I must admit that when I saw the early trailers for Oz the Great and Powerful, I did not have high hopes. I remember sitting at the D23 Expo and thinking to myself, “Really? Is this necessary?” The answer to the question is no, it isn’t necessary, but it’s a whole lot of fun.
For those unfamiliar, Oz the Great and Powerful serves as a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. Disney summarizes its plot as, “Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. At first he thinks he’s hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking. That all changes, however, when he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.”
The thing that stuck out most for me in this movie was actually the supporting characters. While the acting by the main four was great, I really enjoyed the character China Girl voiced by Joey King (Ramona and Beezus). Although she was not a main character, she totally stole the show for me. James Franco really did a great job as well. He is somewhat all over the place generally as far acting but I really think he nailed this role.
The score of the movie was quite good. Danny Elfman ventured away from Tim Burton to join up with Sam Raimi and the result was an enjoyable sound that had the Elfman feel but wasn’t overdone. The world of Oz was enhanced by the score and felt immersive rather than silly.
Overall, I really enjoyed this movie and feel it can be added to the Oz movie family without offending the diehard Wizard of Oz fans. I am interested to see how Disney will handle the potential for a sequel given the success of this movie. Personally, I think that if they did do a sequel I’d like to see it play out more like the books rather than a remake (though a remake would be difficult given rights issues). I’d give this movie a 3.75 out of 5. I definitely recommend a theatrical viewing and wouldn’t be opposed to purchasing it on blu-ray.
Have a Magical Day!