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The Wizard of Oz Vs. Army of Darkness

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire March 8, 2013 at 11:37AM

Sam Raimi's new film is a fairly faithful prequel to "The Wizard of Oz" and a kind of insanely faithful kid-friendly remake of the third "Evil Dead" movie.
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"Oz: The Great and Powerful"/"Army of Darkness."
"Oz: The Great and Powerful"/"Army of Darkness."

Sam Raimi's new movie, "Oz: The Great and Powerful," is a fairly faithful prequel to "The Wizard of Oz" and an insanely faithful kid-friendly remake of "Army of Darkness," the third installment of Raimi's ultra-gory "Evil Dead" franchise. If you're a rabid Raimi fan like me, you may find yourself shocked at the incredible degree to which this $200 million mainer-than-mainstream mega-blockbuster is indebted to a $13 million cult film for horror fiends, weirdos, and stoners. 

Now it's entirely possible that some or maybe all of the similarities I'm about to list are coincidental and unintentional. It's also entirely possible that having seen "Army of Darkness" approximately 1,323,104,863 times in college, I've gotten to a point where I think all movies are kid-friendly remakes of it. Nonetheless, the connections are there, and as you're about to see, they're quite abundant.

If you're worried about spoilers, I would like to first point out that you're concerned about spoiling a twenty year old movie and the prequel to a seventy-three year old movie. Nonetheless, I will respect your concerns (now that I've mocked them) and hereby give you an official SPOILER WARNING

And now, let's list...

22 Ways "Oz: The Great and Powerful" Is Essentially a PG-Rated Remake of "Army of Darkness"
1) Both movies contain evil witches.
2) Both movies feature beautiful women transformed into hideous hags by supernatural evil.
3) Both movies follow a hero who works a menial job -- box store clerk and circus magician, respectively -- but constantly boasts about his greatness.
4) Contrary to his haughty attitude, said hero is, in fact, a coward.
5) Said hero is plucked from his time by means of an interdimensional portal in the form of a magical, swirling vortex.
6) Said vortex snags the hero's preferred means of transportation -- 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 and hot air balloon, respectively -- along with him.
7) Said hero's arrival to this new land involves a fall from a great height.
8) Upon his arrival, said hero is declared to be the fulfillment of a prophecy which states a great man will fall from the sky and save the land from evil.
9) Said hero goes along with those who believe in said prophecy for purely selfish reasons.
10) Said land is an agrarian society housed in a castle surrounded by a protective wall.
11) Said hero must go on a quest to retrieve an artifact -- a magic book and a magic wand, respectively -- that are the only objects that can defeat said evil.
12) Said artifact is found in a foggy graveyard.
13) Upon finding it, said hero botches his attempt to acquire said artifact.
14) Said evil breaches said protective wall with a demoralizing preliminary assault.
15) When faced with the full realization of the danger he faces, said hero attempts to run rather than stay and fight.
16) At his lowest point, said hero's faith is restored by a kind and beautiful woman who believes in him.
17) Said hero devises plan that involves the use of modern scientific technology.
18) Said hero teaches said agrarian society how to make gunpowder using a book he has brought with him from home.
19) Said hero makes inspiring speech, transforming his motley brigade into an effective fighting force.
20) Said hero leads his outnumbered soldiers in battle against an army of darkness.
21) Said hero triumphs over supernatural evil through the careful deployment of said modern scientific technology.
22) After winning the day, said hero is offered the opportunity to become said agrarian society's new ruler.

In "Oz: The Great and Powerful," Oz accepts the offer (in a way). In "Army of Darkness," Ash rejects the offer and returns to his own time, where he continues his fight against the Evil Dead as a clerk at S-Mart. Other than that, a couple of curse words, and some gruesome undead baddies, they're basically the exact same movie. 

Did we miss any other "Oz" and "Army of Darkness" connections? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

This article is related to: Sam Raimi


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