Recently I watched for the first time Oz the Great and Powerful (2013). One of my favorite movies of all time is The Wizard of Oz (1939), so in watching Oz I noticed a bunch of similarities between the movies, as well as fun and clever throwbacks!
Characters & Scenes
One of Dorothy's most famous lines is "We must be over the rainbow!" In Oz, they didn't explicitly say he went over the rainbow, but in the scene where his balloon is first entering the land of Oz, he floats right by a rainbow :)
When Dorothy first lands in Munchkinland, they show big sweeping shots of huge colorful flowers. Same thing when Oscar (Oz) floats in.
The outfit for the monkey Finley in Oz was obviously based off those silly blue flying monkeys in Wizard!
This Winkie guard in Oz had very similar facial hair to one of the Emerald City guards in Wizard.
The green makeup on these wicked witches in unmistakeable!
Glinda floats around in a bubble.
Glinda (Michelle Williams) obviously took lessons on proper wand holding from Glinda (Billie Burke).
Both wicked witches throw balls of flame generated by cocking back their arm.
Typical wizard hat, I guess.
The green background, fireballs, smoke, and projection are spot-on in Oz!
Glinda conjuring snowflakes to ward off poppy smells and Glinda conjuring white fog to ward off poppy smells.
Both had a scene with a lion jumping down from a high rock.
The Yellow Brick Road starts in the same type of spiral.
This shot is of the characters' very first view of the Emerald City, and both are magnificent.
The long, repetitive corridor that leads to the Wizard's throne room.
The dark forest / haunted forest is creepy.
The Wicked Witch of the West uses red smoke; the wizard of Oz uses red smoke.
The wicked witch likes to show up in a big puff of fire.
Words & Actions
Both of our characters from Kansas "fell from the sky."
Surprise that the pretty lady is also a witch.
Stereotypes about ugly witches.
Both wicked witches spy on things with their massive crystal ball viewers.
Glinda makes a point to tell everyone that the wicked witch is gone now.
Black smoke tails from the wicked witches' brooms.
Apparently this is the proper way to control your flying monkeys: by reaching out your hands and yelling "FLY!"
Pretty character's friends making sure she gets a gift, too.
Pretty character isn't expecting any gifts.
Obviously foreshadowing is a common storytelling technique used in books and movies. These three from The Wizard of Oz I picked up on even when I was young. Scarecrow:
I didn't notice this one from Oz the Great & Powerful until I watched the intro again! It's a dancing couple (Theodora & Oz) that briefly turns into the shadow of the wicked witch, while overlaid with "Mila Kunis." If I didn't know who was supposed to be evil before watching (and I didn't), this intro screen should have gave it away.
Oz tells Annie that he'll see her in his dreams, and then when they first meet in Oz the scene almost repeats.
This little girl from the magic show audience begs for Oz to cure her so she can walk. Oz fumbles and then gets boo'd off stage. Later he gets to help the China Girl glue her legs back on so she can walk (PS: the same actress plays both parts).
The carnival in Oz is called "Baum Bros. Circus" and his assistant's name is Frank. (After L. Frank Baum, the author of the original Wizard of Oz books.)
Dorothy Gale / John Gale. Coincidence?
Oz calls Frank "a trained monkey" as Frank is carrying his bag. Later Oz gets a real trained monkey assistant who also carries his bag (same actor plays both parts).
Oz tells Frank he's not his friend. Later in Oz, he tells Finley they ARE friends. Happy endings all around.
Are these horses grazing in the pasture in Oz "horses of a different color?" They definitely look multicolored!
Lion says "somebody pulled my tail" and Finley says "something's got my tail!"
This little scene is so unmistakeable! The wicked witch grabbing red powder to do some magic. Both have a mortar & pestle, and they even remembered the hour glass!
Snow wakes everybody up.
Grabbing on to each other so nobody falls down!
In Oz, Theodora screams with pain when her first teardrops fall.
Later in the movie, her cheeks show scars from where her tears seared her face!
Annie is wearing gingham, just like Dorothy's iconic dress.
Close-up shot of sparkly shoes!
PS: Some of these similarities might simply be because they're both based on the same books. Since I haven't read all the books in the series and haven't read The Wizard of Oz in a long time, my observations here are strictly from just the films. I'm glad Disney made clever little mentions to the 1939 film! I'm glad they didn't just think they could create something better. Nothing will ever be better than the original :)