11.12.2005

Apocalypse Oz

Ewan Telford has developed a film of incendiary proportions. “Apocalypse Oz” is a mixture of Francis Ford Coppola and Victor Fleming with thick metaphors and psychology.

Telford’s “Apocalypse Oz” is a dark comedy bordering cheesy and lined with mawkish connotations of a well-known childhood favorite, “The Wizard of Oz” (1939). Telford utilizes “The Wizard of Oz” plotline and characters and manipulates the storyline from “Apocalypse Now” to formulate the mission of Dorothy Willard as she seeks out The Wizard with the ultimate goal of assassination. The stakes are high and the story dense with psychology as Telford reveals The Wizard is in fact Dorothy’s father who left young Dorothy to live with her abusive aunt and uncle, unfolding an intricate web of resentment and retribution.

What’s most impressive about the story development is the broad spectrum of metaphorical possibilities this film offers. There are political and social commentaries that are sly and witty; the metaphors covertly reside in dialog and subtly in scenery and action. Of course, the story itself lends to an in-depth psychological exploration of Dorothy Willard, a social deviant who blames her current conditions on her father and the past. However, Dorothy is not a trustworthy protagonist; her perception of the world is black and white. When she enters the world of color, she rejects her revelations and returns full circle to her personal nightmare.

Telford’s work appears anything but amateur, and effectively portrays the desire to escape through powerful auditory effects. In the beginning, sound dominates the scene, creating a sense of anxiety and rebellion that emphasizes Dorothy’s plight. In fact, one way to interpret this film is similar to a dream: everyone in the dream concerns the dreamer directly; the dream is the dreamer.

The acting is the weakest element of the film; the actors lack charisma and consistency; at times Dorothy doesn’t convey her fierce attitude. Rather, she loses strength behind her voice and comes across as shy, leaving her punk attitude to convey nothing more than a façade. The most enjoyable character is the greeter and gate keeper – similar to the gates of Oz – with his country-bumpkin dialect and innocent, naïve disposition.

The roughly finished screener already surprises and amazes me, and the finished product, with perfected sound and special effects will certainly not disappoint. In fact, I predict “Apocalypse Oz” will hit be a cinematic explosion in the independent short film arena.

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