AFTER THE WIZARD, based on characters in L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is the story of a 12-year-old Kansas orphan who turns to the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman for help during a difficult time. She imagines things have not gone well in Oz since the Wizard left and that the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman must travel to Kansas to enlist Dorothy’s aid. The film, distributed by Philadelphia-based Breaking Glass Pictures, has been released on DVD coinciding with its theatrical release in selected cities.
Here's the trailer:
Kendall and I watched the modern, though timeless take on what might have happened after Dorothy got back to Kansas, and we thought it was pretty cute. It reminded us of a Hallmark movie; the characters were endearing, and the story was engaging.
The actors were well-chosen; Dorothy is played by young Jordan Vanvranken (who also had a role in Bad Teacher) and she was really great. I especially liked the role of Mrs. Murphy, the orphanage matron; she was stern, yet compassionate, an interesting character. The "wizard" character, too, was also wonderful. Anyone looking forward to seeing the Cowardly Lion again will be disappointed; he plays only a cameo role (and is a little scary--reminded me of KISS), but the Tinman and Scarecrow characters were entertaining and lovable. The flying monkeys were pretty disappointing, to be honest (They're people dressed up in lame costumes.), but maybe they're less scary this way; I'm sure little kids won't notice or care. If you're looking for impressive special effects or A-list actors, you won't find them in this low-budget film, but you will find a heartwarming story that you and your kids will appreciate.
After the Wizard would be a perfect movie for any family library, but also a school classroom or library, since it would be very useful for teaching themes; the plot is well-planned, and the movie would be a great tool for comparing/contrasting two stories.
There is an obvious influence of an animal rights activist agenda in part of the film (which I found odd and annoying). I also thought it ridiculous that the kids in an orphanage practice a tornado drill in which they walk single-file to a school more than a half-mile away, but that's the real-world teacher in me. That said, Kendall and I think After the Wizard is a pretty cute movie and a good way to entertain the kids this summer.