Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 28th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 2006
Approximate running time: 26mins
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Language: English & Vietnamese
Director: Ewan Telford
Screenplay: L. Frank Baum, Joseph Conrad, Michael Herr, Noel Langley, John Milius, Florence Ryerson, Ewan Telford, Edgar Allan Woolf
Cinematography: Kev Robertson
Cast: Billy Briggs, M.C. Gainey, Tammy Garrett, Alexandra Gizela, Kevin Glikmann, Jason ‘Hawke’ Hamilton, Amy Lyndon, Don Deforest Paul, Brian Poth, Jeremy Spinney
So what is Apocalypse Oz? It is short film that combines dialog and events from Apocalypse Now and The Wizard of Oz. The lead character is a teenage Asian American named Dorothy Willard who through a series of events is dispatched from her home in Kansas too track down and terminate a army colonel named “The Wizard” who went AWOL.
Since the beginning of cinema films have been adapted from novels and other source material and in more recent times it has become more fashionable to for directors to pay homage to films they love by incorporating ideas, dialog or complete scenes into their own feature. In just a mere twenty six minutes Apocalypse Oz accomplishes and covers more ground then most feature films. There is no fat this short is lean and mean with moment wasted.
One minor complaint about this short that I do have is that you have two of cinema’s most timeless films Apocalypse Now and The Wizard of Oz. There is just some much great material to work with between these two films. It would have been cool if somehow between these two films a complete feature film could have been constructed.
Visually Apocalypse Oz is a feast for the eyes with its strong primary colors and sweeping photography that totally immerses you in the world that has been created. Besides using dialog and moments from Apocalypse Now and The Wizard of Oz this film also makes excellent use of their soundtracks by creating a brand new tapestry of heavenly sounds. The use of dialog from Apocalypse Now and The Wizard of Oz is done in creative and often cleaver ways that are always enjoyable.
Using dialog or moments from some of cinema’s most memorable films can be a double edge sword and finding actors/actresses to deliver the dialog without sounding hokey or absurd is a challenge un to itself. Who ever cast this film did a fantastic job as every actor/actress chosen for this project are simply amazing.
Cast in the films lead role as Dorothy Willard is actress Alexandra Gizela whose youthful appearance perfectly embodies the role. She immediately proves she was the right choose fro this pivotal role that holds the film together when she steals a red car appropriately named Ruby and then looks over at a dog barking at her who she then proceeds to blow away with her pistol. The other stand out role is that of Dorothy’s nemesis “The Wizard” who is played by veteran actor M.C. Gainey who has starred in such films like Con Air and The Dukes of Hazzard movie. He lives up to his type casting with imposing figure and bad guy persona. He makes good use of his limited screen time.
I watch literally hundreds pf movies a year and while most to seems to follow the same path every now and then something comes along the catches my attention. Apocalypse Oz is one of handful of films that I saw this year that really affirmed why I love cinema so much. Going into this film I had my doubts that anyone could possible make a film that combined Apocalypse Now and The Wizard of Oz. Now that I have had the pleasure to watch Apocalypse Oz I can say that it is without the an amazing film that stands firmly in its own right apart from the two films that it pays homage to too and that if anyone wants to see a truly unique film unlike anything that you have ever seen or are likely to ever see again then do yourself a favor and check out Apocalypse Oz.
For more information about Apocalypse Oz visit the official website here.