Star Rating:

The Wizard of Oz

Director: Viktor Fleming

Actors: Frank Morgan, Judy Garland, Ray Bolger

Release Date: Friday 12th September 2014

Genre(s): Family

Running time: 102 minutes

On its 75th Anniversary, we should probably spend this review celebrating the inherent greatness of The Wizard Of Oz, but we're not going to. Anyone who knows anything about movies will already know about Dorothy and her little dog too, the twister and the black-and-white world suddenly becoming colourful, and the tin men and the lions and the scarecrows, oh my.

No, instead we're going to look at The Wizard Of Oz as a synecdoche (look it up) for "classic films" as a whole, the kind of films that stuffy old school critics will give five stars to because they're supposed to, not because the film actually deserve them. You know the kinds of films we're talking about: Citizen Kane, The Sound Of Music, Star Wars: A New Hope... films that are in no way bad movies, but get defended by the argument of 'But it was YEARS ago, and look at all they accomplished!' That's fair enough, but nobody would argue today that the Wright Brothers provided a five star flight service.

Between the FIVE different directors (four of whom are left uncredited) and SEVENTEEN different screenwriters (thirteen left uncredited), this truly was a film that MGM wanted to get right, and to an extent they did. The Technicolor land of Oz is still quite beautiful, the Wicked Witch Of The West gives great villainess, most (but not all) of the songs are instantly memorable, and a lot of the supporting characters provide a lot of the laughs and pathos. That comes down to Dorothy (Judy Garland) actually being incredibly unlikeable, and nobody realising that her dog Toto is actually the true bad-guy of the movie. He bites people! He jumps out of life-saving hot-air balloons! He's just the worst.

While it's still very much a cornerstone of family movies - nothing gets referenced by modern culture this much for no reason - but make sure you take off your rose-tinted sentimental glasses when re-watching on the big(gest) screen in 3D. Yes, there's still the obvious trippy references - the Good Witch is clearly Lithium'd out of her mind - and those flying monkeys are still one of cinema's scariest creations, but this might be the first kids movie with more for in store for the adults to enjoy.