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'OzLand' would need a wizard to stretch thin premise

'OzLand' would need a wizard to stretch thin premise
Official trailer based on the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. (Shendopen)

There's no yellow brick road after the apocalypse in "OzLand." When a young man named Leif (Zach Ratkovich) finds a copy of "The Wizard of Oz," the book starts to inform his interpretation of reality, much to the chagrin of his companion Emri (Glenn Payne) as they wander in desolate fields.

As Leif continues to read, the lines are blurred between their world and the themes and characters of the book. Leif is unbelievably naive — childlike in a way that's hard to buy — but he's literate enough to devour the book. He thinks a pile of metal dust and scraps might be a real tin woman.

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As the two young men walk and talk from abandoned house to abandoned house, we learn a few nuggets of information about their old world, but they seem markedly removed from any recognizable culture. Oz is a total surprise to them.

The bright, saturated cinematography and minimalist guitar-based score by Keatzi Gunmoney are the greatest strengths of "OzLand," but they can't overcome the meandering story and stilted dialogue. The movie — directed, written, produced, shot and edited by Michael Williams — takes what could be an interesting concept for a short film and stretches it across 105 minutes. The ideas are not deep enough and the dramatic tension isn't real enough to sustain this feature.

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"OzLand"

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes.

Playing: Arena, Hollywood.

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