Sunday, March 10, 2013

From The Idea Hole: Warlords Of Oz

[Note: The following turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it would be, and is practically a mini-treatment for a movie that will never, ever be made. Feel free to ignore it for either of those reasons.]

A number of years ago, long before I ever heard about the latest twist on the Oz-verse, I had this idea for a dark and gritty sequel to the original Wizard Of Oz. I think I briefly eluded to it at some point on the blog, but never wrote about it for whatever reason, so I figure now is as good a time as any considering my last review subject. The idea was one I came up with in highschool, during that faze I tell myself every highschool aged boy goes through where you see everything through the most disturbing and perverted lens possible. My mission at the time, both generally and in terms of my creative process, was to take anything I could find that was considered good and wholesome and find a way to mold it into something awful. Here's what I got when I tackled a 1939 MGM family classic:

Warlords Of Oz

I'm working from my old notes here, so forgive me if some of the details don't make a lot of sense. Also, keep in mind that I've never read or seen Wicked, so any similarities are coincidental. The story begins during The Great Depression with a now teenaged or early twenty something Dorothy Gale living on her own in the city, her family dead, forced into prostitution to provide for herself. Her last friend in the world, an already aging Toto, is hit by a car, sending her to the point of suicide, when she looks out from the bridge and sees a tornado on the horizon. Everyone around her flees in terror, but to her, this phenomena represents hope and she runs towards it.

After a ride in an old car caught up in the wind, she finds herself once again in Oz, only this time in the wilderness. What was once the yellow brick road is now a dirt path, the bricks taken away, and along the way to familiar lands she happens upon one of the Wicked Witch's winged monkeys with a broken wing. She mends it and the creature begins to follow her, becoming her pet that she nicknames Toto.

She eventually finds her way to the Munchkin Village to find that the yellow bricks from the road have been repurposed into a massive wall fortifying the town into a makeshift fort. When they see Dorothy, the now strangely militant Munchkins let her inside, where she is greeted by the Scarecrow, now mayor of Munchkinville. He informs her that all is not well in Oz, that a despot has taken over the Emerald City, leading the Lollipop Guild to declare marshal law.

The events of the past few years in Oz have been the result of the Wizard's gifts given to Dorothy's three companions before he left, all of which turned out to be disastrous. It began with the Tin Man, whose clockwork heart only served as a ticking reminder that he will never be human, turning him bitter and hateful. He went to Glinda, now Empress of Oz, asking for her to use her magic to help him, but she refused, and in anger, he killed her and ate her heart, assuming both her magic powers and the throne. He has since rebuilt himself as a massive metal monstrosity and turned the Emerald City into a factory to produce an army of soulless tin men, as well as a mining operation with an as yet unknown purpose, from which he rules the rest of the land with a literally iron fist.

The Cowardly Lion took his bravery to heart, turning the crest given to him by the Wizard into a sigil and assuming his rightful place as King of the Forest, uniting the Lions, Tigers, and Bears into one coalition of savage man beasts. Now a muscle bound badass warrior, his constant need to prove himself has led to his horde cutting a swath of destruction across the land, his war with the Tin Man's forces being the only thing stopping them from laying waste to civilization so that their forests can expand.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the people of Munchkinville, their mayor for life The Scarecrow has secretly been corrupted by his new found intelligence. Though publicly he benefits the town through his various steampunk inventions, he conducts clandestine experiments involving kidnapped Munchkins, trying to build himself a flesh and blood body by stitching together the bodies of the dead, Frankenstyle (trademark, He built the machine to create the tornado between worlds and summon Dorothy, but not so that she could save them as he claimed, but instead to use her as his next host.

The Scarecrow works alongside Dorothy and a group of Munchkin marines on a plan to travel to the now abandoned castle of the Wicked Witch, to find dark magic they can use to defeat the Tin Man, and hopefully along the way convince the Lion to join his army to their cause, since the only way to the castle is through the Dark Forest. At first the Lion is reluctant, but after Dorothy proves herself in battle against an old enemy, the Crotchety Living Apple Tree, he agrees.

