Todd Alcott
01 October 2008 @ 03:11 am
Fairies and Fantasy: The Wizard of Oz part 3  

At the end of Act II of The Wizard of Oz, the Wizard sends Dorothy out to get the broom of the Wicked Witch. Dorothy immediately grasps the import of this command: the Wizard's not in need of a broom, he's ordering her to kill the Witch.

Why? Has the Witch been troubling the Emerald City? I don't see how -- the Emerald Citizens are all jolly, healthy and well cared-for -- not a winged monkey in sight. Does he send her to kill the Witch because she's kind of "brought the Witch to their doorstep?" Maybe -- maybe he thinks that the "SURRENDER DOROTHY" that the witch writes in the sky over the Emerald City is directed towards himself. "Uh-oh, the Witch wants this little girl, I'd better give her what she want, maybe then she'll go away." Is the Wizard the Neville Chamberlain of Oz, and Dorothy Czechoslovakia?

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Todd Alcott
30 September 2008 @ 04:20 am
Fairies and Fantasy:The Wizard of Oz part 2  

swan_tower , who is smarter than me, and quite bit better educated, writes --

"You should be aware that most folklorists consider Bettelheim's work to be a load of bunk. He's terrifyingly reductionist, and wilfully made up psychological anecdotes to support his theories. And that's before you take a step back to all the critiques of Freudian psychology in general. I wouldn't recommend using him for the starting point of any analysis of a fantasy story.

I thank Ms Tower for informing me of Dr. Bettelheim's reputation among folklorists -- as I mentioned the other day, I read The Uses of Enchantment primarily because David Mamet recommended I do so, and while Mamet may not be a very good folklorist, he's taught me many useful things about constructing narratives. (On the other hand, he has also taken up conservative politics. So there's that.) I take seriously Ms Tower's caution against Freudian analysis of stories, and if I actually understood what constitutes Freudian psychology I would endeavor to avoid doing that. I don't pretend that this is "the" meaning of The Wizard of Oz, but I believe it is one possible meaning. The point being, this movie has lasted for generations for some reason, and continues to enchant and move audiences despite its dated appearances. There is, for instance, a convincing argument to be made about Wizard being a simple metaphor about a child's development of wisdom in the negotiation of a confusing society. My goal here is to reduce the narrative (which I guess makes me reductionist, although I hope not terrifyingly so) to its smallest possible core, which leads me to a story that is solely about Dorothy and her fears and desires. And, since the adventure is, literally, "all in her head," her head seems like a good place to start.


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Todd Alcott
25 September 2008 @ 06:11 am
Fairies and Fantasy: The Wizard of Oz part 1  

The Wizard of Oz is the kind of movie that has been so totally absorbed by our culture, seen so many times by everyone from such a young age, that it's easy to forget that it is, in the end, a movie, created by a team of artisans like any other movie, its basic ingredients -- script, cast, costuming, scoring, editing, etc -- no more magical or superior than the ingredients of tens of thousands of other movies. And yet, The Wizard of Oz endures like few other movies do, still holds audiences breathless in its narrative grip, despite the changing fashions of filmmaking, despite its stylized overacting, despite its gonzo, surreal production design. Even other tellings of The Wizard of Oz fail to enchant the way this movie does; why is this so?

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Todd Alcott
02 September 2008 @ 12:51 am
Fairies and Fantasy: Eragon  

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I watched Eragon with Sam (7) and Kit (5) tonight, and, now that I know that there are untold legion of fantasy-movie fans within my readership, I have a question:

Why wasn't this movie a bigger hit?

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Todd Alcott
18 August 2008 @ 10:56 pm
Fairies and Fantasy: The Dark Crystal  

First of all, let me just say that this is a much better movie than Jim Henson's later feature-length puppet-show Labyrinth. It has a better script, a more organically-constructed world and a total lack of David Bowie in stretchpants. This does not, however, mean that it is without stats

First, let me make sure I've got the story straight:

Todd Alcott
05 August 2008 @ 11:59 pm
Fairies and Fantasy: Labyrinth  

For a new project I've taken on, it devolves upon me to watch movies dealing wih dwarfs and goblins, fairies and ogres, wizards and witches, spells and enchantments. To begin this journey into wonderment, I chose to begin with Labyrinth, Jim Henson's 1986 fantasy project starring a young Jennifer Connelly as The Maiden and a not-so-young David Bowie as the Goblin King. I have not seen the movie since its release 22 years ago.hitcounter

Ho. Lee. Crap.