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The Wiz Review

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Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Richard Pryor travel through an altogether more urban Oz in a drastic reimagining of L. Frank Baum's classic musical.

★★★★★

The Wizard Of Oz as musical — no, not Wicked, but this decidedly ’70s African-American-infused rethink of L. Frank Baum’s Yellow Brick Road trip that bizarrely fuses New York and the Emerald City. If that sounds crazy, it is. A 34 year-old Diana Ross as Dorothy? Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow? Richard Pryor as the Wizard?? Come to think of it, that’s a pretty snazzy line-up, especially if you add the impeccable Quincy Jones giving some kick to the soundtrack.

Spinning the tale over an interminable 134 minutes, the calamity seems to stem from director Sidney Lumet, the king of gritty New York policiers, working from a debut script by Joel Schumacher, who somehow manages to make Jacko, Ross and a funk-gospel otherworld New York seem ponderous and dull. Which takes some doing.

This lengthy funk-gospel Wizard Of Oz makeover deserves points for effort but none for execution

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