When I was a kid I loved the movie The Wizard of Oz and watched it every time it came on. It was good on my little black and white TV, but when I got to see it in color it was amazing. Then I got older, more cynical, and stop watching it. No longer fascinated with the yellow brick road or the opulence of the emerald city. So needless to say I went into Oz the Great and Powerful expecting it to be decent, it was after all directed by Sam Raimi, what I didn’t expect was it to be as awe inspiring as the original.
Oz the Great and Powerful is not the tale of Dorothy, instead it’s the tale of how the great wizard of Oz came to be. But that doesn’t mean that this movie has no connection to the original movie that we have all come to know and love. Raimi borrows some of the same filming styles from the original and updates them, yet still embraces the simplicity of the original. It’s almost how you would imagine the creators of the Wizard of Oz movie would have done if they had of possessed the technology. And Oz, the land of Oz is beautiful. The bright vibrant colors, the mix of the familiar and the foreign, a complete world building that was lacking from the original movie. I saw it in 2D but this is probably the first movie I would’ve loved to see in 3D.
The storytelling, much like the original, lags in a couple places, but it really doesn’t matter. It all helps you along the way to the great conclusion. That and the characters, and the actors who play them, are so dynamic that you quickly forget the slow parts.
I’ll get to the wizard in a minute but first, Mila Kunis. She was amazing as Theodora. She pours so much character into this role. A role that has the most overall drastic changes from beginning to end. I really wouldn’t have pegged her for this, even after seeing her in the Black Swan, but I would’ve been very wrong.
Oz, the wizard not the land, played by James Franco goes through some changes as well, granted not as drastic as Theodora. Franco’s easy yet vulnerable acting style works well for the character, even if he is out-shined at times by the rest of the cast. I’m still debating if I wanted him more over the top at the beginning or not.
Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams are also good as Evanora and Glinda but really they are overshadowed by Kunis.
If you are a fan of The Wizard of Oz you will love this movie. If you are not then you will probably enjoy the visuals, some of the acting but find the story a bit simple. But don’t be too cynical, it’s only make believe.