The Wiz is a 1978 American musical adventure film adaptation of the 1974 Broadway musical of the same name directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Richard Pryor, Mabel King, and Lena Horne.
Despite being a critical and commercial failure upon its release, it has since been considered a cult classic among African American audiences, Oz enthusiasts, and fans of Michael Jackson.
Dorothy is a shy kindergarten teacher living with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry in Harlem. One day, she and her dog, Toto are swept away in a blizzard to the magical land of Oz. She is told that she has to go find the Wiz in the Emerald City who can help her get back home. Along the way, she comes across the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, who also need help from the Wiz.
- Several unneeded changes to the original play and the source material itself (ex: making Dorothy an adult, having her live in New York instead of Kansas).
- Diana Ross as Dorothy. Diana Ross is not a bad actress, but she Dorothy is supposed to be little girl, not a grown woman.
- Nipsey Russell gets to sing. He shouldn't. The Nostalgia Critic said instead of a heart, he should ask the Wiz for a singing voice.
- Michael Jackson gets one solo song without dancing. That's a huge waste of his talent.
- Unnecessary wide and distant shots. The most famous song scene "Ease on Down the Road" is shot from a distance and the camera is pointed at the actors' backs.
- Some poor set designs.
- Too many songs (though some are good).
- There's a huge anticlimactic moment where Dorothy pulls the fire alarm and the sprinkler system takes the Wicked Witch out. Seriously?
- There's a dark moment where the Wicked Witch tortures Dorothy's friends that does not fit with the overall tone of the movie.
- The movie give away who the Wiz is too early.
- Director Sidney Lumet is better at directing dramas rather than musicals.
- The Tin Man's crying is really creepy.
- Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor, Ted Ross, Mabel King, and Lena Horne give good performances.
- Some of the songs are good.
- There are no African American stereotypes.
- The Wiz Musical Hell Review 39
Musical Hell's review