This was one of my absolute favorite movies growing up, yet I’d never read the original story. It was shorter than I expected, and decidedly a children’s tale in the way it is told; there are really no nuances. Everyone is very straightforward and action-oriented. I noticed quite a few deviations from the original in the film, and see why the filmmakers made the choices they did: for instance, the good witch that Dorothy meets in Munchkinland is not Glinda the Good Witch, but some other good witch. (But of course, keep the character list shorter because everyone should be there for a purpose.) The Wicked Witch of the West isn’t even a major character… she’s just an episode in the middle of the story, and there’s quite a bit of story after her death left! Dorothy never gets home by clicking her heels together three times; she has quite a journey involving summoning the flying monkeys three times to help her get where she intends to go. (And then there’s this long aside about why the flying monkeys are forced to obey the person who summons them for three commands, etc.) In general, the film follows what would later come to be known as the Hero’s Journey, whereas the book is meandering and episodic. Largely this is why I didn’t enjoy the book as much.
My rating: ***
Language: clean, obviously
Sexual content: none, obviously
Political content: none that I could tell, which sort of surprised me since I had been under the impression that it was a political allegory