My oldest daughter and I went to see Oz: The Great and Powerful last weekend, and we both really enjoyed it. It was a fun romp through a familiar world over the rainbow, with great effects (we saw the 2-D version because I prefer 2-D, but I can imagine some of the 3-D effects must have looked great!) and touching performances throughout. Not as clever as the original books, not as cheesy as the classic Wizard of Oz movie, and not as perfect as Return to Oz (a personal favorite) but a brilliant Oz outing nonetheless and one I hope re-ignites the franchise and allows us to return to Oz again and again in years to come.
And wouldn't you know it - as it turns out, my favorite character in the movie just happens to be a doll!
Joey King (who also played young Talia Al-Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises) China Girl joins up with our band of merry travelers in much the same vein as Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and the Cowardly Lion do in the original story. And although she's made of porcelain and a little bit chipped and cracked, our little China Girl isn't nearly as helpless as she seems.
I won't give any of the story away, but I was holding back tears a few times; I think every father of girls feels like his daughters are fragile precious little China Dolls, so the character really hit me close to home.
Anyways, after the movie (and when my daughter wasn't around) I ran out and bought her the China Girl doll (by TollyTots, a division of Jakks Pacific) from Toys R Us to give her this Easter. The doll is plastic, not China, although there is a hundreds-of-dollars real China version out there in the world. This one retails for about $20 and is 'life size' and super cute, very well detailed with faux cracks and chips and looking like she stepped right off the movie screen.
My daughter and I had seen the doll in the store before the movie, so I know she'll like it. What I didn't know at the time was how sweet the character was and how much she'd touch my heart.
Go see the movie, you'll love it. Even if you just spend the time looking for little 'Sam Raimi' moments. I still don't know where he hid his Oldsmobile!
By the way, today is also said daughter's birthday, which is maybe why I'm being so mushy. Don't get used to it.
Finally, Happy birthday to my sweet little girl, who made me a daddy forever starting 11 years ago today.