They eventually make it to the Wicked Witch's castle, which is now overrun by feral flying monkeys and those blue skinned Oh We Oh guys, who have returned to their old ways as a tribe of cannibals. Dorothy eventually makes it to the main chamber where the Witch died, and the Scarecrow tells her she must bathe in the ooze left behind by the melted Witch to assume her power (secretly needing her to have that power for him to take her body).

She does this, and after a psychic battle with the last remains of the Witch, the ooze seeps into her body and bonds with her like the Venom symbiote, giving her a vast array of magical powers and natural weaponry. With this power, she is able to bring the monkeys and Oh We Oh tribe under her control, adding them to her growing army. The Scarecrow, now revealed to be in league with the Tin Man, steals the Witches crystal ball.

Back at the Munchkin Village, the Scarecrow reveals his plan in an attempt to take Dorothy's body and eventually lead her army into a trap set by the Tin Man, but she thwarts his advances and he escapes with a small army of zombie scarecrow hybrids representing failed body switching experiments. The stage is set for the final battle between two forces for control of the land.

The two armies march against one another Lord of the Rings-style, one side made up of man beasts, talking trees, Oh We Oh guys, Munchkins, and flying monkeys, and the other made of up tin robots, scarecrow zombies, Warhorses of a Different Color, and the Borg-like cyber slaves that were once the loyal citizens of the Emerald City. Meanwhile, Dorothy, Toto, The Lion, and the Munchkin Marines infiltrate the Emerald Castle to take on the Tin Man himself.

They discover that the Tin Man's mining operation was built around his discovery of a vast Red Ruby deposit, from which he is attempting to amass enough of the mineral to break the boundaries between dimensions and send his army to conquer the human world. The Munchmarines (trademark, attempt to disable the machine built to open the portal, while Dorothy goes after the Scarecrow, and The Lion faces off against the Tin Man.

Dorothy's fight goes back and forth, until finally the Scarecrow seems to have the upper hand, but we don't see the end of the battle. The Lion leads the Tin Man away from his throne, which he had converted into a constant bath of oil, and the two old friends fight on a high cliff. The Lion is mortally wounded, and as he lays dying, he remarks about how far the Tin Man has come, at which point the despot vehemently defends his actions, until the Lion points out that he was talking about how far he'd come from his oil.

The Tin Man realizes that the exertion of the fight has left him drying out, and he turns to run back to his throne, only to be stopped by Dorothy, who holds up the Scarecrow's severed head and tosses it over the side. The two fight, but the Tin Man is slowing down, and eventually stops, pleading in vain for his oil can, at which point Dorothy pushes him off the cliff. She says a heartfelt goodbye to the dying Lion, who has finally proven his courage (which was called into question by the Tin Man, who pointed out that a crest is just a meaningless symbol), and he dies happily.

The Munchmarines were able to destroy the machine, but it rendered the Red Ruby deposit unstable, creating a countdown for the destruction of the entire castle. Up to this point, Dorothy has had the ghost of the Wicked Witch in her head ever since she assumed her powers. There has been a struggle for her humanity that Dorothy easily won, but as the group tries to escape, the Witch symbiote attempts to keep Dorothy in the castle so they will both finally die together. Dorothy tries to pull away from the Witch tethering herself to the broken machine, but can't, until Toto flies in, fights the Witch like a mad monkey, and both of them are sent barreling into the unstable Ruby mine, allowing Dorothy to escape at the last possible moment.
Like this, in reverse

The castle explodes, and the war has been one. Dorothy assumes her rightful place as new Queen of Oz and unites the various factions together to help rebuild the empire into the utopia it once was. As she looks out upon her kingdom, she realizes that this was always her home, and there's no place like it.

The Motherfucking End.

So...that was a thing. Hope you enjoyed it. Actually, you know what, go ahead and throw in Mombii and the Gump in there somewhere. And that fat little wind up dude. He was cool. Anyway, see you tomorrow. I think I need to go eat something...

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