Finally engaged in the postmodern exercise, the great artistic hybrid, that fusing of The Wizard of Oz with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon that everyone talks about and about which they all basically say the same thing: yeah, it’s pretty cool. And yeah, it is. Giles Martin, after remixing the Beatles’ catalog to create the Love album, said he felt as if he’d drawn a mustache on the Mona Lisa. That’s tantamount to what you do when you take the beautiful new Blu-ray remaster of The Wizard of Oz, replete with tiny celluloid grains on a 50″ 1080p LCD, and channel Mobile Fidelity’s gold disc of Dark Side through your father-in-law’s audiophile system. It is a crime to watch/listen to these masterpieces of the 20th century at such quality simultaneously, when you probably have never watched/listened to them at that quality independent of one another. But postmodernism is a crime in which we all must wallow in order to live, so it’s best to sin, as Luther himself charged us, “boldly.” There are lots of highlights, delightfully coincidental of course, in this experience. “The lunatic is on the grass…got to keep the loonies on the path” just when Scarecrow stumbles from the green grass to the Yellow Brick Road. “Home, home again. I like to be here, when I can,” just as Dorothy wakes up in Kansas after the mantra “there’s no place like home.” Best of all, though, has to be the ka-ching of the cash register in “Money” just as Dorothy opens the door of her fallen house and looks out into the colorful world of Munchkin Land. The images take on completely different meaning even more than the music does; the original soundtrack is rendered mute, overlaid with something new and giving more “volume” to the images themselves; while the music gains more power than it had before by dominating the images. Aside from the fascinating and absurd coincidences of lyric and music with narrative image, the overall effect of this arranged marriage transcends simple arithmetic. Simple addition of one of the greatest popular music albums of the century with one of the greatest visual spectacles of the same century doesn’t add up; there is a curious surplus when music is overlaid with image. It takes on something unique, which is presumably what postmodernism has tapped into. If the author is dead, we can re-author every text we can get our hands on (and in the case of many, smoke pot while they do it). Ultimately it’s good for little else than a good time and cultural immersion, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Dark Side of Oz: Gaze Into the Crystal