other inhabitants of Oz and so there really are endless possibilities of who occupies this cemetery. As for wicked witches and evil flying monkeys, they might have one of those hidden graveyards deep in the trees...or no resting place at all.
Now people might think to themselves...okay, Nicole, Oz has a cemetery. So what?
It is fascinating to me that Oz, with it's Emerald City, Munchkin Country, and yellow brick road, has something as eerie, as necessary, as normal as a cemetery. The power of creation is adamant here; authors and filmmakers can create all sorts of different worlds with fascinating individuals who have fantastic adventures and still place within their magical boundries things that are ordinary.
I, as a reader and writer and dreamer, love Other Worlds. I am a proud American, but I love lands that aren't this land, worlds that hold characters who don't dwell anywhere in our world, places where things happen that will never happen here. Oz is one of those lands, somewhere vastly far away and unreachable, unless you either have a tornado in your near future or a vivid imagination. Anything that makes lands like these appear more real makes me a happy and fascinated individual.
So, to get to the gist of things, cemeteries are a fact of life and a common occurence on Earth and if a land like Oz has a cemetery, then it is just another link we have to that magical place. And the more links there are, the more of a connection there is. The more of a connection we have, the more magic there can be in daily life.
And plus, the cemetery was eerie and beautiful and wonderful. The perfect place to get chased by evil, flying monkeys.