‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ Review – Welcome To The Wonderful World of Oz
Sam Raimi’s Oz The Great and Powerful is one of the movies I was most looking forward to this year. I love fantasy and magical films, so Oz The Great and Powerful couldn’t be more up my alley. Plus after watching the beautiful trailer, I was in.
So of course the last test was actually seeing the movie and I tried to keep my expectations in check, but I won’t lie, I was pretty giddy when I went to see it. So what’s the verdict you say? Well, before I tell you my thoughts, let me first tell you what the movie is all about.
Oz The Great and Powerful is a prequel or origins story to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and more particularly the character of the Wizard. The movie follows Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician who gets transported to the Land of Oz during a storm (sound familiar?). When he lands there he is offered a proposition he can’t refuse. His adventures lead him to meet three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who will forge his destiny and lead him to become the infamous Wizard of Oz we all know.
Ok, so now I can say it? I loved the movie, I found it absolutely beautiful visually and story wise. With a movie like this, so much relies on the visuals and transporting the audience to another world full of wonders and incredible creatures. The film begins in black and white and in the familiar oldies 4:3 ratio (the screen is square like your old TV set) only to be expended into glorious colors and the conventional 16:9 widescreen.
But the beginning is not just an homage to the original The Wizard of Oz movie, it also serves in giving us a background to the character and have an attachment to them as well, so that when you meet Zach Braff’s Finley the Flying Monkey, you feel a connection to him not just because he’s adorable, but because you first met him as Frank, Oscar’s likable circus assistant.
And then we get to Oz and it’s stunning! Director Sam Raimi brings us to this incredible land and when you first look at it you almost wish you could go there… that is until you meet the evil flying monkeys… let’s just say they’re no Finley.
I don’t want to talk too much about the story in Oz because 1) you probably already know enough 2) it’s more fun to experience it for yourself. But I do want to mention the performances and more particularly Mila Kunis. This has to be my favorite performance from her. I always enjoy watching her, but there was something that particularly touched me this time around. To me she outshined everyone else. But the rest of the cast is also really wonderful. Michelle Williams is so darling as Glinda, the part fit her perfectly. In fact, I hope they do a remake of The Wizard of Oz so we can see her as Glinda once more. Rachel Weisz completes the trio by bringing her own touch to a character we might not know too much about. And of course James Franco couldn’t shine more in the part of a trickster magician.
The story, performances and visuals were mended together in an absolutely delightful film and if you enjoy fantasy films like I do or are just a fan of The Wizard of Oz, you’ll love it.
Finally, I should mention that the movie is in 3D and while it never really adds anything to my enjoyment, I wanted to talk about the opening credit which I found particularly lovely and in this case the 3D really added to their enjoyment. So definitely keep an eye out for that.
So if you’re looking for great escapism this weekend, look no further and make sure to go see Oz The Great and Powerful, which is out in theaters today, March 8th.