Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Zach Braff
Oz, the Great and Powerful is a fun and visually fantastic tribute to the one and only Wizard of Oz (1939). It is a prequel and tells the story of how Oz (James Franco) became the ruler of the very land that has the same name. It starts off showing Oz as a phony magician who works for a traveling circus, making his living off of bogus tricks and illusions. He soon finds himself being swept away to the wonderful land of Oz in none other than a good ole’ tornado. Once there, he meets Theodora ( Mila Kunis), a witch, who infers that he is the wizard who is destined to save the land of Oz and become king, as according to the late King’s prophecy. Oz, with the understanding that being king comes with extraordinary riches, promptly agrees to becoming the new ruler of the land of Oz. Only one problem, he must defeat the wicked witch in order to become king. On his way to become king, he comes along a faithful side-kick monkey ( Zach Braff) and a China Girl (Joey King) who assist along the way. In his journey, he comes across flying banshees, winkies, munchkins, tinkers, and more and discovers that even though he may not be the wizard everybody was hoping for, he can still be the one that they need.
Oz, the Great and Powerful is a respectful prequel to the 1939 classic. Raimi has created a world that isn’t just to be watched, but experienced, especially in 3D. There were definite nods to the original, such as the beginning being shown in classic black and white until we land in Oz where colors and special effects thrive and surround the audience. James Franco was absolutely gushing of sleazy yet lovable con man who is searching for the inner good in himself. Mila Kunis was excellently scary as the good witch gone bad and I have to say that my favorite character had to be Zach Braff’s as the adorable monkey who kept things comedic and lighthearted. The story was good enough to connect everything together to the original and keep us interested. All in all, if you are fan of the classic then this movie will not disappoint. Raimi did a wonderful job creating a dream-like universe that pulls you in and keeps you in awe, along with putting together a wonderful cast full of personality.