Oz the Great and Powerful is a fresh, exhilarating fantasy adventure, loosely based on the 1900 novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz. Oz the Great and Powerful tells the story of how the Wizard first came to Oz, and the trouble he finds himself in. Directed by Sam Raimi (The Spiderman Trilogy) and offering everything a fan could want from the original story, Oz the Great and Powerful stars James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Zach Braff in a fascinating tale of magic and the fight for good.
Oz the Great and Powerful begins with the same classic black-and-white format as the original “Oz”, while setting Oscar Diggs (Franco) in Kansas as the conniving and questionably ethical, circus magician looking for greatness. When Oscar must escape the trouble he finds himself in, his hot air balloon is lost in a tornado. After surviving the tornado, Oscar discovers a world he has never seen before, the Land of Oz. While in Oz, Oscar meets three witches, Theodora (Kunis), Evanora (Weisz), and Glinda (Williams), and he must choose between good and evil, and whether or not to save Oz from a great darkness. As his journey in Oz hits its climax, Oscar puts on the greatest act of his life using his bag of tricks, illusion, and ingenuity, transforming himself into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.
During his adventure, Oscar tangles with creatures such as talking and flying monkeys, mischievous witches, cheerful munchkins, and all that the wonderful Land of Oz has to offer. These creatures are only the beginning of the magic, special effects, and visuals this film has to offer. These techniques create a stunning experience in a fairy-tale or animated type presentation. Although there are several scenes or effects that don’t look completely real, Oz the Great and Powerful features computer-generated special effects and visualizations that take you on a wild ride.
Given its youthful content and quirkiness of the characters, the actors of Oz the Great and Powerful had to go all in on their performances. James Franco plays a funny, selfish, witty, wizard, while Michelle Williams’ beauty and heart eats up the screen. Rachel Weisz gives a respectable performance as an evil witch, while her partner in the film, Mila Kunis, starts off running but quickly hits a wall. One of the best performances is from Zach Braff, who plays Oscar’s assistant in the real world and voices the hilarious, talking-monkey-sidekick to Oscar, while adding to the illusion of the film. The way Oz the Great and Powerful twists characters and stories, and surprises the audience is one of the best aspects of the film.
Oz the Great and Powerful is not quite your parent’s version of this story, but a re-imagined, incredible tale that sets up everything audiences know of the Land of Oz. The film is clearly designed for younger audiences and has its fair share of silly or corny lines/actions, but Oz the Great and Powerful has a lot to offer for anyone, making it a great family film. Oz the Great and Powerful is rated PG for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language. I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars.
By: Hayden Pittman, Film Critic for YouPlusDallas
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Tags: balloon, Evanora, evil, Film, funny, Glinda, good, greatness, Hayden Pittman, hope, James Franco, Kansas, Land of Oz, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, movie review, Oscar, Oz, Oz the Great and Powerful, prequel, Rachel Weisz, Sam Raimi, Theodora, tornado, Wicked Witch, Wizard of Oz, youplusdallas, Zach Braff