Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Mitchell Capner and
David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay)
Frank L. Baum, The Wonderful World of Oz
James Franco Oz
Mila Kunis Theodora
Rachel Weisz Evanora
Michelle Williams Annie-Glinda
Zack Braff Frank/Finley
Bill Cobbs Master Tinker
Seldom do I see a movie where I want to just remain in my seat and see the next show--and the next, until the theater staff tells me it's time to go home. Among those are ET and The Princess Bride.
I was predestined to either love or hate this movie. I've been an Oz junkie since I was three or four. The film would come on television every year about Halloween time and after the first, I was prepared. I sat down spellbound with my Welch's grape juice and my popcorn and not even my father, who usually had ultimate control of the television, dared complain. When I got older, and leaned that The Wizard of Oz was based on a set of books by Frank L. Baum, I found them in the library and read them all. And yes, I've read Gregory Maguire's take on Oz as well. I've seen Wicked from near the front and loved the musical.
No, I don't have any snow globes or Oz dolls in costume...I do own the remastered Blu-Ray where I realized to my utter shock that the opening scenes of The Wizard of Oz were not black and white as I originally believed, they were sepia!
Tony and I were there on opening night for Oz The Great and Powerful. We went on a matinee with hope in our hearts. And, yes, I could have stayed until the theater shut down. I want to see the film at least once more before it goes off the big screen--maybe at a theater with better sound and visual resolution. I'll own the movie--and I might even splurge for some swag if they have the right Christmas ornament.
Oz opened in Kansas with a carnival charlatan seducing a young woman to be his assistant. Enter Oz, the wizard. The only reason he gets in the hot air balloon in the middle of an impending tornado is because the young woman he was about to seduce was another's girl and he was about to receive a well-deserved beat down.
After some peril, Oz lands in Oz and learns he is the wizard that was foretold of. Then the magickal politicking begins. Theodora and Evanora, the sisters, are trying to get him on their side so he can kill the Wicked Witch by breaking her magic wand.
Then, he meets Glinda and realizes who he needs to side with. As she tells him, "Perhaps you are not the wizard I expected, but you are the wizard we need."
There's a lot to love about this film. Of course, it pays homage to the original WOZ by beginning with the mundane world in black and white. (Might have preferred sepia, but I'm not quibbling) The casting was excellent. James Franco is a perfect scapegrace with devastatingly brilliant ideas.
One change I really appreciated was that in the original Oz the only color aside from Caucasian we saw was green. This modern Oz is integrated and the folks join together for a common cause.
Love seeing more evidence of steampunk's influence. Baum and Wells certainly were the original steampunk inspiration. It's good to see the Tinkers working--and tie in how Oz appears in the original film.
Yes, we will go back to see this film in the theater and we're definitely going to own the Blu-Ray. I'm excited about the possibility of sequels. I hope they film quickly, because they do not want to lose a single member of this cast.
Rebecca McFarland Kyle, March 2013