When you attempt to make a sequel, prequel or remake a classic film, the critics will be out with talons, salivating to tear apart every aspect of the film. And when you tackle a movie as beloved as The Wizard Of Oz expect even more criticism. This of course does not stop Hollywood brass from doing all they can to make a buck based on former greatness.
The latest attempt to do so is Sam Raimi’s Oz The Great And Powerful. This is the prequel to The Wizard Of Oz. It is the story of how a traveling magician and illusionist Named Oscar (nicknamed Oz) is carried away to the magical land of Oz, much like Dorothy would be later on. Once he arrives in the land he is greeted by Theodora ,a witch who who thinks he is there to fulfill a prophecy and rule the land. She believes him to be a great wizard sent there to destroy a wicked witch that is ruling the land with an army of men and flying monkey’s. He sets out to kill the wicked witch to claim the fortune of the wizard as a reward. When he discovers Glinda, whom he believes to be the wicked witch, he finds out she is in fact the good witch. A power struggle ensues with the help of the good people of Oz leaving him in control of the Emerald City and the land of Oz.
James Franco’s performance feels a bit over the top and almost campy, while it may be intended it still seems to take away from the film just a bit. He is supposed to be a show business man and yet he is a bit of a con man as well. This does prove to be the weakest part of the film tho which is actually a positive thought.
The highlights performance wise are that of the three witches played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams. But the true star of the movie is the CGI and special effects, most notably that of Oz’s companions Finley and China Doll. The life like way Finley speaks and moves has set new bars in motion technology.
The story is quite predictable without it making the story seem to drag along. It is as entertaining as it could be when held up in comparison to The Wizard Of Oz. It explains some of the most loved parts of the original movie with a sense of new movie story telling. The dialogue and sense of humor that overlays the movie will keep young ones engaged as well adults. Also much like the original, do not be surprised if children are scared at certain aspects of the movie.
All that being said expect an entertaining and enjoyable movie that is visually stunning and an elegant ride that leads you straight into a classic story.