- By Garth Cremona On March 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm -

Oz The Great and Powerful

The Facts:

Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until 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.

Cast: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff
Director: Sam Raimi
Producer: Joe Roth
Executive Producers: Grant Curtis, Philip Steuer, Palak Patel
Written by: Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire (credit not final)
Cert: PG
Running Time: 130 mins
opens March 8th 2013


The Review.

I loved this film.  Had to start with that, from the moment the movie started until the credits finished at the end I LOVED THIS FILM.

Everything that you could want from a family movie and a prequel to one of the most loved movie classics is in here.  Oz The Great and Powerful is the perfect partner to The Wizard of Oz, nearly 85 years later Sam Raimi (who is now forgiven for Spider-man 3 in my book) gives us a beautiful and glorious look at the land of Oz.  Starting as the original did way back when in black and white, and showing the true character of the Wizard before going to Oz.  The movie shows that it is more than just pleasing to look at.  James Franco plays the part of the Wizard, a circus act, a performer, a conman and a womaniser.  A part he plays well filled with comedy and drama when each is required.  His escape from a angry husband in his balloon leads him to a tornado and then to Oz.

Once in Oz, the amazing visuals really begin, as the bright colours we remember from the Judy Garland original spring into life, this time with the aid of the amazing lads and ladettes in the VFX departments.  The Computer graphics all through the movie are first rate, and so is the 3D (I’m not a fan of 3D but credit where it is due) This was the second IMAX movie I’ve ever seen, the first being that Bruce Willis Movie a few weeks ago where he played a different character called John McClane ;)  I don’t know what different glasses they use for IMAX 3D than regular screen 3D but they should make them both the same.

Zach Braff makes his appearance in two small but pivitol roles and look out for the Little China Girl, who will just melt your heart.

The witches of the movie are played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams.  Each gives a strong performance in their roles and their costumes are lush and perfect.  The transformation that Kunis goes through in the movie is done so well that you be staring hard at the screen to see if it is actually her.

Downsides?  Well okay there are a few that I can overlook.  The movie can be dark in places, and young children will be terrified in a few spots, I know this as I was a little… and at two places in the film I did want to slap the Wizard.  But these were rare things.  The flying monkeys of Oz the Great and Powerful were frightening but amazingly designed, all the computer generated characters were above par.

Fans of Raimi, and I know there are plenty of those out there, will not be disappointed, yes this is billed as a children’s movie, but if you like the man that gave us Ash, and Drag Me to Hell then you’ll find something to love in this movie, even if it is the small role that our favourite square jawed friend named Bruce has, there is also the trusted musical montage that I remember from my favourite Raimi under appreciated classic Darkman, these little nods to the man who made two very good Spider-man movies furthered my love of this movie.

I can see in years to come that Oz the Great and Powerful will be a double header on Christmas day along with The Wizard of Oz.  Bring the family and go on a journey that will pleasantly assault your eyes and ears, and if you can get to an IMAX then go see it.  Remember that younger children may be frightened at some points through the movie, and some older people that shouldn’t be scared in movies by this stage will also have a little grip the armrest moment as well.  Beautiful and charming with great performances I can think of no better way to pass a couple of hours by going back to see this movie again… and again.






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