If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how the Wizard of Oz came to be, you’re curiosity may now be dispelled. What awaits you, unfortunately, is a rather tedious affair with a lack of the Land of Oz’s charm and oddity.
Sam Raimi joins the ranks of directors who have taken old magic, in this case perhaps somewhat literally, and meddled with the potion with CGI to conjure up any stardust and big names to captivate semi-intrigued eyes.
James Franco is Oscar Diggs, the archetypal American trickster with a charming grin and a smart hat to boot, who finds himself sucked into a storm and dumped in the mystical land our forebears adored. There he finds witches in the form of the good Mila Kunis and the bad Rachel Weisz, both alluring and resolute, and Zach Braff who plays the winged monkey.
The story so unfolds that the simple folk of Oz believe Oscar ‘Oz’ Diggs to be the saving grace of their otherwise plagued land, though of course he is but a mere mortal, which brings about problems.
The presence of the Wicked Witch of the East, Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and the gradual transformation of the initially good witch, Theodora (Mila Kunis), into the West’s wicked counterpart is a good touch – as is the inclusion of a lion and the dramatic realisation of how Oz’s large, smoky face came to be that Dorothy and her friends finally come across at the end of this instalment’s supposed sequel.
Oz the Great and Powerful might appeal to a young, Dorothyless audience who might consider delving into the Land of Oz. But there is a lack of magic in Raimi’s journey and ultimately a degree too far of a dismissive lack of servitude to the original.
The casting is spot on, as is some of the brilliant colour and transposition from black and white. The story itself however, is not a commendable enough tribute and the original character and wit has been forgotten.
Director: Sam Raimi
Produced by: Joe Roth
James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Zach Braff, Michelle Williams, Joey King
Running time: 130 minutes
- Joshua Barrie
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