In my review of “Oz the Great and Powerful,” I mentioned that one of the things that rubs me the wrong way is the character of Theodora, played by Mila Kunis.
If you haven’t seen the movie yet and wish to remain unspoiled, you might want to stop reading here.
When Oscar “Oz” Diggs (James Franco) crash-lands in the faraway, magical, colorful land known as Oz, the first person he meets is Theodora. She reveals that she’s a witch, and it appears that she’s a good witch.
She’s even wearing cool leather pants and a dashing red jacket – kind of a departure from the long, flowy gowns women wear in these types of stories. Score one.
But after one night with the charming Oz, Theodora immediately gets clingy and decides they’re going to spend the rest of their lives together. After all, he’s the long-awaited Wizard of Oz, a.k.a. the king, they’ve been expecting, and she’ll be his queen. They’ll rule over Oz together, and everything will be wonderful.
Oz being Oz, he doesn’t exactly go for that idea. He wants the riches and power, but he’s too much of a ladies’ man to stick with one woman for the rest of his life. When he rebuffs her, Theodora goes ballistic, starts throwing fireballs, and eventually turns into that putrid green Wicked Witch we know from “The Wizard of Oz” (though due to rights issues, Mila Kunis’ green is much prettier than Margaret Hamilton‘s green, but that’s a matter for another story).
Frankly, the fact that Theodora would go nuts after a mild flirtation gone wrong — to the point of turning evil and terrorizing Oz FOREVER! — doesn’t exactly bode well for the female set. Plus it sends the wrong message to young girls.
Sure, fairy tales have historically gone the route of women needing a big strong man to protect and rescue them. Only recently did Disney start delivering strong princesses like Merida, the free-spirited, independent archer from “Brave”; Rapunzel, the fearless explorer from “Tangled”; and Mia Thermopolis, Anne Hathaway‘s princess who decides she doesn’t need a man to run the kingdom of Genovia in “The Princess Diaries.”
With a chance to re-imagine the beginnings of the great land of Oz, it seems like they missed a perfect opportunity to flesh out the character of Theodora beyond the “woman scorned” role. I guess they needed some reason to turn her into the Wicked Witch, but couldn’t it have been something besides being shunned by Oscar Diggs?
On the other hand, I love Michelle Williams‘ character Glinda, who’s strong and wise, even as she’s still very feminine and gentle. She kind of made the movie for me.
What do you think? Am I expecting too much from the story? Are you ok with Theodora turning evil because of a man?