I watched the remake for The Wizard of Oz entitled – The Wiz not too long ago. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the original, but I thought seeing Michael Jackson as Scarecrow might be entertaining. I was not prepared for what my mind picked out of the movie. I’m not sure if it’s just that I’m older now and can appreciate the plot in a much bigger way or what, but when I finished watching this movie I thought, “This isn’t the film I remember.”
Here’s what stood out differently to me. Perhaps you will see it as well.
In the beginning Dorothy is scared and lonely, but desires more. She’s never been outside of her small neighborhood and tells others and herself she has no desire. This is a false statement and her lies lead her to try to avoid life, until life finds HER. Her dog runs off into a storm and she decides to face the danger and run after. Magically she is another land that is not her HOME.
Dorothy’s killed the Witch of the East. Here she’s met by One, who tells her where to go. There are huge numbers on the set – 1 through 4. These all indicate the journey of self-discovery that lies in store for Dorothy… a foreshadowing if you will. She speaks with One, gathers Two, defeats Three, and realizes Four. That isn’t discussed in the movie, so let me explain.
The Land of Oz and it’s inhabitants are all inside of Dorothy’s mind. This isn’t a trip to another world, but a trip through Dorothy, about Dorothy. All the characters she meets are somehow a personified extension of her. The Scarecrow stands on a CROSS, unable to get down – but only because he believes he can not do it on his own. The Crows keep him there with their propaganda song that defeats his wishes for freedom. He feels like he has no brain, but as the group’s journey continues away from his old post he is full of knowledge and insight. He had brains all along – along with the Lion and his courage or the Tin Man and his heart. These things that they BELIEVED that they lacked they possessed ALL along. Their disbelief caused them to seek an outside force, the Great and Powerful Oz, to fix their problems FOR them.
Their journey ends with them defeating an evil witch, discovering the Wizard is a fraud, and then building up their own self-worth.
I venture to say that the Wizard is a part of Dorothy too, along with the Wicked Witch. The Wizard is the icon that the world tells her to turn to. That idol will change with time, but ultimately it is hollow because it does not come from within. Who knows… in time, Dorothy could have become the next Wiz… had she played her cards differently. I don’t think that was her style, but I also think a different person might take advantage of the opportunity.
The Witch is the fearful FIRE that burns us, corralling us into submission or controlling us outright. She is our EGO, which at times can flatter, telling us we are indestructible gods and at others times insignificant subjects powerless to her Fiery Rule. Only WATER could extinguish her and bring Oz back into balance. And for US water is the knowledge that EGO can be altered. Change can happen if we allow it to. Water is the wisdom to see when change is needed and face it.
After meeting Glenda, The Good Witch, Dorothy sees that she could have returned HOME anytime, but just didn’t KNOW she had the power. So in a click of heels, with her words spoken with intent, she was whisked back to reality a CHANGED woman.
I think The Wiz taught me something this time, as I watched it. It sang a message which said that we are all on a journey. We are all in Oz without the knowledge of it. The power inside to make change happen, to break free from our restraints and face our fears exists in us all. We are all capable of great achievements, if only we take the steps outside our comfort zone to make them. Each of us is filled with wisdom, compassion, bravery, and power, we just fail to see it or we allow the Crows to sing their songs and we believe their lies. Each of us are capable of so much more. We need only stumble upon our own Oz, the undiscovered country which fills us and satiates our souls.