I remember being stymied by this one…even back in the day. WOO references are surprisingly sparse. Considering the film’s light subject matter and the fact that it’s clearly aimed to appeal to children—right down to corny quips and jokes— why does Spielberg hold back as if it were a more serious work? Due to tense action throughout and spectacular creatures/special effects, I wonder if WOO cuteness wasn’t sacrificed in editing to retain the film’s overall integrity?
The helicopter’s descent into the island park goes straight down from above, the same vertical path Dorothy and the Wizard had to brave to get into Oz. An aerial transportation between levels of consciousness or reality is an oft-used medium in Spielberg films, most memorably Joe and Patricia’s leap of faith. Joe vs. the Volcano, Twister, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, War of the Worlds, Super 8, Always.
The park’s gates at beginning of the ride, complete with torches, bring to mind the gates to Witch’s castle. Beware ye who enter here…you may get trapped. See Amistad, Lost World of Jurassic Park
One of the first magical sights you see happens to be the giant eggs hatching. Similar size and shape eggs hatch into Munchkins as Dorothy explores her new world.
When the two archeologists realize the gentleman they have been so rude to is actually a benefactor ready to sponsor their project, watch Laura Dern make a belated bob of a curtsey…at least sort of… considering she’s wearing jeans. Dorothy executes similar belated courtesy to Professor Marvel as she tries to butter him up to take them along to see crowned heads of Europe etc.
Grandkids have red and blonde hair. See Sugarland Express. Is this a muted tribute to Steven’s penchant for WOO’s favorite colors, red and yellow? See Schindler’s List, Jaws, 1941, Joe vs. the Volcano, Twister, Inner Space.